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Childminders

Discussion in 'Personal' started by alphabite, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. alphabite

    alphabite New commenter

    I am posting on behalf of a friend because she thinks I am all knowledgable about childminders because I am a teacher. In reality I have no idea because I don't have children of my own!
    Her Mum was looking after her her 3 year old son but she is now finding it too difficult as she is getting older. She is looking for a childminder for her baby girl of 7 months when she goes back following maternity and for her 3 year old for when he gets home from school (he is going into reception in Sept).
    She is going back to work full time so the baby would need looked after all day and her son after school until about 5.30pm. He may on occasions need dropped off at school.
    She has never used a childminder but says she would prefer this route rather than a private nursery so her children can be together after school. She doesn't really know where to start looking and doesn't really know what to ask when she meets a child minder or what to look out for. I have obviously advised on obvious things such as cleanliness, friendliness and how the children react to the child minder but I don't know what you really need to look for. I don't know very much about babies! What would you look for and what would you ask if you were looking for a child minder for your children?



     
  2. alphabite

    alphabite New commenter

    I am posting on behalf of a friend because she thinks I am all knowledgable about childminders because I am a teacher. In reality I have no idea because I don't have children of my own!
    Her Mum was looking after her her 3 year old son but she is now finding it too difficult as she is getting older. She is looking for a childminder for her baby girl of 7 months when she goes back following maternity and for her 3 year old for when he gets home from school (he is going into reception in Sept).
    She is going back to work full time so the baby would need looked after all day and her son after school until about 5.30pm. He may on occasions need dropped off at school.
    She has never used a childminder but says she would prefer this route rather than a private nursery so her children can be together after school. She doesn't really know where to start looking and doesn't really know what to ask when she meets a child minder or what to look out for. I have obviously advised on obvious things such as cleanliness, friendliness and how the children react to the child minder but I don't know what you really need to look for. I don't know very much about babies! What would you look for and what would you ask if you were looking for a child minder for your children?



     
  3. She can ask for their Ofsted number and look up their most recent inspection! Also ask about everyday routines, does the childminder have children of her own and how does that impact on the day. Does she play with the children or just leave them to their own devices, does she follow the early learning goals - how does she show evidence. How many other children does she have (there are legal limits). How much per hour, what is the holiday retainer fee, out of contract hour payment charge (e.g if she went over 5.30 - would it be double?!) Will she take the baby to groups to meet other children, how will that be arranged. Food arrangements? Is that extra charge?
    There are so many things you don't know about before you enter into it all, but I think childminders are better than nursery if you want the home environment. It's a costly venture either way, but that's the loss of being a working parent, you get no financial thanks in this country. Lol rant over!
     
  4. Henriettawasp

    Henriettawasp New commenter

    To find a registered childminder in your area try the Local Authority - Children's services. They should be able to give you a list (and maybe an idea of questions to ask.)
    Also - you could try the website of the National Childminding Association. They have useful information, too.
    http://www.ncma.org.uk/for_parents/choosing_a_childminder/questions_to_ask.aspx
     
  5. alphabite

    alphabite New commenter

    Thank you very much. Very helpful.
     
  6. Having given up being a childminder to train as a teacher, I can say hand on heart this is the best way to go! (not biased or anything....)
    Ask at the local school if they know of the local childminders as your friend will want one that takes/picks up from that school.
    Ask other parents if they can reccomend any childminders. Most of my work was through word of mouth and even some of the children I looked after were friends anyway - which was great for them and their parents.
    Ask how the childminder implements the EYFS, ask to see her setting policies (safeguarding, emergency, sickness, travel, risk assessments etc) Yes childminders have to do all that!
    Are they part of their local childminding network (could have another grading through that, which means they are a reflective practitioner)
    Always visit a few - probably find the good ones have waiting lists. Go on gut reaction as well.
    Hope that helps.
     
  7. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    I agree that reccommendations by friends are best, and forget Ofsted. On a visit it will be pretty obvious if your friend wants their child to stay - safe, clean, feels ok and very few children. Things that do need sorting out though are arrangements for emergencies, being late (or early), food, sleep habits etc. Both our children went to a childminder reccommended by a friend and had a fantastic time. I must admit I never set eyes on a 'policy' or risk assessment in 4 years, that's what beaurocrats are for -common sense and trust should be good enough for everyone else.
     
  8. Chica77

    Chica77 New commenter

    If you look on the Direct gov website there's a section where you put in your postcode and it comes up with a list of childminders in your area.
    My son had a childminder when i went back to work, and i much preferred her to the nurseries I looked at. She was really flexible and only charged £3.50 an hour.
    When you visit a childminder they usually have a folder with all their information in, and OfSTED report etc.
    I think you just get a feel of someone and whether you're happy to leave your child(ren) with them. You can look at their home and see where the children play, what toys there are and so on. If there are children there being looked after while you visit then you can see how they are. I wanted to know what a typical day was like - where did she take them, where would they snooze etc. I provided my son's food and milk, but some childminders do this.
     
  9. I like childminders. I rarely had to use one and was one myself. Looking after your child is my job. I do my housework when they aren't there. More than I can say for my own kids!!!!
     
  10. I also like childminders. I don't know what Ofsted have to do with it (yes, I know they are now inspected by Ofsted but I don't understand why). Gut feeling is important, and whether or not you are in tune - we don't all bring our children up in exactly the same way so I felt it was important to leave my children with someone whose outlook was broadly similar to my own.
    I looked for the same sort of things that have been mentioned - how many other children were being looked after, what the emergency arrangements would be, how flexible the minder was, what holiday charges there were, was the environment clean, was there a good range of suitable toys. In some cases the husband of the childminder was also on her insurance, which meant he was able to look after the children for short periods if necessary - if she had to take one of her own children to the Doctor, for example. Mostly I wanted my children looked after, not just left, and that's what I got.
    I've never seen a nursery I liked, though I know plenty of people who use them and are very happy with them. I just preferred the individual attention that childminders offer.

     
  11. Chica77

    Chica77 New commenter

    Yes, me too. My childminder was amazing. Towards the end of my pregnancy with my 2nd child, she came and picked up my son from our flat, and dropped him off again. I'm on maternity leave again now so my son isn't in childcare now, and unfortunately his lovely childminder has a job in a nursery now so when i go back to work my kids will have to be with someone else.
     

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