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      17.05.2010 13:27
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      Good childminders are worth their weight in gold.

      It seems like many of you have a very low opinion of childminders. I have been a childminder for 6 years now. I have done the original training, first aid course every 3 years, an NVQ and CACHE level 3 in childrens care learning and development, too numerous to mention courses on everything from the autistic spectrum to protective behaviours, I offer eduction places to 3 & 4 year olds (nursery places) I work from 7 in the morning til 6.30 at night, I provide play, activities, outings etc. My house (although some think it is good to work from home) is overrun with toys and various posters you are encouraged to display. I dont sit drinking tea all day with my feet up and when i have finished work will quite often have to go on courses in the evening and at weekends - i am involved with social services, speech therapists, physiotherapist etc for some of the children i care for, some of these children have various abilities/disabilities and conditions including a child with down syndrome, one with ADHD, another with Aspergers syndrome. I have to have numerous policies and keep large amounts of paperwork - especially for the education funded places (which are paid for at £3.62 an hour - 2 pence more than i charge) generally you are allowed to look after 3 children under school age - so if i had 3 children - full time (very rarely works out like that) i would be on approx £11 an hour - sounds good? Out of that I have to pay my national insurance, my attendance, accident, accounting books my liability insurance, food for all the children, extra cleaning products, toilet rolls etc, then I have to pay for all the extra diesel in my car when taking them to the many places that i do, toys, games, push chairs, car seats and other equipment (that often need replacing) paints, clay, cooking ingredients, just to name a few. mountains of paper, photopaper and printer ink for the childrens folders. This is just the tip of the iceberg. I dont get this money back, i just dont get taxed on it. (Yes dont forget i still pay tax too) Now if I was a childminder who sat on my backside all day and did nothing - it would be a good little earner but I am not - the only time i get a 'break' is if the children in my care fall asleep at the same time - this is when i catch up some paperwork or search for some new things to do or looking for other sites to make sure i am charging about the average rate, which is why i came across this. If I am sick, I get paid nothing, I only charge half fees for mine/parents holidays, I have to put up with late payment from some parents and have been stung for over £700 by one - because i basically i was too understanding - until she disappeared off the face of the earth of couse. Yes this is my choice because i like making a difference to the childrens lives - but although it is reasonable it is not a spectacular wage once you have paid out for everything. Most 'average earning' parents/carers will get 70% of the childcare costs paid for by tax credits, so even if it was £200 a week childcare, they would only have to find £60 of that, not the whole £200. I am sure there are some unscrupulous people within childcare out there somewhere, as im sure there are in any profession, and also within some parents too.
      Just wanted - on behalf of all proffesional childminders - to enable people to make an informed, not one-sided, decision.

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        22.09.2008 21:36
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        havnt we got this all wrong

        I have recently returned to work following a period of maternity leave. As this is my first child I have had to deal with the wrench of what will happen to my daughter when I am back at work. Now the appropriateness of mums returning to work is for another poster, im really here to make a plea for the grandparent who cares for their grandchild. My mum has retired and so she is available to care for my daughter for two days a week. Two mornings she is with a childminder. Ive returned to work part time. For every minute my daughter is with her nan I feel happy, im not worried and I know that my daughter is receiving the best care possible.. The reason for this is so simple yet so fundamental. She is family and she loves my daughter as only family can. Now a childminder can provide great care ( and I truly believe mine does) but can it ever be as good as the love and nurturing of a grandparent. My point is this. I am lucky in that my mum was retired and therefore money was not and did not need to be an issue for her but there are many grandparents that still work but would happily give up work to care for their extended family but cannot afford to.The government however will not allow these family members to qualify for the purposes of the mum/dad receiving relevant benefits. nor can a parent apply for any of the tax breaks if the childcare provider is a family member. It must be better for young children(wherever possible ) to be raised and looked after by family and yet there is nothing in place to encourage this. I just think we are wasting our best resource in this area of life and that is a shame for grandparent parent and most importantly child.

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          15.01.2005 11:29
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          I am from the other end of the situation I guess
          I am not a mother but would love to be so with all my heart but it seems I will not ever be able to.
          I am about to register as a childminder and do the full course
          I have in the past worked with children and gained a city and guilds certificate in community care.
          I am surprised on how much I am expected to pay out and buy before even being introduced to someone to take care of.
          I long to give my time, energy, playful nature and caring to a family who will be better off by having that support and that extra pair of hands.
          I live local to the mail shopping area and I enjoy walking I do not wish to use the car, as my partner will have it most days.

          I am asking you mothers to give us the new comers a chance we shall learn by you and grow with your child. I cannot wait to paint draw sing songs read stories walk and talk. I cannot wait to qualify.

