Parent needing advice/ info
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  1. #1
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    Default Parent needing advice/ info

    Hi all, hope I'm posting in the right place. We're looking for a childminder for our DS for when I return to work in Spring next year when he will be just 1. We've not visited any settings yet, just exchanged emails with some minders. As a result I have squite a few questions/ comments so your help would be much appreciated! Thanks all!

    -Several minders we have contacted are expecting or have newborns themselves - what are the implications of this? How could I be sure our DS would get the attention he needs?

    -We have been in touch with a new minder (registered 4 months ago). What questions should I be asking and how do I know if she's any good? Will she have an Ofsted rating or not?

    -A couple of minders have got back to me saying that we're starting our search too soon. This surprised me as I thought it could never be too soon. What are your thoughts?

    -Exactly what makes a good childminder???

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Parent needing advice/ info

    Some people liken finding a good childminder to buying a house - you get a good feeling about someone. However the things you need to get sorted are:
    • check their registration document to ensure that they are registered
      ask to see their latest Ofsted report
      make sure you get references from other existing customers or good quality other referees. Sperak to them rather than rely on a written reference.
      With regard to your child getting enough attention if the minder has a baby of their own then it will depend upon the minder themselves and how you feel when you visit.
      Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions - make a list before you go.
      get a copy of their policies and procedures - this will show their thinking around issues you may have even not thought about - child safety, confidentiality, behaviour control, outings etc etc
      After you have visited don't be worried about phoning them if you have other questions - a good minder will welcome these questions.
      make sure you read your contract thoroughly - there is not a general contract for every childminder - we are free to impose our own terms.


    Good luck - and no you are not looking too early in my opinion - you may be expected to pay a retainer to hold the place but in my opinion its worth paying if you get the right person as a result.
    I'm not paranoid - the world IS out to get me!

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    Default Re: Parent needing advice/ info

    Quote Originally Posted by Daftbat View Post
    Some people liken finding a good childminder to buying a house - you get a good feeling about someone. However the things you need to get sorted are:
    • check their registration document to ensure that they are registered
      ask to see their latest Ofsted report
      make sure you get references from other existing customers or good quality other referees. Sperak to them rather than rely on a written reference.
      With regard to your child getting enough attention if the minder has a baby of their own then it will depend upon the minder themselves and how you feel when you visit.
      Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions - make a list before you go.
      get a copy of their policies and procedures - this will show their thinking around issues you may have even not thought about - child safety, confidentiality, behaviour control, outings etc etc
      After you have visited don't be worried about phoning them if you have other questions - a good minder will welcome these questions.
      make sure you read your contract thoroughly - there is not a general contract for every childminder - we are free to impose our own terms.


    Good luck - and no you are not looking too early in my opinion - you may be expected to pay a retainer to hold the place but in my opinion its worth paying if you get the right person as a result.
    I agree
    One life live it

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Parent needing advice/ info

    Welcome to the forum!

    To try and answer your questions...

    A good childminder will be able to balance the needs of a number of children including their own. Some parents worry about their child not having anyone to play with while others worry about there being too many children... it really is a personal decision and one which you will be able to work out when you visit the childminder and get a feel for how s/he runs the business.

    While Ofsted inspections give you a good indication of what an inspector sees for 3 hours while visiting a childminder's home, your impressions and how you feel talking to the childminder are much more important than a piece of paper - and I am an outstanding graded minder telling you this!! It's about the feel you get for the person who will be caring for your child, not a grading at the end of the day.

    There are some pretty outstanding satisfactory childminders out there who slipped up over a piece of paperwork or getting nervous and forgetting to wash a child's hands or get a register filled in... always go with your gut feeling for the person.

    It's hard for childminders to balance vacancies with being full because we are only full until a parent tells us their child is leaving and this can happen in an instant. I know minders who were full one month and virtually empty the next, all because one family of 2 children move house and another leaves for school in a different town etc... this is why you are being told it's too early I imagine.

    go see people and get a feel for them... if you are happy with a minder you can save the space by paying a deposit and then you will be able to arrange settling in sessions in the new year.

