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should i be worried by cm views?

24 replies

EnormousChangesAtTheLastMinute · 12/10/2006 17:21

my cm seems to have fixed opinions on what my dd 'should' be able to do for herself. e.g self feed with spoon at 11 months. my concern isn't that dd can't do this yet (all babies are different etc)but that the cm has such fixed views and that she expects dd to feed herself and it'll be an issue when she doesn't I didn't get the impression that there is much flexibility in her routine or her attitudes to the children (a 'no shouting' rule i can understand but surely 11 months is too young to comply?. She seems big on rules and short on cuddles and warmth. Please be honest - am i being over sensitive in worrying that she's too cold towards the children or should alarm bells be ringing? I know I can't expect her to show the same warmth as a parent and i know it's her job so things are bound to be matter of fact and she needs a routine that works for everyone... but...i'm worried i've made a mistake...

OP posts:

WigWamBam · 12/10/2006 17:25

Good lord - dd couldn't use a spoon until she was well over 2 ... strikes me that your CM is being rather unrealistic.

Coupled with a no-shouting rule for a baby, and the fact that you think she's cold towards the children, it's no wonder alarm bells are ringing for you - they would be for me too.

It sounds to me as if she doesn't like children very much, which isn't much of a recommendation for a child-minder. Sorry, but I would be out of there like a shot.


Katymac · 12/10/2006 17:26

Well I may be speaking out of line - but I have 2.5yr olds that need a bit of help with their spoon

Of course an 11mo should have help

I can't comment if you have made the right choices - but only you know how you feel in your heart

Why not visit a few more that should help you decide one way or another


Peggotty · 12/10/2006 17:27

Your gut feeling is obviously telling you something's not right - I would go with it if I was you..


Ellbell · 12/10/2006 17:29

I agree with WWB. My cm is VERY big on cuddles and, if not like a parent, is definitely like a member of their family to my two (who've been with her for 3 years now). I've never heard them say 'I love you' to their aunties (whom they see once in a blue moon) but they say it to their cm every day! I think that a cm should be asking YOU what your 'rules' (or, to be less prescriptive about it, your expectations) are, not setting her own.

Sorry, but I think you need to be looking for a different cm...


happybiggirl · 12/10/2006 17:29

Message withdrawn


EnormousChangesAtTheLastMinute · 12/10/2006 17:37

[gloom] you're all right. trouble is it took me months to find this one. who i liked before it came to the crunch. i'll see if she warms up in the next couple of sessions (ie with me there) and if not start the search again...though god knows where/how. thanks for speedy replies - mnetters never fail to impess me!

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Katymac · 12/10/2006 17:38

Where abouts are you - can we find you a MN minder?


sorrell · 12/10/2006 17:40

Trust your instincts. She sounds a bit crazy to me. What on earth is the point of having a childminder unless they show motherly warmth?


TwigTwoolett · 12/10/2006 17:43

the point of a childminder is that they are warm and act as a parent .. far more so than a nursery .. if you think she's big on rules and short on cuddles and warmth find another one

I wouldn't let my child stay with someone like that I'm afraid


HappyMumof2 · 12/10/2006 17:47

Message withdrawn


EnormousChangesAtTheLastMinute · 12/10/2006 17:47

in north london. though tempted to move to wherever there's a good cm!

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EnormousChangesAtTheLastMinute · 12/10/2006 17:51

other children seemed happy enough - but there wasn't much physical contact between cm and children... i don't think she's bad or anything, i think she's maybe just a bit too professional (if that makes sense?) and that gets in the way of warmth. thinking about it, it seems all about her and not all about the mindees which seems the wrong way round.

OP posts:

HappyMumof2 · 12/10/2006 17:56

Message withdrawn


Sunnysideup · 12/10/2006 18:41

I just want to agree with other posters - go with your instinct. Warmth and nurturing are big needs for all children...I moved my ds from his first nursery school when he was three mainly because of this; I put up with the teacher's manner all term as I didn't want to move him obviously, but I realised that her lack of warmth and approval toward him was actually affecting his confidence which is one thing he had always had in abundance.

