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for non britishers, this is when somebody looks after three or four kids in their own home. the parent will take their child over and drop them off, then pick them up.

local councils have approved lists of childminders but of course there are as many different sorts of childminder as there are people doing it.

i think we've found the one for us. we haven't started doing it yet though.

does anyone here have experience with dropping your kid off with a childminder? how's it going? is there anything that you wish somebody had told you at the beginning? any surprises?

Tracer Hand, Sunday, 6 September 2009 17:05 (twelve years ago) link

i briefly worked in the department of ofsted that deals with them and bygod they are not people who take to dealing with bureaucracy well

otoh, lol ofsted

thomp, Sunday, 6 September 2009 17:15 (twelve years ago) link

When I used to work in kids out-of-school clubs I knew a bunch of people who didn't deal well with Ofsted inspections too, tbf. We had a really good childminder for the boy Joel. I don't really have any tips I can think of. Speak to some parents who've already had their kids looked after by them, I guess.

Relatin' Jews to Jazz (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 6 September 2009 17:20 (twelve years ago) link

yeah i have, just wondering what the ilx experience has been like. the one we're going with is bangladeshi and she seems awesome. not great english but not bad either.

Tracer Hand, Sunday, 6 September 2009 17:37 (twelve years ago) link

Both my mum and mum-in-law were childminders at one time so I can only speak from that side of things. But it seems to be an arrangement that works really well IF you find the right person. Someone who is creative (ie can entertain the kids with nothing but a pot of lentils) and genuinely enjoys being around children is a must I'd say.

Both mum and MIL still keep in touch with kids they minded so it's been a long-term and fulfilling relationship. Both of them would probably say that it works best when parents a) communicate well and b) don't take the piss wrt being on time etc. Back in those days there was far less regulation of course, and it is a pain but a reassurance as well.

Archel, Monday, 7 September 2009 08:39 (twelve years ago) link

what are ppl's feelings about childminding vs nursery? we've just been told TODAY that the long-waiting-list and fabulous nursery right next to us HAS A SPOT FOR US. but we've just signed up with the childminder!

nursery almost double the cost. what to do?

guaranteed no tv at the nursery, and lots of other kids, but less of a personal touch perhaps and, well, the price...

Tracer Hand, Monday, 7 September 2009 09:24 (twelve years ago) link

I think it depends on the age of the child. We looked at a nursery and it seemed like the babies were left alone in their cots while the helpers attempted to wrangle the toddlers. We thought a childminder with just a few other kids might be better until she's at least two or so.

Stevie T, Monday, 7 September 2009 09:43 (twelve years ago) link

that's sort of how i'm leaning as well.

Tracer Hand, Monday, 7 September 2009 10:08 (twelve years ago) link

I love Aidan's nursery, but mostly because it's half the price of the nurseries near home (subsidised work nursery) and cheaper than a childminder would be. Have you been round the nursery? Gotten a feel for it, seen how the kids were, how they were treated? if you love your potential childminder then I'd go with that, they both obviously have different strengths and weaknesses.

Vicky, Monday, 7 September 2009 10:17 (twelve years ago) link

My son goes to a childminder, and has done from 9 months to 3 and a half. She's great. But no cheaper than a nursery. (I kind of think this is one area you wouldn't want to be cheap, though.)

I always wanted him to go to a childminder, not a nursery. They go to childminder-only drop-ins at playgroups three days a week, so I think he gets all the benefits of social interaction in a wider group, while still having the emotional stability of a single carer. She keeps them really busy with a mixture of different activities and she writes a little report about what he did, what he ate etc. every day.

I think the thing that attracted me - a single individual, who in effect becomes another parent - is what puts other people off, though.

If you like your childminder, I can't really see why you would change to a nursery at 2, but the free childcare that you get from three doesn't really apply to childminders (they can qualify as an "early-years provider" and then it does, but in Haringey, for example, there aren't ANY that do), so we're losing out on that money.