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            27.10.2003 21:44
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            childminders "when it all goes wrong" Where do you go when it all goes wrong? You can find plenty of reports on "how good my childminder is" BUT WHAT WHEN THERE NOT? In brief. I collected my 7 month daughter from the childminder to be told "I?m sorry we've had a bit of an accident she's knocked her tooth out" apparently she had managed to pull a child?s chair on top of her. The minder told me they had heard her crying when checking to see why noticed that my daughter was on the floor with the chair on top of her on further inspection realised that her month was bleeding on wiping her month with some tissue noticed that she had knocked her tooth out. I was shocked to say the least. On discussing this with my partner we decided to give the benefit of the doubt we all know that accidents happen. The following week we returned her to the minder feeling weary of the situation, during the following week several things happened that gave us more concerns. On the last day of the week that my daughter was with the minder I collected her as normal only to find only to find a neighbouring minder there with the three children in their care. In total there where six children under five in the one house and my minder was having a leg waxing in the kitchen. How can you mind three children and have your legs waxed this meant that the other minder was watching all six children (they had taken turns) I was completely gob smacked. Later that afternoon we reported this to the governing bodies. The minder gave us notice and expected to be paid for it. To which we thought was unjustified. They then took us to the small claims court and lost. The judge said they where in breech of contract as they where not giving the adequate care that are child needed and dismissed their claim. And no they are not all bad we found a diamond for a childminder who I would highly recomme
            nd. No one tells you who the bad ones are we learnt the hard way and our child suffered for it and will probably need some dental work at a later stagebut we wont know untill her second set are through. Parents need more information. I would advise anyone looking to employ a childminder to ask about their daily routine. where they go, what they do, how much time would they spend playing with the child. You yourself know how difficult it is to do the house work with a baby that needs your undivided attention and maybe visit at different times of the day and try one visit unannounced. And if you are not happy with something dont delay deal with it straight away because it will be your child that suffers the consequences . If you click with the minder you know things will be fine. their concern should be with the child and not how much money they can make.

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              07.09.2003 23:53
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              Choosing a Registered Childminder is a difficult decision, but as an registered Childminder I can give you a different perspective, I have been minding for eight years and the longest I have cared for an individual child is seven years, so I thought I would share my point of view with you all. Did you know a Registered Childminder is the only setting, which can guarantee you one to one with your child? Your child will get to know this adult as perhaps a baby, share with you their experiences as a toddler and then continue building that solid relationship as they go to school and beyond. At nursery, your child may have a ‘key worker’ but it is always interesting to ask how often this person works there with your child – do they cover all the same sessions as your child. Childminding is changing, but like any profession there are good and bad qualities of it, everyone who has found a ‘good’ childminder, values the service they offer and is happy to accommodate their needs. A childminder however is doing a job, I’m a qualified Nursery Nurse (NNEB) and I was a childminder before I became a mum – it was career decision, as I wanted to provide a particular service – very really am I asked why I choose this job, but I do think this is a real indicate of the kind of care your child will receive. Is your childminder interested in training? There is additional training available then the pre-registration course, there are local groups and county associations which they can join, which all help indicate the dedication to the job. Childminding is changing – there are childminders that belong to NCMA approved networks, which have regular quality checks about every eight weeks – and these childminders can then go on to offer you partly funded places with the Nursery Education Grant once the child is three years old. Childminders are all self employed, they c
              an choose to set their fees, choose whether to get paid holiday and time off or not, choose to charge you a retainer or fees for the hours you book and these are all agreed in advance on your contract – if you are not happy then negotiate, ask her or him to explain why they charge for certain things and it will give you an incite in how they work. Childminders can be flexible, they can provide a unique service and some childminders can even provide overnight care, but this is all up to the individual and like in any job down to the terms and conditions you agree together. Childminding fees are an issue and do vary from area to area, but it is always worth considering what you get for your fees and how your childminder sets them. As a childminder I have had to have a bigger vehicle to transport children, new pushchairs and car seats that are suitable for the children, I feed the children in my care, provide toys and activities, treats, crafts, take them on outings, have to insure my house and garden are safe, in good repair and I have higher wear and tear on all my furniture, I pay my registration fees, public liability insurance, and my own training amongst other things. When your child goes home, I plan activities for the next day, shop for food your child consumes and clean my home , as well as attending various trainings unpaid, and all this is included in your hourly rate – a bargain, I believe! My advice would be choose a Childminder – it could be the best decision you ever make, and they could be there for you throughout your child’s childhood, but be wary they are all different and there are key points to look out for: Check they are registered and insured. Ask to see their inspection report Check what qualifications they have, minimum qualifications now are a pre-registration course, and first aid (update every three years) Ask about experience and
              references See them when they are working with children Ask to talk to current parents Ask them what they do each day Ask them what they would give your child to eat How would they react if you arrive late or turn up early Describe an accident and ask how they would react Talk about how they handle bad behaviour Ask how they would plan for all the needs of the children Ask how they would cope if your child had an allergy or special needs later on, would they be prepared to undergo training if necessary. Ask how many children they do care for, have they set their own limits? Have a tour of their facilities and ask if they have any information you can take a way (paper work, contracts to read at home and discuss) Whether you feel you could like and trust them and build up a good working relationship with time. Whether they interact with your child and make them feel welcome. Lastly ask how they set their fees – this shouldn’t be your most important consideration, it is the quality of care they offer! Good Luck – there are some brilliant childminders out there, just as there are some great nurseries and exciting pre-schools, you just have to do your research, visit and get to know them and find one that offers the unique service that you are looking for!