However having said that, my MIL had ds one day a week for a while, and the way she dealt with him used to drive me up the wall, so different from me; but tbh this never affcted him at all; he simply seemed to accept the very different way she dealt with I guess it's a case of assessing any real effects on your dd. She may adjust to a very different set of rules and not be adversely affected; though I certainly think 'rules' about 11 month old babies self feeding and not shouting are outrageous; but is the CM really meaning this is what she expects NOW from your dd, or what she aims for?


coral · 12/10/2006 21:17

Rules are, of course, necessary in a child minding setting but only on an age appropriate basis. For eg, we have a "no shouting" rule but not in a loud noise sense but in a "no shouting deliberately at another person in an unfriendly manner" sense. Fixed views on how children are expected to behave at certain ages are also, in my opinion, inappropriate as children develop different skills (both emotional & physical) at different times - flexibility and encouragement are key!

If you have concerns then definitely look around some more before you have to make a final decision - childminders come and go off the vacancy list all the time so there will probably be new names now on the list than when you initially looked. Why not visit a couple more childminders which will either to put your mind at rest that you have made the right decision or reconfirm your concerns.

When you visit again, look closely at how the childminder plays with the children she looks after - eg is she sat on the floor with them getting stuck in, do they cuddle up to her/sit on her lap when they are having a story etc. Does she chat to them a lot and have a lot of praise and encouragement for what they are doing?

I hope it works out for you.

Coral ( a fellow north londoner!)


EnormousChangesAtTheLastMinute · 12/10/2006 21:43

i've been thinking about what you say, coral and sunnysideup and maybe you're right. the 'rules' are perhaps meant as guidelines for older children - as you say, there's a world of difference between a baby vocalising loudly and a toddler shouting at another child/adult. i think i need to see her again and watch how she interacts with the other children - i'm not sure i'm not just being over sensitive and basically don't want to leave dd with anyone! i have to be fair to all parties, dd, the childminder and me... and then i can always look for someone else. must remember i'm not tied to this cm if we're not compatible it's not the end of the world!
happymumof2, i prob need someone either n8 or n4 - close to home as i have quite a long commute which means it's tight to drop off and pick up unless cm is v near home or tube.
thanks so much for support and such thoughtful replies. you have calmed me down!

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Ellbell · 12/10/2006 22:02

Hmmm... it is possible that the 'no shouting' thing was meant to reassure you ECATLM... as in, telling you that she tries to keep a nice peaceful environment for your baby, not older kids yelling at one another and your baby getting pushed around... Not sure, but trying to see how it could be more positive for you.

TBH, the lack of warmth and cuddling would put me off more. But maybe she's more cuddly when you're not there. Maybe she feels a bit inhibited being all lovey-dovey with your dd when you're watching. I know I was really unsure about using a cm (used a nursery till my dds were 3 and 18 months, when we moved houand couldn't find one to take them) because I didn't want my kids to have an 'alternative mother'. I preferred a more 'institutional' setting (and have to say that the old nursery was great, not at all 'institutionalised' actually) than a single 'other female' to whom my dds would become attached.

But now I can see that I was wrong to think that. They have bonded very deeply with their cm, they genuinely love her and are confident enough in her to turn to her without reservations if they are feeling unwell, hurt, frightened, or whatever. But they still know I'm their mum...

I have digressed wildly, sorry. But I was just thinking back to that first settling-in period and wondering if maybe what seems like 'stand-offish-ness' is really an attempt not to 'muscle in' on your dd in your presence.

Well... that's a more +ve way of looking at it. But obviously only you have seen what she's like, not only with your dd but with the other children she looks after. I still feel, though, that gut instinct tells you a lot. We interviewed about 4 cms when we moved house, and I just knew that one was the right one. Nothing specific, in fact she scored less than some others on certain grounds (e.g. she doesn't have a garden, that kind of thing), but she just 'felt right'... and I'm so glad I went with that.