    What makes a good childminder... hmmm... passion for the job, love of children (try to visit when s/he is working and expect the children's needs and requests to come first) and good organisational skills.

    What makes a good parent? Pay, turn up and collect on time... don't mess your childminder about with extra requests... read paperwork and feed back with comments which will help the childminder know how you are feeling... and most of all be honest and keep your childminder informed with what is happening at home so s/he can better meet your child's needs.

    I hope this helps. Good luck with your search

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Parent needing advice/ info

    Ditto whats already been said!

    But most important I feel is too visit when the childminder is working so you can see not only how the minder is with the children but how the children are with the minder! Childrens actions give a lot away!

    You should feel free to ask as many questions as you want too and to be able to ring, text or email anything after the meeting that you have forgotten.

    Once you find the right person, make sure you have enough settling in sessions and a settling in period written into the contract so that either party can end the agreement without notice for the first few weeks.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Parent needing advice/ info

    Thanks for your replies so far, very helpful. Just a further ques re. the new childminder - how can we assess how good she is if she's just starting out and doesn't have any mindees yet? Ta!

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    Default Re: Parent needing advice/ info

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwifruit View Post
    Thanks for your replies so far, very helpful. Just a further ques re. the new childminder - how can we assess how good she is if she's just starting out and doesn't have any mindees yet? Ta!
    sit and watch her play with your child whilst she is chatting to you, if she is good she will concentrate on your child not on you and you will have a feeling
    One life live it

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Parent needing advice/ info

    From someone who has been a parent using a childminder and now a childminder myself I can tell you to go with your gut instinct. As a mum I knew immediately which childminder was right for my children and as a childminder I also now know which children / parents are right for me. Believe me you WILL know the right one when you meet her / him.

    Good luck with your search

    xxx

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Parent needing advice/ info

    hello,

    the perfect childminder is like the perfect wedding dress. she's perfect for YOU, it's a gut feeling when you meet her, you know when you see your child with her. the paperwork, the grading....only confirm what your guts know.

    when my daughter was 16months she went to a childminder, when the lady open the door she was friendly, she spoke straight to my daughter, she had that something in her which made me think she's a no nonsense lady just what i need.... her house however wasn't what i would i chose on paper, she had a dog which i wouldn't have be keen if i had a baby but my toddler loved it.... her paperwork where basic but efficient.
    after 1hour talking when we left my daughter jumped in her arms and kissed her good bye. that was the last deciding thing!! my daughter had chosen as well.


    what's important for you? do you want your child to go a lot out? do you want him to be with lots of different age children? would you prefer your child to be in a small setting?
    my childminder was going to diferent group everyday (toddler, messy play..) and that's what i wanted but it doesn't suit everyone.


    new or old childminder doesn't have anything to do with it. I know childminder who have been minding for over 10years and i wouldn't leave my children with them, some new ones however are eager, trying harder....

    just be open, ask all the question you have, a good childminder will understand that it is a difficult decision to make,
    visit a few to give you an idea,
    are you attending any toddler group, maybe you could chat with childminders there, look at them interact with children, ask about childminders in the area, is someone recommanded?

    good luck with your search.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Parent needing advice/ info

    lots of great advice already given and i have to agree with the above,

    some other points, childminders work with EYFS the same as nurseries and schools so some parts of PLAY etc will be linked with EYFS and there will be paperwork very simular to nurseries regarding recording your child's development,

    parents often want a home from home setting for their babies and are surprised to find we work slightly differently than we did 3yrs ago..

    there are lots of threads on the forum about EYFS and what it involves for childminder so a little understanding may help you work with your childminder.

    we all understand how important it is for parents to find the right childcare and i would suggest visits at different times, your first visit should be at a quiet time so you can ask questions and look around etc and ask to visit at different times but please remember we are careing for other parents children and they need us too and they will possibly show off a little when we have visitors and the childminder needs to give them as much attention as possible and may not be able to just drop planns to meet with you.