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                31.07.2001 18:05
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                .I have been registered for more than ten years seen a lot of changes in the system, some good some well not too good, (from child minder side,)most of my little darlings come from recommendations, word of mouth, I've four children of my own, who help and love the extra friends they have, mum's always on tap, and we have money to get by. I work very hard but it rewarding, and I was a retail manager before the children, So this is my choice. Parents please make sure your childminder has been registered they will have a certificate to prove this. Looking for childcare look not only at you child minder but also as people who know her /him, school connections, playschool, church e.c.t. also local council should give you an up to date list of child minder in you local area health visitors as well. Not all childminder are on the take some have hearts, cost can be met by working tax credit( some of it.) depending on your income, if you don’t try, you don't find out. Lastly make time to talk with your childminder to find out any problems this keeps things running smoothly

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                  22.07.2001 20:21
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                  I would love to go out to work now my children are a little older. When they were babies I didn't want to leave them especially as I was breastfeeding but now they are at school and nursery I feel I should contribute to the upkeep of our home. However this is where the problems start. Firstly I have tried to find a job during term time only which means only the youngest needs a childminder (if I could get school hours of course). I can't afford to pay childcare charges for 4 children unless I get a very well paid job which I am not qualified for and I haven't found a minder who would either take all 4 after school/nursey and during holidays or have the youngest after nursery in term time only. I can understand that a childminder needs to make their money but the only one I have found to take the youngest wanted to be paid full price for school holidays when I would be looking after him myself. I have found out that a childminder is far cheaper than a nursery or using school holiday clubs. I also like the fact that there isn't a turnaround in staff and they would be in someones home. The only solution I can see is to become a childminder myself but would I be allowed to take any others when I already have 4 of my own?

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                    23.05.2001 15:20
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                    I am a working mum (albeit part-time) to a 3 year old boy and am expecting another in July. When I had my first son I couldn't afford NOT to go back to work, so I went back 2½ days a week. Luckily my parents agreed to look after him for me in my own home. This, for me, was the best option. Obviously it was free (bless her, and she did my housework too!) and he was being looked after by family members. After a few months however mum became unhappy as my half day fell on the day that my dad didn't work. This was their day together, to go out shopping, have lunch etc. By the time I got home from work half the day was gone and they were finding it difficult to do everything they needed to. Obviously I didn't want her unhappy so I looked into getting a childminder just for the half day. There happened to be one right across the road. I went to see her and she seemed really nice, had lots of toys around, got down on the floor to my son's level and talked and played with him, but more importantly he seemed to like her. She managed to fit him in and everyone was happy. The childminder and I became good friends and I had no doubts about her at all. However, that all changed. After about a year or so, she made some new friends which were always around her house whilst she was childminding. Suddenly when I went to collect him there'd be no toys out for him to play with and he'd just be sat on the sofa watching video's. One day I went to collect my son, after I'd been there about 5 mins one of her other charges showed me that he'd had an accident - his whole torso was covered in grazes which had dried blood on them. The childminder got all flustered and asked if he'd had that when he'd arrived (he hadn't); then she said she didn't know when or how he'd done it as he hadn't cried or anything. Knowing my son I found this very hard to believe. Imagine my horror when he came back from her the
                    following week with yet more grazes, which again she didn't mention to me. That was the last straw, I went into work the following week and arranged to drop my half day. Now that I'm expecting another baby, I am going to be giving up work, so I have decided that I would like to give childminding a go. A couple of weeks ago I went to a pre-registration meeting. All I had to do was ring up the Under 8's Clerk at my local Social Services Dept and they fitted me into a meeting. The meeting lasted 2 hours and we were told about the do's and don'ts of childminding and given some forms to fill in. I have my completed forms here and shall be sending them off today with my registration fee of £12.50. There will be Social Service's checks, Police checks (on myself and my husband), 2 references taken up and maybe even my medical history will be looked at. I will have a safety officer come around to my home to assess it. I have to have smoke detectors, first aid kit, fire blanket and safety gates. I will have to get my pond covered over securely as that, obviously, is a major hazard. I need a selection of toys and suitable sleeping arrangements etc. I will need public liability insurance and to have business class insurance for my car. I will need to go on a Childminding Foundation Course and a First Aid course within the first 6-12 months of being registered. The whole process can take up to 3 months to complete - I hope I'm successful. The pre-registration meeting was an eye-opener for me with regards to my previous childminder. A childminder is not allowed to smoke in front of the children and mustn't permit anyone else to either - she and her friends smoked in front of them all the time; all accidents must be written in the accident book and the parent must sign it - there was no mention of an accident book to me when my son was injured; only the childminder can drive the children and it must be in the
                    childminder's own car - she frequently took her charges out in her friends cars with her friends driving. I was gobsmacked, I had no idea that she was breaking so many of the rules, I was totally naive. All I can say is, if I get registered I will be conscientious about it because I couldn't be anything else. Looking after someone else's child is a huge responsibility and one that needs to be taken seriously. There is nothing so precious as a child.