Hope you get it sorted out and that your dd is happy.


Ellbell · 12/10/2006 22:04

oops, that should say 'moved house and...'!

PS My cm has a vacancy, but you'd have to move to West Yorkshire!!!!


fullmoonmama · 12/10/2006 22:24

I think Ellbell has put it very well (rhyme unintended!). The cm I originally approached was high up in the cm association and had all sorts of documents and written policies, house very clean etc. but a bit too much of 'we don't do that here' to fairly normal behaviour. The one my children actually are with now is very structured and disciplined, but lovely and warm to the children. Today my 4-year-old, after only two weeks with her said she loved her! It makes it so much easier to go to work knowing they are cared for. However, I would also agree that children are very resilient and it is good for them to realise there are different rules in different houses. But, your cm's views on spoonfeeding etc. are madness and if she is this rigid at this early stage, I don't think it bodes well for the future. If you have a choice, I'd explore it now whilst monitoring the situation.


EnormousChangesAtTheLastMinute · 13/10/2006 13:40

having slept on it, it did occur to me that her manner could be nerves. she seems to spend a lot of time telling me stuff... but i wonder if this could be a bit of a confidence thing. i am seeing her again next week so will stick around and moniter and try to relax... i must say she was the best cm we visited, dh and i both agreed she was the one so i need to calm down i think and not make snap judgements. also give her and dd a chance to get to know each other - cm might be being a bit backed off as she doesn't want to swamp dd before she's used to her (which is a good idea i think). aaargh. i wish i could relax a bit. in non-parenting circles i'm quite decisive and matter of fact. where dd is concerned i'm a fully paid up member of 'neurotics r us'...
thanks again for such sensible posts!

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NAB3 · 13/10/2006 13:44

Follow your instinct............

This doesn't seem to be just about whether your child should be using a spoon or not, but has given you a reason to feel uneasy. If she is short on warmth and cuddles what is she doing looking after your child?


amphion · 13/10/2006 14:18

I'm more affectionate with mindees when mums are not there, as I am aware of not trying to take their place, but I have a warm relationship with the children and I hope this comes through - just seen one of my mindees in the playgroup garden when I was passing - she was proudly telling everyone "that's my (my name)!". Childminders should be kind and caring, but some perhaps have strenghths in different areas - does it look like she enjoys buying toys and setting them out?, or crafts?, offering physical play? Also, when I haven't been looking after a certain aged child for a while, even though I am experienced, it takes a little while to get to know their particular stage again. Having said all that you can still change childminder later -When I went out to work, I changed my DD's CM when she was 2 (after she'd been there a year) and it worked out well; I made the excuse of needing a CM nearer home so as not to offend.


looneytune · 13/10/2006 14:19

Just quickly, I'm a childminder and agree that she shouldn't be insisting on spoon feeding themselves at that age, all children are different and she'll be ready when she's ready.

As for the warmth and cuddles, I would say I'm warm and friendly BUT in the early days of each mindee arriving, I've not been all cuddly in front of the parents until I was sure this would be ok. Some parents would hate that so maybe your childminder is just being cautious.

Has she said something about no shouting etc then? I have lots in my policies but at the end of the day, I decide how I deal with it (and get parents to agree) depending on their age. I have a 13 month old and 14 month old at the moment who both shout to try and get their own way. I wouldn't use time out as they are too young imo. If it was the 3 year olds I would iyswim.

I'd say go with gut feeling


EnormousChangesAtTheLastMinute · 17/10/2006 22:20

hello again and thank for new replies - haven't been around for a few days but not ignoring you! I haven't seen cm this week yet but hope to see her friday. I think there is a lot in what you say about the cm being cautious with a new child, esp when mother is around. as for the spoon and shouting thing, i'll have to ask and have that clarified... but yes, gut instinct will have to win out - if i can distinguish between gut feeling about cm and horror at leaving dd at all....

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