Finding a good childminder can be a daunting task for a first time mum. When, you hear what’s happening with carers who look after vulnerable people, there are reasons to be seriously worried.
Worse, in the past, even before I became a mom myself, I saw quite a few videos about nannies who treat babies they were supposed to look after in such terrible way that make you wonder how could you trust anyone there?
So, finding a good carer is vital for your child development.
Why a childminder as I am a stay-at-home mom?
As you probably already know I am a stay at home mom. I know what you are thinking, so why do I need a childminder then?
There are several reason for that…
First, I needed my son to be more sociable. He is very attached to me and I thought I was not helping him at all. When we first started going to play groups, he would grab my leg preventing me to move too much. Also, once seated for the activities, he wanted to stay only on my lap. His behavior went on like that for several months. So, I thought that something needed to be done.
Also, for my own sanity, I needed to have some rest. And, most of the time, I couldn’t see the end of anything I was doing. Everything seemed to be on standby because I needed to joggle between looking after baby and the household.
Another reason was, I wanted my son to start being a bit more independent for his own benefit.
In addition, as I have planned to go back to work probably next year, I wanted him to get used to be looked after by somebody else.
And, I thought it will be too much stress to start a new job and being worried at the same time by Joshua who is trying to settling with his new environment.
Why child minding and not nursery?
Joshua has started going to a child minder at 18 months. I thought it was a good time to do so, even though he could have started at 12 months already.
I have to say that I was fortunate enough to be able to look after him for over his first year of life. I feel sad for some moms who wish they could have done the same. But they had no choice as they have to go back to work while their little one was just 3 months of age.
I’ve found it too tough for my son. I know I would have found the separation too hard to handle.
I have chosen to go with a childminder instead of nursery because in my opinion the transition is smoother like a home to home process.
For this range of age, I see nursery like a jungle. It is too much at once. I’ve imagined that my son would have had to deal first with the separation from me. In addition, I thought that he wouldn’t get all the attention he might need to since they have to deal with so many children at the same time.
What to look for to find a good childminder?
See them in action:
I live in a borough called Waltham Forest from London, UK. This area is full of families with young kids. So, they are a lot of childminders out there too.
The first time I met the child minder who is currently looking after my son was at a playgroup. The funny thing is, at that time, I didn’t even know that my son would be with a childminder. Frankly, I didn’t even know this term. I was searching for option such as having a nanny coming at home or probably a nursery. But, as mentioned earlier, the latter was not my favorite one at all.
I saw how the lady was behaving with the children she was looking after (I thought she was just a nanny at that time). If my memory served me well, it was about 3 children. She was very kind, loving and caring. She made sure that the three of them participated in the activities. I watched her weeks after weeks. She had no idea I was scrutinizing her movement. Don’t worry, I am not a maniac…
One day, I finally approached her to ask about her role and that way I knew about child minding. I’ve learned to know her better and I was pleased by her attitude.
Luckily, by the time I wanted her to look after my son, she had one space available. For info, I don’t know how it is in the other countries, but here in the UK, a childminder can only cares for 3 children if they are under 5 years old.
Then the next criteria to look for a good childminder is the possibility to do settling in.
Settling in is when both mother and child spend a few hours at the childminder’s home so that they can get used to the environment.
Apparently, it is not all childminder who offer this option.
I was very fortunate to be able to come several time at her place so that my son could get used to her and her environment. He loved playing with the toys there.
So, you have to make sure that you and your child like the settings.
The following thing to ask if your child will be with other children.
Having other kids
In my opinion, the whole point of my son going to a childminder is to help him being more sociable. At least, that was one of my goals.
It makes perfect sense to have other kids to play with. He will feel less lonely. And, preferably, kids with more or less the same age so that they can interact.
There is a young boy just a few months younger than my son and they get along very well. They often giggle together.
So far, my son has been there for 4 months now and I can already see the progress in his development. He’s started understanding English a bit more. He’s even saying a few English words now. I would think he will be able to speak English first and then French. Even though he understands better French than English.
Also, flexibility can be a good criteria to consider.
Our childminder for our son offers normally one year contract but she was willing to offer just one month to see how my son will cope with his new environment. She was even willing to extend to another month in case of issues. But, thanks GOD, it went well. Then, we could go for one year contract.
For your information, a childminder has 4 weeks holidays paid by the parents.
Also, if you’ve decided to go on holidays, you still have to pay the person even if your child is off for holidays.
Once, we were travelling for a few days, I asked her whether she didn’t mind replacing the day to cover the missing one, she was fine to do it.
I was very grateful because she didn’t have to do it. I really appreciate that she made this effort.
Be on the safe side
Make sure that the childminder is registered and she is CRB checked (now called DBS checks).
My son’s child-minder is registered with Ofsted. So meaning, there are regular check and inspection to make sure that she follows the regulations.
Finally and not last, when looking for a good childminder remember to ask all your questions. And very importantly, you should trust your instinct when it comes to care for your little one.
Have you found a good child-minder? What was your experience?