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                      12.05.2001 22:15
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                      Who really wants to go to work on a Monday morning - never mind after having your little bundle of joy. Giving up the chance of being able to watch your little ‘miracle’ 24/7, missing their first smiles, first steps, first words and a whole lot more besides, the thought of having to leave your child with a virtual stranger (initially) is enough to tug at your heart strings, but is the tug of the purse strings stronger? Making the decision to go back to work or not, is not one that is done likely as every Mother will tell you, as there is so much to take into consideration. Unfortunately sometimes the decision is made for you - lack of money! Can you afford not to go back to work? If like me, you have decided to return to work, after your eighteen weeks paid maternity leave, then there are various options in Childcare available to you to take into consideration, and the type of childcare that you choose will depend on various factors that you must ask yourself. How old is your child? A baby, obviously has different needs to a toddler, or a child of school age. What can you afford? What sort of hours will you and your partner be working? Will your employers be flexible about you leaving early to pick up your child, if your child is ill? Do you want your carer to provide a similar environment to your home or something completely different? Do you want your child to have individual attention or lots of children to interact with? Would you prefer your child’s career to have had professional training? Depending on what your answers are, will depend on which childcare is right for you and your baby. There are two basic sections of Childcare, which I have briefly identified below, obviously when making your decision; you will look at each possibility in great depth: Formal care ========= Formal care has to be register
                      ed and inspected annually by the local council, and these include:- Childminders ---------------- A childminder is usually a mother herself and looks after a small number of children in her own home. Including her own, childminders can only have three children under the age of five, and only one can be less than 15 months. A list of registered childminders can be obtained from your local Social Services office. Day Nurseries ----------------- A day nursery looks after and educates children full or part-time. Some take babies as young as six weeks, but usually nurseries care for children aged between two to five. These are often quite rare and often have long waiting lists. Local authority day nurseries - may offer a place, although part-time, to families who are under stress or to children who need specific help with their development. Private day nurseries - are run as a business, and so can be quite expensive. Community nurseries - are usually set up by a children’s charity or as a joint enterprise between a children’s organisation and the local authority. These nurseries usually offer places to local families. Workplace nurseries - are often much cheaper as the fees are subsidised by your employer. Informal Care ========== Informal care is done in your own home and is not subject to any regulations, these include:- Nannies ---------- Nannies look after your child in your own home, and you would provide free accommodation and meals. Some Nannies are very well qualified, so this could be quite an expensive option. Au Pairs ----------- Are usually foreign exchange students, aged between 17 and 27 who visit Britain for up to two years to learn English. An au pair would live with your family and you would provide free accommodation and meals, and ‘pocket money’. They have no childcare training or qualific
                      ations, so this makes it more of an affordable option. Family members -------------------- Asking a close relative to look after your child. Usually there is no cost involved, apart from your child’s expenses. The cheapest form of childcare. Each of these childcare options has its own merits and disadvantages, and prices will vary greatly, but depending on the childcare that you want for your baby, then there should be something for you. Obviously when choosing your childcare you will need to ask your chosen carer various questions and possibly observe them at work, before making your decision. Questions that you can ask include: Hours? Fees? How long have you been working with children? Have you done any training? What other children will be with my baby? How do they spend their day? Where does the baby rest? What sort of meals do you provide, is that an extra cost? Can I see your registration certificate and inspection report? Do you make outside visits and trips? When you have chosen the right Childcare for you, then this should make it slightly easier to return to work, knowing that your child is in safe hands. Having given you some information on various choices of childcare, I would like to share with you my personal experience of childcare - childminders in particular. When I had my son was born nine years ago (pause -reality of age, has just hit me! LOL), even though I wasn’t working, I decided that he should go to a childminders. At that time I was a single Mother, (although not for long as I met with my husband to be), and even though he was a good baby, for both our sanity’s I decided that for just a couple of hours a week that it would do us both good to have a break from each other. Not only was it giving me the chance to get out and enjoy some adult company and conversation, but also it was giving my
                      son the chance of being with other children and other people. I got a list of registered childminders from the local Social Services office, and looked through to see which ones were closest to me, as I didn’t have any transport - apart from what I was born with (my legs!). After doing my research into Childminder’s which no doubt you will too, I first telephoned and asked various questions, before asking if I would be able to go round and watch her with other children and obviously to meet her and for her to meet my son. I think when you visit, you know whether you feel comfortable or not with someone. I immediately felt at ease with my Childminder, and after satisfying all my questions and worries and watching her with other children and seeing how she looked after them, I knew that she was the one that I could entrust my most valuable possession with. She had three children herself, all over school age, so I knew that she had all the necessary experience that was needed As I said previously, this arrangement was only once a week and at the most was for about three hours at a time. My son loved his time with the Childminder, which started when he was about six weeks old, and I actually think it was beneficial to him as he didn’t ever become ‘clingy’, and he was used to being with other people and other children. I don’t regret my decision for one minute. Although, I didn’t have alot of money, it was well worth paying £1.50 an hour just for some quality time for myself. And as I said previously, I wasn’t on my own for long, and even though I had a boyfriend, my son continued to go to the Childminder’s. My Childminder was almost like an extension to the family. My son stopped going to the Childminder when he was about three or four years old, as by then I didn’t really need a Childminder, as everything that we did, we did as family. When I fell pregnant with my daughter,
                      and now working four hours a day, during school time, I knew that I would have to go back to work, as with having a mortgage and everything that goes with it, there was no way I could let my husband run himself into the ground trying to pay for everything. Even though it was only four hours a day, and not especially brilliant money, I felt that by going back to work at least I was contributing and at least I was with other adults, which was especially important as we now live in a village on the outskirts of town - I didn’t feel so cut off. My daughter was also very hard work, hardly ever slept, bad colic, you name it she had it, and just generally so different to her brother, who had been the exact opposite, I was quite glad to get a break (does that sound bad?), and because I was only working four hours a day, I didn't feel that I would be missing too much of my daughter's life, I would still be there to watch her grow up. I knew exactly who I wanted to look after my daughter, my childminder from before - I had my fingers crossed that she would have a space for Chloe. Luckily that when my eighteen weeks Maternity Leave was going to be up, then she would be able to take her as one of her other children would then be leaving to start school. Chloe has and is still enjoying going to the Childminders, she has been going since she was three months old, and she enjoys being with other children. Luckily for me the Childminder is still the same price as she was when she had my son - £1.50. So it costs me £30 a week for her to go. I know Childminders prices can vary and I thought I would be paying nearer £2.00 an hour, which did make me dubious about whether financially it would be worth me returning to work. Even though I have now changed jobs, Chloe still goes four hours a day and she takes a little something to eat and a cup of squash with her every day and the Childminder has been absolutely brilliant with her. I would be def
                      initely lost without my Childminder, so for anyone out there that is contemplating having a Childminder as long as you find someone who you trust and feel totally at ease with then there shouldn’t be any problems and it certainly doesn’t do the child any harm.

