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Discuss everything related to paid childcare here, including childminders, nannies, nurseries and au pairs.


Advice on early morning child care

23 replies

Love2dance · 20/07/2007 10:21

Anyone out there got experience/suggestions for early morning child care? I'm going back to work in September. Baby now 61/2 months so he'll be 8 months then. We have to decide between au pair (good for flexibility but our home isn't very big and we only have one bathroom) and childminder (good for mixing with other kids). I like one local childminder who starts at 07.30 but my husband leaves home at 6.30am and my job means that on some occasions I have to travel elsewhere in the UK and so have to leave early (645-0700). Am wondering whether to search for home help person to look after and pick up our baby early on those days and take him to the child minder but I'm a bit concerned not to have too many new people for him to get used to. Anyone else done it? Any advice gratefully received.

OP posts:

Love2dance · 20/07/2007 10:21


OP posts:

tiredemma · 20/07/2007 10:22

My sons nursery opens at 0700. would that be an option.


JoMa · 20/07/2007 10:23

have you looked around at other childminders? some start as early as 06:30


dinkyboysmum · 20/07/2007 10:33

or perhaps a nanny? perhaps one with her own kids?


dinkyboysmum · 20/07/2007 10:33

look on


thebumcleaner · 20/07/2007 10:41

Ask the childmider as they may do the odd very early morning even when the opening times don't state so.


eleusis · 20/07/2007 12:25

Are you doing the drop offs and pick ups? Or are you dropping off at CM whilst DH picks up at CM?

If you are doing both and working full time I think you might need a straight jacket in about 6-12 months.


squiffy · 20/07/2007 14:08

We had similar situation; struggled with 7am nurseries for a while but ended up with au-pair and recently full-blown nanny, both of which have worked fab for me.

Nursery was a problem because the only one that took them in at 7am seemed to be doing so out of a need to drum up business - the best nursery in the area was 8-6 and when I asked them why they didn't do 7-7 they just said "because we don't need to with the waiting list we have and anyway, our staff wouldn't like it and we value what our staff want". I had a period for a year where DS went to both nurseries on different days: he cried his eyes out and clung to us every time we dropped him at the 7-7 one, and ran off to play the minute he got to the 8-6 one.... spoke volumes about the care. I'm not saying that this is typical of nurseries with long hours, but perhaps something to be aware of as a possibility.


Love2dance · 20/07/2007 14:18

Thanks for all the suggestions. I haven't finished the search for a childminder. I didn't realise some started so early JoMa!Nanny would be ideal but I think too expensive for us. I will have a look at Nannyjob Dinky, cheers.

Eleusis, I AM due to do both drop off and pick ups and will be back at work full time. I told DH from the start that the practicalities of this would be a problem but he would prefer us to keep our privacy. I'm keeping an open mind but au pair might be more suitable. Oh the joys of modern living. But for our mortgage I'd be happy to work PT and look after ds most of the time myself. Oh well, just have to keep playing that lottery .

OP posts:

majorstress · 20/07/2007 14:29

I've been struggling with this for SEVEN YEARS, and today is the very last leaving party, for the last nursery.

With hindsight, wish I had just forgot about the cost and gone straight for a live-out nanny for whatever it took to get a good one (I.E. MORE than the minimum going rate). My whole family would have been happier, including, importantly, me! and my career and health preservation would have made up for the financial cost.

That's my tuppence worth.


looneytune · 20/07/2007 14:33

I'd definitely ring round and ask. My core hours are 8-6 but I did 6.45-6.30 for a long time so just because it's not advertised doesn't mean they won't work those hours!


eleusis · 20/07/2007 15:09

"I AM due to do both drop off and pick ups and will be back at work full time. I told DH from the start that the practicalities of this would be a problem but he would prefer us to keep our privacy. "

Oh that is familiar! I did the drop off and pick up until DD was 14 months old (about a year of childminder in there as I went back very quickly because we needed the money). At 14 months old I was a bout ready to have a nervous breakdown. So, I stomped my feet loud and clear and declare to DH that we were moving to a bigger house and getting a live in nanny. He wasn't so keen really because he didn't really want someone living in his house. But, this day that I had my moment of declaration I think he could see I was really at the end oof my rope because he just looked ay me and said "ok". I do remember telling him that if he didn't want to come home to do any of the childcare runs, then I was going to choose the childcare. He worked away all week (still does). Live-in help has save my sanity. I won't give it up for a long time.... Kids are 2 and 4 now, and I think we'll drop down to an aupair in a couple of years. But, I see no alternative to school runs that happen while I am at work.

And, under no circumstances bar winning the lottery will I reduce my hours and hence allow my career to take a back seat to his. Never.


Love2dance · 20/07/2007 18:56

Good for you Eleusis, are you and Majorstress professionals by any chance? It ain't easy, as I'm now finding out. DH is not a selfish ba*tard but I had to sit him down and say: "what are you going to do if I have to be in Nottingham (for example) leaving home at 0645 to get the train?". He just hadn't thought it through and it's no surprise to hear that it's mums who seem to have a lot of the stress and hassle surrounding pick ups etc.

The search goes on...

OP posts:

nannynick · 20/07/2007 23:37

Given the early start time, I suspect your options will be quite limited. While nurseries and childminders will try to be flexible with times if they can, it is not always a viable business proposition to them.
Having a full-time nanny may be too costly, with only one child - but would give you the childcare hours you need, as you as employer control when the nanny works.
Using a combination of Au-Pair and Childminder, or Au-Pair and Nursery could work - as an Au-Pair wouldn't be doing all day childcare and due to often being young students may not be the best for providing care for a baby - but they may manage to give baby breakfast and take baby to a childminders, on their way to college, or back to your home to do some tidying.

