Describe your ideal home for childminding
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  1. #1
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    Default Describe your ideal home for childminding

    As you know, we are looking to move from a flat to a house within the next year or two. Then I want to build up my childminding business again. We have been looking at zillions of houses online and so naturally have been looking at them with childminding in mind. Obviously our family needs come first and we will work with whatever space/layout we end up with.

    Out of curiosity though, what works well for your business with your current home? Anything you would change if money was no object?

    Open plan kitchen or totally separate kitchen that you can close off? Open plan kitchen that leads into a dining room, or a play room or a lounge?

    Patio doors leading from a carpeted room - would it be better to have wooden floors in the room leading from the garden?

    Hope you are all well. x

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    oooo ... exciting times Maza.

    I've always been perfectly happy in each of our houses with how it worked for minding, and it was something that we considered when looking at the last 2 houses, as we knew we ( I ) needed to make it work for me.

    I started minding in a small 2bed terraced house that we extended to make a lounge/diner with some built in toy storage. wooden floors. Small separate kitchen and the only toilet was upstairs. Mindees slept upstairs in travel cots in our room/DS ( and then DDs ) room. We had french windows into the garden and a small contained garden. I made it work, and I generally only had little mindees, so didn't feel too crowded.

    Our next house had a downstairs toilet ( that was an essential on my list! ), and large kitchen, with an L shaped lounge diner. The kitchen had 2 'doors', one could be shut, the other was an archway through to lounge diner. I did have a small playroom that was accessed from the dining part of the room, but it was mainly used for storage! wooden floors. Again, mindees slept upstairs, but in the spare room. French windows out to the garden from the lounge. Again, a contained garden.

    This house ... separate sitting room with conservatory ... I used conservatory as a playroom initially, but it was either hot or cold! Now we just use sitting room for 'quiet time', reading books, chilling after school, or for music making/dancing, or sometimes tv ( as that's where the piano and instruments/cd player/tv etc are ). Separate dining room ... mainly used as a mindee sleeping room during the day, (extra toy storage ) and my 'office' with PC. Large kitchen diner with tiled floor, with playroom off to one side ( we converted the back half of the garage into the playroom ) All other downstairs floors are wood. French windows from the kitchen to the garden. I can shut the door from the hall to the kitchen, but we use the kitchen for messy play and eating in, and the playroom for playing in, and the children love to play in my hallway and on the the really rough coir matting in the porch !

    Ideally, I'd have a larger playroom, with its own access to outside, with a covered outside playarea, but I think it would then feel too much like a nursery. It was fine to use the sitting room as the main playroom when my children were younger ( I remember one evening, DH & I carefully walking around a complicated duplo and wooden block sculpture that was dominating the middle of our sitting room, and then looking at it and laughing at what we were doing! ... but now, as our children don't have toys everywhere, its nice not to see them around all the time! ) I am planning on taking the carpet out of the downstairs toilet ( was there when we moved in ) as it has lovely brick tiles, but then i'll need to rethink change mat, as i change nappies on mat on floor in there, and the tiles will not be good for my 'getting older' knees! ( so i'll need a kneeling pad! ) I'd like more storage for 'stuff' as no built in storage anywhere and it does feel a bit cluttered and I don't necessarily want to see boxes of stuff in my dining room!

    I prefer wooden floors, as they are easier to keep clean, and softer than tiles, but my kitchen came with tiles i'd not have carpet anywhere, but DH decrees we have to have it upstairs!

    ooo, that made me think Maza! I am feeling a sort out and re-ordering/re-organising session coming on! Now, if only i didn't have pesky mindees next week to look after, I could have a good go!

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    Thank you for the detailed reply loocyloo!

    Downstairs loo - yes, I would like that too. Being in a flat everything is on the same level, so I take that for granted. We have tons of storage space too in our flat - also something I take for granted.

    Where do you store your pushchairs?

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    I feel that I am very lucky to have a separate room for my childminding as the garage was turned in to a room before we bought it, I like that I can close the door or my working space and it doesn't take over the whole house, the bathroom is next to the playroom which is great, if I could change anything it would be access to the garden from the playroom as we have to go through the kitchen/dining area. Good luck with your search.
    Pixie Dust

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    Thanks Pixie Dust, it's interesting that you and loocyloo would both like the same thing - access to the garden from your playroom.

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    Pushchairs are stored in the garage, along with all the car seats 😂 I can get to the garage from the playroom and so, when it is raining we often go in and out through the garage.