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                        12.05.2001 15:57
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                        I had no choice but to go back to work after the birth of my daughter, but I think it was the best decision I could have made. I had several choices of care, but in the end decided on a childminder (mainly due to money and convenience), as I do not live near my family whom I probably would have asked first. My husband and I visited a few of the local childminders and took Morgan with us to see what she made of them. Only one of them had all her certificates out to show us and references from other parents. She had her insurance certificate out as well. She was really helpful to us, as neither of us quite knew what to ask or say, as we had never done this before. Morgan also seemed to be enjoying herself there with the childminders other children. So we decided to pick this one and I have never regretted it. She is reasonably priced and as she helps run two of the local toddlers groups Morgan gets to go for free. Also Morgan adores their children and I think that this helps her development with her being the only child at home. I feel completely safe and happy leaving my daughter in our childminders care and it also gives me a couple of hours when I am at work to be me and not just mummy!

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                          13.04.2001 22:02
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                          I have been a registered childminder for just over a year, prior to that I worked Full time and my Mother In Law looked after my kids - she was also a registered childminder. Unfortunately due to a change in circumstances (cancer) my mother in law could no longer look after my kids. I than had a major decision on my hands as to what to do. With her being a childminder, on my days off I often met most of the other childminders in the area. That lead me to the biggest problem - I really wasnt happy to leave my kids with any of them - nor was my mother in law! Luckily an older childminder who had given up, offered to have the kids temporarily until things sorted themselves out. As it turned out the cancer was terminal, and it soon became obvious that I had to sort out a longer term solution. I decided to give up my job (relatively low paid & very low paid once you took into account the money I was already paying for childcare) & become a childminder. The local authority were very good, they had known my mother in law for over 12 years, and tried to speed through my application - it still took 3 months of form filling out & visits before I finally got my certificate. During this time I had to go on a course & make alterations to my house - none of which were a problem - extra stairgates, fire blankets, safety film on glass etc. I then took a couple of the after school kids on that my mother in law had previously looked after, and who I had known since they were babies. Within 2 weeks I had filled all my spaces bar 1. I am able to look after 6 children in total , but within that I also have to count my own kids. After working full time for 12 years, all I wish now, is that I had done this sooner. I know that I am not the best childminder in the world - but all the kids want to come here, we try and do something most nights after school - make things, play games etc - the tele is very ra
                          rely on - we do homework -the kids play & relax. Sometimes things get a bit boisterous & I go into my impression of a fishwife, but the kids all seem to respect me & the house rules! I never have any problems with the minded kids, and my kids have the advantage of always having kids to play with. My kids have their bedrooms, that are 'off' limits to the minded kids - so they get to have their 'own' space if they need it! The only slight problem that I ever have is with one of the parents - who unfortunately seems to think that I have no social life or don't need time on my own with my kids - she will often come to me in the morning and announce that she has a meeting that night and won't be back to pick her kids up till 7.30pm! - no "is it OK" or "are you doing anything" - but that is my problem & I will eventually think of a way around it - the only good thing is that both of her kids are angels (most of the time!) If a parent asks me to have their kids, I would always encourage them to come and spend some time with me - The parents of the kids i look after come back to collect kids at all times of the day - they are always welcome to come in at any time - I have nothing to hide! - Most times if they come early, they end up stopping for a coffee, while their kids finish what they're doing! I know too many childminders that are quite happy to go over their numbers - why? - the numbers are there to protect the minder as well as the kids - someone up high has worked out what they consider to be the safe ratio - so why not stick to it? Always check their certificate as to numbers & go back at a different time and do a head count! Does your childminder take the kids out - not just back and forth to school - but to toddler groups etc ?? If not why not??? we are paid to look after your kids - they need stimulating especially when younger (if you don't stimul
                          ate older kids - they'll soon let you know!!!) Does your childminder have toys/equipment appropriate for the age of your child - travel cots/highchairs etc? - if not where will the little ones sleep ? are you happy with that arrangement? I am not a parent substitute - I see myself as a friend to the older children, and a friend/carer to the younger ones - I want the kids to be happy to come here, happy when they are here & pleased to see their parents when they are collected. Overall, find a childminder you and your child are happy with - talk to your childminder - air any concerns you may have - but also say if you are happy - and most of all relax when you are at work in the knowledge that you have left your child with someone you know you can trust