    as you dont need childcare till spring? i would say a childminder will expect a deposit and a retainer. every childminder charges differently but to hold a place for a number of months and turn down work is worrying as we can only care for three children under 5yrs at any one time. and as mentioned we can often find ourselves full one term and empty the next and dont like to turn parents away on a promise of future work,

    also as mentioned, for a good partnership to work contracts should be signed and understood by both sides, bad paying parents can upset us and we feel unvalued, a happy childminder brings good activities and happy children in turn brings happy parents.

    good luck, take your time and let us know what you decide
    xxx

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Parent needing advice/ info

    Perhaps you could let us know what area you are in and we may be able to recommend someone in our area or even one of us may be able to help you. If you are uncertain to do this then perhaps pm one of the moderators who will, I am sure, treat your request with the utmost confidentiality.
    Just a suggestion for you.
    Teacake2

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    Default Re: Parent needing advice/ info

    Just to be different! Some childminders will not want you to visit whilst they are working. I wouldn't, I would not want a totally strange adult in the house with me whilst I am caring for very young children. So don't be put off if a childminder asks you to come at a time after she has finished working. That way the childminder can interview you properly to ensure you are a good match for her/his setting before introducing you to the minded children.
    I prefer for parent to visit once without their child so that I can get all the questions out of the way, then another visit with the child so that I can focus on the child properly.
    To be honest though, just arrange a visit with a few childminders and your heart will tell you which one you are comfortable leaving your little one with. Read the OFSTED reports but know they are based on a criteria different to yours, with the judgement being passed after only a couple of hours chat with the childminder.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Parent needing advice/ info

    Just one more thing to add, the new childminder may just be new to childminding but may already have experience of working with children or qualifications in childcare, not everyone is a parent going into childminding but some move from teaching, nannying and nursery nurses. I was a playworker before becoming a childminder.
    Paula

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    Default Re: Parent needing advice/ info

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwifruit View Post

    -We have been in touch with a new minder (registered 4 months ago). What questions should I be asking and how do I know if she's any good? Will she have an Ofsted rating or not?

    -
    Hia Kiwi

    Just wanted to pop on and add my comment as I am newly registered. I totally agree so far with what everyone has said - its a terribly difficult decision but one that you will know straight away.

    I would really like to think that people would not disregard me because I am new (not that Im saying thats what your doing!) but I have put a lot of effort, hard work, time, money and studying into becoming a childminder and although the more experienced childminders of course have a lot to offer as they have had different experiences, I also believe the newly qualified/registered could offer a different perspective as they have limited precedents and ideals and so your child can grow with the childminder and they can adapt and accomodate each other.

    I do think its a good idea looking around now as it may be you find the perfect one but theres a waiting list so its definitely worth getting out there, but as Andrea08 has said, if you actually book somone now they will ask for at least a retainer to hold your place until then.

    Also, as teacake2 says, most childminders know each other and so if you did want to disclose your location Im sure someone could recommend someone for you to visit. Best of luck xx

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Parent needing advice/ info

    Agree with all above.. brill advice, you could try attending playgroups/drop ins etc most of my little ones have been recommended by parents, word of mouth is the best reference I have found

    Also I always do the initial interview when I am not working, this is so I can give the parent and child my full attention, then I invite parents to come and see us at home when I am working to show what happens when children are her, if parents are happy and want space we arrange settling in sessions and also arrange for parent and child to join us at some of our drop in/playgroup sessions

    Good luck and do let us know how you get on
    Michelle x:current loss to date - 100lb clapping:

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    Default Re: Parent needing advice/ info

    I invite new or interested parents to come along to my local children centre or the village stay and play session so they can see me in action!!!! and speak to people who know me. That way the new child and parent also gets to meet some of the other children I care for and also meet the other minders who I often work with.
    You could always ask where the new minder goes and see if she minded you going, she can't really say no unless it is just a childminders session. But we also invite parents to those but not all do.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Parent needing advice/ info

    You have had some great replies!

    Theres some good info here including questions to ask your childminder.

    http://www.*************/for_parents/c...ildminder.aspx

    Hope you find your perfect cm soon

 

 

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