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    My wish would be for a covered outdoor area too!
    I think the main thing to consider is flow.
    I have children enter through my utility room door on the side of the house which means the whole of the front of the house is family space ( one downstairs bedroom converted from the garage and the hall , stairs etc. That alone helped the family / work balance as I stopped having to be a nag every time somebody ( family) came in and dumped their shoes bags jackets and assorted stuff in the hall just before a parent picked up and thought a bomb had landed!
    My utility room now has a kids shoe and coat rack and is also where the downstairs loo is. Parents can also get into the garden from the side door ( keypad lock) . Previously if we were all in the back garden I wouldn’t hear thee front door , and if I did I didn’t like leaving everyone alone to go through the house, especially in the summer with pools etc.
    The utility leads into my kitchen diner and then lounge. I don’t have a separate playroom and although part of me would love one I do feel that it makes the children feel more at homeand that’s the main thing with childminding . Nurseries strive to get this homely feeling which I think having a separate play space actually detracts from. My lounge is long so the front bit is sofas and a normal looking lounge area really , apart from an occasional teepee in the middle or a giant sculpture or scene that extended all the way down the room.the back end is playspace and has bifolds so in the nicer weather the children have complete choice indoors outdoors and I tend to hover somewhere in the middle so I can see everyone ( often in my strategically placed hanging egg chair!)
    Children do sleep in the downstairs bedroom sometimes but are more likely to be in a buggy in the garden all wrapped up with wheatbags in their cosytoes for warmth.
    My main thoughts if moving would be for the garden. It’s where we spend so much time and I would need it to be both a relaxing family garden space for me , and a playspace to explore for the mindees. I’m lucky that my garden is on two levels and the top level has AstroTurf and a giant sandpit , all nestled under mature shade and shelter giving trees . The bottom level is grass and borders , the children do play there as well but at the end of the day everything gets tidied back up to the top level slightly out of sight . ( it needs to be as loose parts are fairly ugly , tyres gutters and pallets aren’t exactly going to feature on gardeners world any time soon!) Ooh and space to grow a few veggies too , mine are in large planters. As I said I’d love somewhere I could cover so outdoor play was more available year round.

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    Thanks mama2three, I've just added hanging egg chair to my list of requirements!

    One of the houses we viewed online sounded a bit like a combination of what you have all described and did have a sheltered patio area. My first thought was 'I wonder if that is a childminder who is selling that home!'

    The houses in our price range in Shrewsbury tend to not have open plan kitchens, and I would really like open plan - I think. Having said that, we had open plan in a holiday cabin recently and when anyone was cooking, or even boiling the kettle, people in the lounge couldn't hear the tv (first world problem), so I wonder if that would irritate after a while? If it isn't open plan onto the main living room then I guess this wouldn't be such an issue. When you are in our current kitchen working, you feel so far removed from everyone else who is relaxing.

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    Like Loocyloo said you will make it work whatever you have.

    I used my ‘home’ as a childminder so the most important aspect wasn’t the rooms but the storage, organised to quickly disappear the resources yet be child accessible and also not look like *****minded.

    I loved that I had 4 bedrooms that I could use for afternoon naps and quiet time when they had given up the naps. Nobody disturbed each other and the 4th was a den where we had resources so we could play as others slept on, but still in earshot of the sleeping little ones.

    Lots of my friends with younger children are converting/extending their homes to one big living area, as is the trend. Great for being with each other when they are little - but I do wonder what will happen when they are teenagers and not want to be in constant company with parents. It will just make them never come out of their room. It was nice to walk into the living room or dining ( computer ) room and be with my lads as they grew up, yet have the kitchen to myself when cooking and baking. Equally, they liked that they could come down to the kitchen for beer and snacks without me analysing what they were having! I can see the advantage if you are a childminder though.

    I liked having a big Hall to meet and greet, hang coats, store shoes and have space for the visual register pictures....plus good space for a child who had fallen asleep in the buggy when we were out and about to sleep on.
    (Didn’t happen very often but was brilliant to have room for push chairs when it did.)

    Downstairs loo would be the only room I would make a priority on my list, most other layouts you will work with.

    2 years Maza - you are getting close now...a dream will soon be happening!

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    We extended our garage for childminding so my own sons could have space as they grew and didn’t have baby toys everywhere. The original garage was detached from the house so the new build had to be extended forward a couple of feet to join the back door. I then ended up with a hallway leading from my kitchen (old back door) to the playroom. This is my business door and it is brilliant having access from here. The mindees have named coat pegs here, storage for bags, shoes etc. The playroom has patio doors going out to the garden. Although others have said they would like this I don’t always like using it as some mindees tend to take absolutely every single toy etc out to the garden when my back it turned. I have a lot of toys and equipment in the garden already, separate outdoor cooking utensils, building equipment, doll’s buggies etc, most toys are duplicate but they still want to drag stuff out. So I like them using the patio doors from my kitchen diner as I can monitor everything as I potter before snacks/meals etc.
    I have a downstairs toilet and use my spare bedrooms upstairs for the babies to sleep in.
    I have wooden floors everywhere down stairs.
    I have a separate lounge that the children do not have access to.
    I have a utility room they do not have access to.
    I have faux grass in the back garden which is fabulous.
    I store my buggies in my car boot and the car seats stay in my car as I have an 8 seater.
    The kitchen/diner, hallway and playroom offer sufficient space for all the children to play/work together or there are many quiet corners for a child to relax if needed. Mama just plan your zones as to how you want your childminding business to offer the children in your care ie play, rest, eating, sleeping.
    My back garden is small and the larger play equipment is always on show, even though it’s pushed to the corners at weekends. My ideal garden would be an L shaped garden with one part of the L being solely used for the minding business with access coming from the playroom patio doors (that I earlier wrote I don’t like using - lol). And with a large covered area. But otherwise I’m very happy with what I have got as I think I’ve got the balance right as any larger I would resemble a nursery.

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    I think i would like a big kitchen diner with a table and chairs and a couple of settees in.

    I would also like a separate room for childminding completely or maybe just bigger. We do have another room but we use it as another living area so its very cluttered i can never seem to get it as i want it.
    When someone tells you nothing is impossible, tell them to go slam a revolving door

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