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                            05.04.2001 02:05
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                            The last thing you want to do is say to you’re parents on the last minute can you look after you’re Grand-kid. I think it’s unfair and since they look after her a lot at times I do think they need a rest and therefore I don’t like imposing on them. My family are very good at baby-sitting but at times they are busy with their own things and sometimes you feel like there’s no option but to get a childminder. Luckily, one of my friends’ daughter is a registered childminder and because I know her quite well I do feel comfortable with leaving my daughter with her. I can remember the first time I left he with ‘Emma’ the childminder I felt very uneasy and I can remember rushing back just after we had finished our meal. Of course everything was fine but as parents you worry. My concerns were not would she hit my daughter but would my daughter eat ok, would she behave and would the childminder and her get on. They did get on and when I came in rather hurriedly Emma was reading a story to her, which I thought was really nice and I was quite pleased. I still can’t help worrying you hear so many things on the news, and although I don’t want to become over protective I feel that if anything was ever to happen to my daughter then I wouldn’t forgive myself. Although, I have got better and because we stick to one regular childminder, she and my daughter have a good relationship and my daughter feels comfortable with her. So, my advice to parent in the similar position is try to build a relationship with your childminder, that way you’ll know what they like. Always check their references out you can never be too sure. Ask the children whether they liked the childminder without being to inquisitive and last of all try not worry. As a famous quote goes and as my husband seems to remind me ‘Worry does nothing it just prevent happiness.’ I think as pa
                            rent we shouldn’t over protected but at the same time we should be cautious, I believe after a good few months I am feeling more relaxed and the telephone calls have been cut down a lot.

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                              25.03.2001 05:15
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                              Before we even had children my husband and I decided that under no circumstances was I going to leave them to go to work. We are very lucky as we were given our four-bedroom house as a wedding present so we have no mortgage. We do however struggle for money as my husbands' job in not well paid, but the hours he works are excellent. This in turn benefits us as a family and to us that is more important than money. After we had our second child money became tight so we decided that I should apply to become a childminder. This way I could still bring up our children myself. To become a registered childminder I had to fill in forms, lots of forms. I was then presented with a list of requirements that I had to conform to. This included things like having stair gates, fireguards, plug guards fitted, and knives put away. There were stipulations about any pets that I had and I had to go and purchase some dolls and other girls' toys as my children were boys. One of the dolls I bought had to be black to show that I wasn't racist, how this showed that I wasn't racist I don't quite understand. Then there was the police check on both my husband and myself, this would have also included any teenagers in the house had there been any. My Doctor had to sign a form saying that I was fit and healthy and not on any prescribed anti-depressants. The next step was to arrange insurance, as most local authorities require this prior to registration. This costs from about £15 a year. I also had to change my car insurance so that I would be covered in case of an accident. Then came the dreaded visit from the Social Worker. She snooped in every nook and cranny we have. She was extremely thorough - don't get me wrong I am not complaining I would expect nothing less if it were house my children were going to be in. I passed the inspection with only a few minor alterations to be made. I would have another inspection in
                              a years time. Each inspection they made I had to pay for. When I was finally registered I was given some guidelines to follow, the Social Worker had told me about these and said that I should try and stick to them. These included how much I should charge, 3 years ago it was suggested I should charge £2.75 an hour per child. I was to charge for sickness and holidays and not to take sick children. They also stated that I must have a contract as these are legally binding. I was allowed to have one child under 1 year old, a further 2 under 3 years old and a further 3 under 8 years old. My children were to be included in these calculations. I was never asked to undergo any training, however the new proposed standards require all registered childminders to attend a recognised childminders' introductory course within six months of starting childminding. I looked after 2 girls until last September when I gave up childminding. I charged £2 an hour per child, I provided the food and anything else that they required. I paid for them to go to playbarns, McDonalds, and any other places we might visit. They frequently baked biscuits and cakes for Mummy and Daddy, as well as doing many different crafts, paintings etc. I never asked for a penny towards the materials so all in all I was probably no better off by the end of the week. I never asked for holiday or sick pay if the children were ill, if the parents came home early they paid me less - I did not want to be paid for a job I was not doing. I also didn't want the parents to be tempted to leave them with me when they were off work or home early just because they were paying me. I think that this if false justification as at the end of the day it is the child that is loosing out on some valuable time with its parents. I would however not take a sick child, as I didn't want my children to contract anything, obviously if it was only a cold I would take them but not if they
                              had anything else that was contagious. If the children were on medicine I was not allowed to care for them, as I could not be responsible for the medicine. As I said before I gave up childminding last September. This was a difficult decision to make, as I had grown very attached to the girls. The main reason for giving up was that in my eyes my sons were suffering. They were not getting my undivided attention when they came home from school. I could not hear them read until later in the evening when they were tired. If the girls didn't like something we didn't have it even if the boys did. When we went shopping I couldn't buy the boys a comic or a T-shirt without the girls asking for one, I couldn't afford to do that so I stopped buying the boys things so the girls wouldn't feel neglected. I think I was trying to compensate the girls for the fact that their Mum wasn't there and didn't want them to see what they were missing out on so they always got the preferential treatment. The final straw came when they youngest girl, who had just turned four asked me if I could be her Mummy as I was more fun than her real Mummy and she loved me more. I couldn't deal with the guilt of this and the guilt of putting my sons needs second anymore. I never told the mother what her little girl had said to me as she would have been devestated. I gave the girl's mother 4 weeks notice and she found another childminder who they are still with. This bought with it a whole new guilt trip as the youngest girl is in my son's class and I see her everyday. The first couple of weeks she would cling to me when she came out of school not wanting to go to the new childminder and begging me to take her home with me. Six months down the line and she still clings to me until her big sister comes out so that they can go together. After seeing what those two girls have gone through I would never send my child to a childm
                              inder. I understand that we are lucky as we have the choice. If you are not as fortunate all I can do is give you some tips to help you choose a good childminder. Always visit several childminders. Make notes and ask questions - lots of them. Make a second visit to the ones you like the most. Contact other parents that have used that childminder. Visit when other children are there Are the children enjoying themselves? Does your child get on with the other children? What activities do they do? Your child will have less time to pine for you is he/she is occupied instead on being plonked in front of the TV. Check all areas of the house that your child will use, the childminder should not mind you doing this. Ask to see her registration certificate, her inspection report and her insurance certificate. Check her policy on overtime, sickness and holidays. Ask about food, nappies, creams etc, who will provide them and will there be an extra charge if she does. Will they take your child to the clinic, playgroup etc. The childminder needs parental permission before a Doctor will see the child. Will they take the children out to mother & toddler, playbarns etc. Who will pay for this. Does anyone in the house smoke, there are no rules saying they can't smoke around your child. Check safety seats in cars and any other equipment such as buggies and highchairs. By law childminders have to keep a record of any accidents, whether they happen when the child is with her or at your home. This needs to be signed by both the childminder and the parent. Check that this is being adhered to. Try and find a childminder with a recognised certificate. This is the CCP ? Certificate of Childminding Practice. Unfortunately this is not compulsory. The childminder will be working for you tell her what you want, if she can't
                              do it don't use her. Find someone who will. Once you have decided on a childminder there are a few things that I would do and suggest that you do too. Take your child on a few occasions when other children are there once they know the childminder start leaving them for half an hour at a time explaining to them that you are just going to the shop and won't be long. This will show them that they are not being abandoned, most of the children I have cared for have just been left on the first day without even knowing me. This makes the child extremely upset and makes the childminders job much more difficult as they know very little about the child. A childminder won't tell you if your child has been excessively upset as they will not want to make you feel anymore guilty than you already do. If your childminder does not agree to this find someone else, they obviously do not have your child's best interests at heart. One of the problems that I had is that the girls didn't want to play with our toys. Get your child to chose a toy or toys to take with them (check this is OK with the childminder first) This also gives the childminder something to talk to your child about when you leave to distract them. I often took the kids out for walks across the fields near us. If no wellies or waterproof coats had been provided then we couldn't go in case it rained. Ask your childminder to let you know if she needs anything for the next day and take a bag with it all in. Spare clothes for painting always came in handy. I asked for an old set of clothes so that it didn't matter if they got dirty. I would keep these and wash them for the next time we got messy. Ask if your childminder would appreciate a similar arrangement. Painting is much more fun if you don't have to be careful!! If your child cries when you leave kiss him/her and keep going. The more you fuss and try to calm them the wors
                              e they become. Keep going and within 5 minutes of you leaving they should be fine. I personally would never use a childminder as there is no one better or more qualified than ME to look after MY children. I do understand that not everybody is as lucky as we are. I also understand the guilt that is felt by mothers who have to return to work and that they would give anything to be with their baby. If you absolutely have to use a childminder remember it costs nothing to ask questions, lots and lots of questions. A childminder that is worth having will understand how you are feeling and do anything they can to help you and your child be happy. If you have any reservations at all don't use them. Just understand that the childminder could have the needs of six children to fulfil not just the needs of your child. She may also be relying on the money you are paying to pay her mortgage and therefore has to charge you for sick and holidays as this is the only way to guarantee that she can pay her bills each week. When you deduct tax, National Insurance, heating, insurance, local authority charges and food, drinks, treats, craft materials, (if she provides these) she doesn't earn as much as it initially seems. I am sorry if I have upset anyone or made it more difficult for anyone to return to work. I tell it as I see it from both sides of the coin and from what I have seen through my own experiences. I just hope this helps when making a choice whether it is to stay at home or choosing the right childminder for you.

