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Is a childminder better for younger children than a nursery?

9 replies

hollysaysboo · 23/06/2010 18:00


I'm due to return to work (a new job) in a few weeks and had a place at the on-site subsidised nursery there. I've been a couple of time with my DS and he seemed fine but when I left him today for the first time he screamed solidly for 15 minutes and would just not calm down. In the end I had to take him home. He's also been going to a childminder for a few weeks and seems to really like it there and is generally a happy, confident little boy.

I have a few concerns about the nursery anyway as there seem to be far too many children and the staff are run off their feet and understandably don't spend alot of one to one time with the babies.

I'm now in this dilemma as to whether to forget about the nursery and stick with the childminder as I wonder if my 15 month old is better off in a calmer, less frantic environment but it's going to cost me £200 a month more.

Does anyone have any experience of their child thriving better with a childminder than in a nursery or do I just stick with it and watch my poor DS sob his heart out until he 'gets used to it' ?

OP posts:
Missus84 · 23/06/2010 21:22

Unless the nursery baby room is fantastic, a good CM he's happy with is going to be better for him. If you can afford the extra then leave him where he's happy.

Al1son · 24/06/2010 00:15

I have to confess to being a childminder before I answer but I also work in a friend's nursery occasionally too when she needs a senior practitioner to cover.

A childminder can give the one to one secure relationship and quiet, calm environment which are much harder to find in a nursery baby room.

I'm sure I'll get flamed for saying it but I feel that babies need a home type environment with a consistent carer who knows them really well. This describes a childminder not a nursery.

I do think nurseries are great for children over 3 years and I recommend that my parents book their children into our village nursery for at least some time around that age because it helps them to learn more social interaction skills and makes starting school so much easier.

IMoveTheStars · 24/06/2010 00:34

honestly? Totally depends on the child, the setting, the nursery and the childminder.

Our nursery is fantastic, really good with little ones. The one up the road is more geared towards toddlers.

Do what you feel is right, it might cost a little more in the short term, but worth it

Alison - my DS thrives on a nursery environment, but he has the best of all worls in that he is with me most of the time, granny 1 day, and nursery another. Downside is that it took him ages to settle, upside is that he will know loads of kids he will go to school with in a years time.

IMO it's all swings and roundabouts - you have to balance out what suits you and your child best. Ignore people who say that nursery is 'evil'. It can be hugely beneficial as long as the child is happy there.

ProfessorLaytonIsMyLoveSlave · 24/06/2010 00:42

It depends on the child, the nursery and the childminder.

From what you've said in the OP, I strongly suspect your son will be better off with the childminder.

hollysaysboo · 24/06/2010 07:18

Thanks for your replies. I suspected a childminder might be a better environment for him and I'll feel better knowing he's happier especially as this is a new job and it's streddful enough as it is!

The nursery felt like a production line to be honest. Get them washed, fed and changed and very little interaction with the babies generally although their Ofsted report was very good.

Think on reflection it's just too hectic an environment for such a young baby although we are planning to move in the next few months so may well try and find a smaller nursery and combine it with a childminder.

OP posts:
Thandeka · 24/06/2010 08:01

Have a google of Attachment theory. I went to a fab talk by the son of John Bowlby. He argues CM are always going to be better for young children because they can form a proper attachment with one person rather than a sea of different keyworkers who they won't spend as much time with. Having said that I agree with Al1son about nurseries for over threes.
(and I do know some kids who thrive at nursery younger than this so it is about the individual child too)

nickschick · 24/06/2010 08:18

Its about your individual choice and your dc.

Im a nursery nurse and have worked 'ad hoc' as a nanny,so speaking from experience Id say go with what feels best for you.

When I first worked in a nursery almost 17 years ago I was with the 'babies',I loved it and treated those babies like my own,In fact most of them are 17-18 now and I love seeing 'my babies' and what theyve grown up into,I get xmas cards from them and gifts even all this time later.

iwasyoungonce · 24/06/2010 10:16

I would have said "childminder" like a shot, but last week at my DD's sports day there was a parent there (also a childminder) and she spent the whole time fussing around her own son, going off to watch him race etc., whilst the 2 year old boy that was supposed to be in her care sat crying quietly on his own.

She basically ignored him. Only when I went over with a tissue to wipe his nose and give him a few words of comfort did she seem to realise that she was appearing neglectful, and then she picked him up for a while.

He looked so sad. Have been thinking about it ever since.

So obviously it would depend heavily on the childminder in question. I have no doubt that many are excellent. But not all of them, clearly.

Al1son · 24/06/2010 11:38

iwasyoungonce - that's awful. I hope somebody finds a way to let that little boy's mum know what's happening to her son.

My comments we made working on the assumption that all the childcare on offer is good quality which of course it isn't necessarily going to be.

I suppose the other thing to mention is the amount of time a child is in a setting. The attachment worries are less if the child is in nursery for one or two short days a week. I do feel strongly though that little babies and any under threes who are in childcare for full time hours should have the chance to develop a really deep close comforting relationship with one person in a setting. This could happen in a nursery but is much more likely to happen in a childminding setting.

I would really like to see key-worker systems in nurseries which really support these bonds and place them as the highest priority. Lots of settings pay lip service to key relationships but I don't think that in general they work how they really should.

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