Jamie T Smith, Monday, 7 September 2009 11:34 (twelve years ago) link

I much prefer nurseries, even though my aunt was a childminder. I prefer that there's more chidren and also more caretakers. But then I realize it depends from nursery to nursery and childminder to childminder.
The most important factor is how you feel. So be sure to visit the place! I think one of the reasons I love my nursery so much is not only that it has an excellent reputation but also, it's up the street from where I live/work. When I wanted to "enroll" Elisabeth, I was told that I had to have warned them earlier (even though I had already put Ophelia there so had a preference status). I was about three months pregnant at the time! Hah! BUt this shows how difficult it is to find a place here. It's really hellish.

Actually how about nannies? Friend of a friend has one for her twins.

Nathalie (stevienixed), Monday, 7 September 2009 11:36 (twelve years ago) link

we can't afford a nanny and i'm not sure i would want someone spending all day in our house anyway. if i had twins i might think differently, though.

the nursery is fabuloso - it's part of our local children's center, which is staffed by really energetic young people, they have breastfeeding workshops, baby massage, daddy days, etc - but it's around 800 a month whereas this woman is more like 500 a month.

i don't think we'll be getting daily written reports, though.

part of me steps back sometimes from these decisions and says "you know what, all these people have been certified - he will be fine no matter where he goes".

Tracer Hand, Monday, 7 September 2009 12:00 (twelve years ago) link

He'll be fine wherever he goes, but how important is it that his carers 'parent' in the same way you do? Whoever looks after your child does play a huge part in what kind of person they grow up to be. e.g. how do they discipline? How do they comfort? Even how do they feed? (a big worry for me when sending A off was about food - we did baby led weaning and it was really important to me that whoever looked after him didn't shovel food down his throat, I was also totally paranoid about sugar and salt)

What's important is how happy you are with the way he'll be looked after. Aidan's nursery is tatty and they don't have any outdoor space, but I think all the staff are fabulous, he does lots of interesting activities and they make a concerted effort to get out and about (lack of outside space is an issue in the ofsted report)

Vicky, Monday, 7 September 2009 12:47 (twelve years ago) link

well.. i have no idea how she disciplines really. we asked about these things but her answers were what you'd expect.. "tell him what he did wrong, separate him from the others for a little bit if he needs time to cool off." it's not an issue for a 9-month-old but obviously will be at some point.

we like her - we have very good gut reaction to her. she says she'll read to him. she has a playgroup that she goes to with a childminder friend of hers. she says she goes out to a park every day that it's not raining. it all seems good. so i don't know why i'm suddenly equivocating. it's just that the nursery thing wasn't even on our radar and now suddenly boom, we have a place if we want it.

we also do BLW - to an extent - and for the time being we'll be packing along his food. we're sort of psyched about the idea that he'll be eating samosas at some point though.

Tracer Hand, Monday, 7 September 2009 14:01 (twelve years ago) link

oh yeah - she gave us a bunch of samosas at our first visit w/her! and then yesterday she gave us some sticky sweet suet stuff she was making! ??! i was like, this is kind of too far! and the lovely emma b was like, i guess it's a cultural thing. and yes they were tasty.

her home is neat and tidy.

my opnly real concern is the tv. it was on both times we were there and she has two kids she picks up after school, and they always get tv time when they arrive. i really don't want our dude to have 1+ hours of tv a day.

Tracer Hand, Monday, 7 September 2009 14:04 (twelve years ago) link

Probably best to ask her directly about that, or stipulate what you want. Personally I don't think very young children are particularly affected by TV or not TV...if they're just plonked in front of it as a babysitting tool, well, it's not the TV that's the problem there really.

Also I don't think there is much compelling evidence one way or the other for Childminder vs Nursery. In your situation I wouldn't pay an extra 300 a month for a nursery unless I was convinced it was doing something wonderful that yr boy wouldn't get elsewhere. I very much doubt that. Kids, it seems, are pretty good at learning socialization in almost all circumstances.

Relatin' Jews to Jazz (Noodle Vague), Monday, 7 September 2009 18:06 (twelve years ago) link

that's the kind of talk i want to hear, i guess!

i think we are going to just go for it, abandon our hard-won place in the queue and look to the future.

Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 8 September 2009 11:21 (twelve years ago) link

Childcare component of Child Tax Credits covers difference between childminder (not subsidised by HM Govt) and more expensive nursery, perhaps? I've not looked into it in any great detail.

This whole thing is not anything we ever really considered - well, we went as far as checking out local nursery prices in mid-2005 but when Pam's employers weren't very flexible on the terms at which she could resume her job (her position was determined to be full-time-in-the-office, no homeworking, part-time only at a lower grade...which was probably borderline in its legality but we didn't have the energy to contest it), we abandoned the idea. I can't recall the maths now, but it really didn't seem worth it (the major part of Pam's earnings as a 3-day-week employee would've gone on childcare).

So, since Ava was 10 months old (with a 6-month break, covered by maternity allowance, around the time Tallulah arrived), Pam has been self-employed, working evenings and weekends, looking after the kids the rest of the time (though Ava was at nursery school five mornings a week Sep '08-Jul '09 and will start full days in reception in a few weeks' time). It's been exhausting and we're totally broke, so I've no idea if we did the right thing. It's impossible to know how different the last 4 years would've been with some nursery/childminding element - maybe they'd be different little girls.

What we're considering now is trying to place Tallulah in a local nursery, five mornings a week, from January (she'll be 3y 2m then); it won't be free (as nursery school would be from next Sept) but we would be eligible for some additional tax credit relief. For the first time in nearly five years, Pam would have some time to herself during the day (crafting? working? Morse repeats?) and that might be worth the modest outlay. I know she loves mornings with Lulu though and she may not want to give that up.

Michael Jones, Tuesday, 8 September 2009 12:03 (twelve years ago) link

yeah. we're already sort of like "wait, he's going to be there HOW many of his waking hours?"

Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 8 September 2009 19:06 (twelve years ago) link

from what i understand we don't get childcare help from the council at this stage unless we make under a certain amount of money. a threshold which we just barely fall on the wrong side of.

Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 8 September 2009 19:07 (twelve years ago) link

my boss at work spends 1300 a month for her little girl's nursery! yoinks!

Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 8 September 2009 19:07 (twelve years ago) link

Is that because they're kidding themselves that mo' money = better nursery or does it just happen to be some insane going rate locally?

Nostalgie de la Bwoyee (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 8 September 2009 20:41 (twelve years ago) link

in australia (sydney) i think its $90+ per day which makes it pretty pointless for most moms to go back to work. here we pay $135 per week which is totally reasonable, i think.

Hillary had Everest in his veins (sunny successor), Tuesday, 8 September 2009 23:15 (twelve years ago) link

lol youngsters

We paid $40/week. (But the daycare was a co-op venture by a newspaper, two banks and a factory for the kids of their employees and not meant to be hugely profitable.)

Hugh Manatee (WmC), Wednesday, 9 September 2009 00:29 (twelve years ago) link

Noodle i think it's because of their area - they live in Zone 1 near Victoria station

Tracer Hand, Wednesday, 9 September 2009 16:50 (twelve years ago) link

What the fuck. Those prices! Now it's linked to your income. It can be as low as 1,50 euro/day. But it can get a lot higher of course. Still, we save quite a bit now. Even letting her go four full days a week. But I'm looking forward to May when Elisabeth can go to kindergarden. Then it's no more childcare costs. Hurrah. :-)

Nathalie (stevienixed), Friday, 18 September 2009 20:28 (twelve years ago) link

Tracer, you know that even if you don't qualify for tax credits you could check out whether your employer has signed up to a voucher scheme which means you can pay for up to £110 pw (between both parents) of your childcare tax free?

Archel, Tuesday, 22 September 2009 10:40 (twelve years ago) link

yes indeed! problem is, my childminder charges more for people w/vouchers so i basically equals out! CATCH 22

by the way, today was the first day! it went fine!!!!! gah!

Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 22 September 2009 19:18 (twelve years ago) link

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