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                                15.02.2001 02:05
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                                I work as a full time customer services manager and my husband works for a distribution company who work shifts. We had to look at ways of finding childcare to fit in with the shifts we worked. After so much heartache having Ellis, it was a big and tough decision to entrust Ellis to someone else. I know a lot of people have decided to stay at home, and although it is a struggle they have coped. We took on a lot of financial commitments after we were told we would never have children in 1998, so out of pure financial necessity, I returned to work in June when Ellis was 5 months old, and the feeling of that 1st day back at work will always stay with me. I was in a room of 100 people but I have never felt so alone. I remember thinking, "I just want Ellis here on my knee, I should be feeding her", and I am sure now that is a totally natural reaction. However, my biggest worry was that Ellis would forget me, and think her childminder was her mummy. That fear was soon quashed as she used to hold out her arms when I collected her, and she made it clear she knew who mummy was. Finding the right childcare was another source of worry. I read every piece of literature available, but although shift workers are common nowadays, there was no mention of them. A local nursery could not accomodate us, as they have to have set days and hours, and as Ellis was only going to be there for 3 hours a day, 3 times a week, they were not keen. On the advice of my mum, I contacted my local social services Under 8's officer, and they sent me a list of registered childminders in my area. I called round a few, and they were all full. Panic started to set in. 7 calls later, I had an appointment for that night with Jackie. We were full of bravado that we would interview her, and ask lots of challenging questions, but as we walked up to the door the underwire from my bra popped out and started poking me in my chin. I quickly took
                                it out and shoved it in my pocket. We got on with Jackie and her family straight away, and as we walked into the kitchen, her daughter shouted "You dropped this", and yes you have guessed it, the underwire! I was so embarrased all of my questions went out of my head. Jackie knew the procedure and showed us her inspection report, which I would recommend anyone getting a look at and also her references. I spoke to another mum who left her son with Jackie and they praised her to the hilt, and she was happy with our flexible hours. Before I went back to work, Ellis was very introvert and would scream if I passed her to anyone, even her dad. The change in her is remarkable, she is confident and a very sociable child for her age, and far from the clingy baby I remember. Weekends are our time though. I make sure that weekends are fun, and we go swimming or play in the park, just us. I know there are a lot of opinions on here claiming that working mothers do the wrong thing, and that our children will be less developed or suffer in some way. This makes me angry because it is such nonsense. I am jealous of stay at home mums, and hope eventually that can be me, but please do not condemn us for trying our best, and it is very hard work. **Update*** I no longer use a childminder as I discovered that the day before her annual inspection, she had to go and buy a first aid kit amongst other things. I now entrust my daughter to a family friend. A lesson learned for me is to check and double check the person you choose.