Look around at childminders, some may be willing to do occasional early starts - thus you would not then need an au-pair.


eleusis · 22/07/2007 09:34

Why did you ask if I am professional? I don't se that that is relevant, unless of course your DH has pointed out that he has a professional and more important career because he makes more money. I have no idea what either of you does. But, if he has said thiis, then I would say it is a load of rubbish. My Dh has always made more money than me and I have never even considered accepting that my career would take a back seat to his. I work just as many hours as he does and I fully expect him to do half the chores around the house. Because he generally travels for work form Monday morning to Thursday evening, I do end up taking on most of the midweek childcare issues that come up without any notice -- for axample if the nanny wakes up sick on Wednesday morning and can't work it is I who has to call in to work. However, I will contact him at work and tell him what has happened and tell him he is on duty the followiwing day if nanny is not better. But, then he tends to cover things that can be planned in advance, like trips to the jab clinic or if the nanny has a planned holiday.


blueshoes · 22/07/2007 10:20

Agree with nannynick. A combination of some in-house help and nursery/childminder would be the most practical and financially viable. You about your ds have too many new people to get used to.

My experience with my dd who started nursery at 11 months and went ft at 18 months and ds who is settling in beautifully into ft nursery to start at 11 months - well, you know your child. If you choose high quality childcare, children can get used to a large number of carers quite easily. In fact, it is fun for them! Cuddles from loads of people, lots of attention, toys galore.

An au pair is just another friendly face. Make sure she actually likes children. She will be invaluable to paper over any cracks, particularly on those days you travel or are held up at work. They key to successful working is either flexibility or if not, back-up and then, more back-up.


blueshoes · 22/07/2007 10:26

I agree with eleusis that your dh needs to do the drop off and pick up at least on some days. He is, after all, the father. And is your back-up as well. Don't wait for emergencies to draft him into action. Get him used to having to schedule his working day (even if it is once a week or so) to do this.

I work parttime and do the lion's share of drop offs/pick ups. But if I had to schedule a meeting outside my working hours (even if it was not essential but just more convenient for my colleagues), my dh has to step in. And on days work is slower for him, he does the drop-off. He earns more than me and has a less flexible job.

At my dcs' nursery, it is almost an equal split whether it was the mother or father who did collected - I was actually quite pleasantly surprised. My dh is getting an easy ride.


blueshoes · 22/07/2007 10:30

Alright, my last post.

It is important you send your dh the right message now, before you actually return to work. Don't start out on the wrong foot ie that you and only you are responsible for childcare, and his work is more important than yours.

Wrong, wrong.

Save your sanity. He is 50-50 responsible for your ds.


Judy1234 · 22/07/2007 10:37

I have to second majorstress. It may be much easier to hang the cost and go for a live out nanny. Could you not sell it to yourselves on the basis you will have 2 more babies in quick succession which makes having a daily nanny sometimes the cheapest option. She doesn't have to be qualified, just competent and loving.

We had one who stayed for 10 years (we never had a spare room to have anyone living in) and by the end she was bringing her own 2 children to work and working part time as our youngest was at school.

Ours would come early if needed. For us it was rare we would both be out early on business so it wasn't a huge burden on her and if necessary we'd arrange to have her picked up early - cost of a taxi far 4 times a year meaning we could do our jobs worth the financial hit compared to having to work part time or losing a career etc.

What happens nowadays is my grown up older children are sometimes around for the younger ones if I have to leave at 5am for a business flight so it gets easier over the years.

Most important issue though is to ensure childcaer is not regarded as a woman's issue and your husband as much as you is finding and choosing the person and sorting out their arrangements. Fairness in all things.


slalomsuki · 22/07/2007 11:05

I had the opposite problem about a year ago when I needed late ie till 9pm childcare one day a week. The local council gave me a list of childminders who would do a late session...they seemed to be near the large hospital and catered for shft workers and I had a chat to them. They did do a 6am start on some days too.

It would be worth asking on the local board and also the local boards of other sites for help


amidaiwish · 22/07/2007 11:43

at my DDs nursery there are definitely more dads than mums doing the morning drop off.

we managed it well by me re-negotiating my office hours to finish at 4 (starting earlier and agreeing to check e-mails early evening) and dh works with the west coast US so he is in no rush to get in in the mornings.

quite a few of the parents at the nursery have either parent that works from home.

if neither of you have much flexibility and/or have to commute i wouldn't recommend nursery (unless you get an au pair to help you out or you have plenty of support around you). it will be too hard on you.

also make sure you get help in the house. you can't work full time AND run the house - you'll want to spend your spare time with DS.


Judy1234 · 22/07/2007 12:33

Also consider students too. When we've needed someone for odd hours if you can find a reliable local girl or boy or sixth former wanting extra cash they can do very well (although you want one who is able to wake up early)


slalomsuki · 22/07/2007 13:33

One of the nursery staff might do an early morning for you ie come to your house and then take your child along to the nursery for you if it is close to home. They get paid a pittance and are keen for the extra cash. I solved my night time problem by using a nursery nurse who brings the kids home, gives them tea, baths them and puts PJ's on them and in to bed before I come home at 9pm. I pay for a taxi home for her and she gets paid cash which she says she earns more in 5 hours than she does in 2 days at nursery.

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