View Full Version : New childminder - parent wants input on my menu planner

09-01-2013, 06:53 PM

I currently mind a 10 month old girl, had her since she was 7 months. I never had a proper menu planner in place as I was unsure of ages Eric. Anyway this mum provides her lunch (mashed food). Anyway past 4 days I've taken on a 15 month old boy. Both parents asked for hot lunches, I told them I wasn't planning on doing hot lunches everyday. Parent of 15 month old was fine with this when I gave her examples of lunches & dinners (he stays for dinner too). Parent of 10 month old seems to think I am a personal nanny as its been 3 months of just caring for her child along side my own 3 children. I put thinks like pasta in veg sauce, pasta in Tom sauce, mac cheese, chicken casserole, omelette, beans on toast, scrambled egg on toast, crossaints, toasties - she said until she's at the proper feeding herself stage if I could feed her 3 days out the 5 it would help her out as she spends all her weekends cooking her lunches/dinners. This is fine but she's not happy with the menu, too much pasta which I understand but it's quick, easy and kids love it.

Sorry just ranting, feel like she think she employs me, feel like I'm constantly worried about what to say or do and it's MY business, how do you learn to toughen up?


09-01-2013, 07:13 PM
Just tell her, that this is what you provide, and if she wants something different then she provides it.

I personally do a cold lunch and a cooked tea, as it works for me, the only hot things i have at lunch as sometimes left overs like shepherds pie, casseroles etc, other than that it is sandwiches, soups work well with younger ones, my little ones like to "dip dip" with bread in their soup. plus they then have yogurt and fruit

It is your business, you set the rules. you have to remember that she is paying for a service and this is the service you offer.

I also have in my policy that i do not supply food for under 12 month olds until they can eat real food, and join in meals with everyone else. I had one little one who was baby led weaned so no problems, and on on jars at the moment. I don't supply his food but he has just started chewing things when we have snack and i will slowly introduce him to the foods we eat.

stick to your guns on what you supply do what works for you

09-01-2013, 07:19 PM
5 days a week - 5 easy to prepare carbohydrates -






Add 5 different proteins - chicken, egg, fish, ham, cheese ... and some fruit or veg.

Keep it simple and it won't take up too much time.

Hth :D

09-01-2013, 07:21 PM
Well this is it, I always thought of cold lunches, hot dinners as this is what I did with my kids and what I had as a child but to compromise I thought if do hot easy meals for lunch but still she's not happy - just feel totally deflated, only been doing it 3 months, love it apart from this side of it.

Thanks for your reply x

09-01-2013, 08:03 PM
I give cold lunch and hot dinners and if they don't like what's on the menu the parents have to provide food or the children eat when they get home. I have a child who would et pasts every day and we struggle to get anything else in her. I'm open to suggestions if a child has become fond of a different food but this is incorporated into my menu.

09-01-2013, 08:08 PM
I do a hot lunch but I don't do tea. We have a big snack after school and then they go home for tea. I used to do cold lunch but found it more hassle than heating up last nights casserole or whatever!

09-01-2013, 08:37 PM
Remember that this is your business, tell parents what you are offering and if its not acceptable then they can provide a meal for you to heat up or give the child. I usually have home made soup/stew with wholemeal roll/bread for 2 lunches a week and the other 2 something like beans on toast or sandwiches - with fruit etc as well, so I plan the day we have something cooked so everyone gets a day or 2 of cooked lunches and the same cold lunches. I make the soup/stew in big batches and freeze (make them very worthy so parents are impressed such as Chick pea and cauliflower etc - cheap and healthy)so get out one equal to the numbers I am feeding. Then for tea I have told parents that we will have one picnic type tea a week and the rest I bung the slow cooker on and make something like bolognese and then its wholemeal pasta with bolognese.

Sometimes the wording is important eg wholemeal pasta with homemade bolognese with mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, peppers, celery and herbs sounds better than pasta bolognese....if you see what I mean ....sell your food well...

09-01-2013, 08:56 PM
I do a hot lunch but I don't do tea. We have a big snack after school and then they go home for tea. I used to do cold lunch but found it more hassle than heating up last nights casserole or whatever!

I do exactly the same but sometimes lunch is cold if we have been out, parents are fine with this.

09-01-2013, 09:35 PM
Hello...it is very frustrating when parents try to impose on your business, I know! :)

For me....I have done LOTS of training on nutrition for the under 5's....so when I tell parents about the food I provide, I make a point of mentioning how they KNOW their child is getting a good, healthy, balanced diet when they are with me - because I KNOW my stuff - and point to my certificates to prove it! I know you are new - so maybe its some training you could look in to?

In answer to your "how to toughen up" question - I have found that having really rigorous paperwork helps - therefore, when any uncomfortable situation arises, you can refer parents to said paperwork, rather than getting in an argument. For example - I have a food policy. When I sign contracts with parents, they also sign a form saying that they have read, understood and agree to my policies/procedures. If they have already said that they understand and agree to it - they really cant argue. I also think getting in the mindset of "what would a nursery do" also helps. It is very hard to remember that you are a business, when its just you - but you have to get into the mindset of thinking of your environment as a setting as well as a loving, home from home environment.

Veggie Sausage also has some great advice about wording - I do exactly the same - for my own kids, for example, we had sausage and mash tonight....they know what to expect - the children's parents dont, which is why, in their menu plans they have: sausages, potato mashed with creme fraiche and spring onions, sugar snap peas, petit pois and broccoli. It spells out all the good bits - but it is basically good old fashioned mid-week grub!!

Hope this helps x

09-01-2013, 10:26 PM
This probably is no help to you but i got fed up of cooking hot lunch every day which wasnt always eaten. Also i didnt like being in kitchen not always being able to see children, if they were in playroom so i stopped providing meals.

All mine bring a lunch box or some thing i can re-heat in microwave, makes life so so much easier and i would never go back to providing meals

As mentioned it's your business so do what works best for you and other children

09-01-2013, 10:31 PM
I don't provide meals anymore, just snacks but when I did supply meals I did cold lunches and hot dinners aswell. I only provide food once babies are eating normal food and can manage things like sandwiches so if they're still needing pureed or mashed food then parents need to provide it.
I think most childminders wouldn't have time during the morning while trying to look after 2 babies to safely cook a meal, then puree it and wouldn't be happy about doing it their own time the night before.

If you don't want to cook a hot meal at lunch time then explain to parents why, and ask them to bring hot food to microwave if they don't want a cold lunch. I don't think it's unreasonable to not offer that service. I know we offer a home from home environment but parents wouldn't dream of asking nursery to cook twice a day for their child.
I wouldn't have time as we're out most of the morning and toddler group and when we get back its a rush to get lunch before they're too tired to eat it before a nap.

09-01-2013, 10:38 PM
Personally i think it is more about your decision about how you plan your menus and getting this across to parents. They don't have to agree with you, you just need to stress that they can provide meals alternatively. Making the decision and sticking to it is the issue. Be strong x