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                                  30.11.2000 16:13
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                                  When I first had my son my sister looked after him for me whilst I went back to work. But then she moved away and I had to find a childminder. I nearly fell over when they told me how much they were charging. This is going back about three years but I was paying £2.00 and hour (that was the most reasonable in the area with the partner of a good childminder). I had to pay for all holidays and sickness. The childminder was aloud to have the first day of her sickness paid for in full but then after that it was free. So you can imagine she had lots of odd days off that I had to pay for. She wouldn't take my child with a runny nose as he could pass it on to the others but then half the time they all had it as well. She said that she thought they were too ill. You can imagine in the Winter me being off work alot which my Boss wasn't too pleased about. I had to pay if Jamie was off sick but I didn't get paid for being off work. I had to pay £1.00 extra a day for dinners if that is what I wanted which doesn't sound like much but when you are paying all that anyway it adds up. I ended up sending the food round as he didn't like her dinners. Mainly because cooking for loads of others it is quite easy to just have chips all the time which he got bored of he is a vegetable lover! Now don't get me wrong I know that Childminders work hard and are really good with kids. But we as mothers need to feel it is worth us leaving our precious children and going back to work. After all how many of us really want to? If we find we have not much left after paying a childminder what is the point. And the Government are encouraging this? Why should we pay them for their sick when we don't get paid. Or most of us don't. Why should we pay for the children being off or their holidays when ours also have to be paid for?? It starts to get ridiculous. When I had my second child I found
                                  it just wasn't worth me going back to work and paying £200 a week! Plus all of the other silly bits that go with it so I just gave up work. I have considered childminding myself because looking after just one child would give me a good wage! My conclusion is that we need childminders and the environment with which they provide. They are very good and the kids feel more at home in a house but they must realise they are shooting themselves in the foot. They need to calm down with these price increases. And the charge should go on how long you have been a childminder. The one I had was £2.00 an hour and she had been doing it sixteen years. Another I phoned was a first time Mum of four months and a brand new childminder. She was charging £2.50 an hour. I am not against these people starting up as they have to do a course I know. She was probably a very good mother but she was still on her own learning curve. As all new mothers are. It was the first teething, first this first that. So how could she be prepared for my son who was just over a year and his firsts! You have to be one step ahead of them!!!!!!!! UPDATE: I have been for the past couple of months looking after two children. A one year old and a five year old. My friend was given one weeks notice by the childminder who was giving it all up and moving. She was not even aware that this might happen as the childminder did not even have the decency to tell her the house was for sale. However, this is not against childminders just this one in particular that felt the need to keep such a secret and mess with peoples lives. My friend was unable to find someone at such short notice who would have both the girls and go to the eldests school. I said that I would do it temporarlily until she found someone which she has now done and this will be my last week. I have loved having the girls. I know now how hard childminders work because having these t
                                  wo on top of my own two was hard going. However, I still stand by my original statement that the prices charged by some childminders are ridiculously high. My friend has visited many childminders and been given various prices. One lady wanted to charge her nearly £1000 a month for the two of them even though one was part time. I can understand in the holidays that the price might be higher but £1000 is still a lot of money to pay out of the average wage. She has finally found another childminder that is charging £750 a month. £250 more than her previous childminder was charging. She has now got to find the money elsewhere and is asking for a pay rise etc. She is not so sure that she will get it though. What is the point in her working spending all day away from her kids 7am until 6.30pm by the time she has travelled into London to work and back. She is missing out on so much and paying so much for the priviledge. She is not entitled to help from the government as she earns just over the limit set by them. Others who are just under this limit, get upto 70% paid towards their childcare costs. She was told when she complained to the council dept responsible for registering childminders. "Would you work for £2.00 an hour" The thing is if you worked it out she and most people probably do. She is in charge 20 members of staff as a supervisor. She doesn't get £2.00 an hour per member of staff it is a set amount for the lot. So if the childminders have two of your kids how can they charge £2.50 each child and say that they are being done out of money??? It makes you think. Please all of you childminders out there I am not having a go at all of you just those who feel the need to put their prices up so much. I know you work hard. I have been doing it. But you also get the priviledge of staying in your own home whilst you work.

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