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02/03/2014 at 21:41
We plan to visit a couple of nurseries and talk to a childminder next week as a first look at our options. We probably need some child care (maybe a day a week) from September (baby 5 months) and then approx 2.5 days a week (varying between 1 and 4 shifts a week) from November.
We can't afford child care in our own home at this stage, though it's my ideal, so for now we're looking at nursery or childminder. We're aware, though, that because of shift patterns resulting in varying requirement (8 week rota) that some may rule us out from the off.
Do you use one/both of these options for your childcare? What are the pro's/con's for you/your little one/your family?
Thanks for any pointers at all! :)
02/03/2014 at 21:59
I think you will really struggle with getting either a nursery or a cjildminder to allow you to vary your days weekly? You may have to pay for the four days per week even if you dont send baby all four days, as they will have to keep that slot open for baby for the days it is in iyswim? Just...be prepared.
02/03/2014 at 22:02
Yeah, I know, I thought that. Two nurseries say they're used to dealing with shift patterns and say we should go in and chat before we rule anything out. But I'm wary that it could end up with them saying they can't help.
02/03/2014 at 22:11
Hopefully they'll have spaces that fit with other parents shift patterns then.
For us, we chose nursery as if childminder is sick or holiday etc you'll have to cover those days, this isn't an issue with nursery. Plus M has majorly benefited from the social interaction, routines and time with her peers at nursery....eg I'm sure she toilet trained when she did because of seeing peers using toilet (she'd moved to the next room in nursery a few weeks beforehand and binned her nappy one morning in nursery and took herself to toilet.) She eats better at nursery etc too. A nursery baby will be with children of their age group,that's not necessarily the case with a childminder.
There were loads of advantages for us, but it's all personal choice in how you prefer to parent I think. For me M interacting with her peers was major and I wasn't fussed for that "home environment" of a childminder
02/03/2014 at 23:36
I would have thought a childminder might have more flexibility - I struggle to see how a nursery could accommodate you except by making you pay for the 4 days, as they are likely to want to hire staff on fixed patterns, but perhaps they might have a staff member open to this. On the other hand there are some childminders who don't need the 'security' of a regular income and don't need to be full to capacity, so might be quite happy to work with a shift pattern.
We were quite set on a childminder but the one I had my heart set on got booked up (should have snapped her up early!!) so we visited a nursery and loved it (and still do). I think a lot depends on your child, I could see A getting bored with a childminder potentially as he hates to be cooped up at home and prefers being able to interact with other small children in different 'rooms' (i.e. we can't stay in the living room all day) - some childminders could accommodate this of course, but the nursery is great for him as it has four rooms and outdoor space where he can freely roam. There's also a cook, and a cleaner, so the staff can just get on with playing and interacting with the children.
I do think for very small children a childminder is usually better, but not always. Our nursery doesn't take children under 1, but plenty do. The only thing I'd change about the nursery is that the key worker isn't *always* there like a CM would be... but she almost always is, which is good enough, and A is very used to a variety of adults as he has me, sees his dad, and sees both sets of grandparents every weekend.
03/03/2014 at 02:26
03/03/2014 at 04:08
03/03/2014 at 06:13
I would've thought a childminder would be more flexible than a nursery but it's definitely worth chatting to the two nurseries who said not to rule anything out.
We chose a nursery for F for similar reasons to what Weekender mentioned. We liked the idea idea of him being in that sort of environment with the routines, etc similar to what it might be like when he starts school. I didn't want him to go straight from a home environment to school and feel overwhelmed by it all. We also just really really liked this particular nursery and knew straight away that's where we wanted him to go.
03/03/2014 at 08:04
03/03/2014 at 08:17
Hi counter no experience if childminders but I am also a shift worker, the nursery I have a place for my LO just needs 8 weeks notice and they will change his days. I know lots of nannies and they will only do set days as they usually work for more than one family, they know some that are that flexible but it's usually because they bring their own children with them.
03/03/2014 at 08:40
03/03/2014 at 11:49
Thank you ladies, really useful stuff!
I've got nowhere looking out a part-time nanny, that was my preferred option. We're not from a large town and the ones I have found using websites to advertise are set with key hours they are looking to fill because of the commitments to another family they have already, or their own children. I will keep revisiting though.
I wondered whether CM was best for a small one, then maybe start introducing nursery once more mobile. Pleased to see that some MDers have childcare that do allow a variation. We know all hubby's shifts 'for ever' as it were, or until the structure of his function changes, so we can give plenty of notice. Maybe that might count in our favour, fingers crossed.
03/03/2014 at 21:28
I was convinced that I wanted my daughter to go to a childminder but once I started looking I feel in love with a nursery, love the environment & all the different things for her to do. The childminders that I met with did school runs so lots of in & out of the car. Also my nursery do a great deal for teachers and so I don't have to pay half terms or August. Definitely look round lots before making a decision & hopefully you'll have a few to choose from even with your shifts
03/03/2014 at 21:36
We did find a nursery that could work with my shifts, and I don't get as much notice as you, but the reason it worked as it is a nursery and creche facility for the gym, so there is flexibility in their staffing levels. That was the only one we could find that would do it.
We chose a nursery for Zoe and will be doing the same for Orla. I wanted them to have the socialisation aspect of there being lots of children and also I wanted it to be very distinct from a home environment.
04/03/2014 at 13:20
We used a nursery because I thought there was less chance of problems with a child minder calling in sick. However, many of my friends used childminders and didn't have any problems. Both nurseries and childminders can offer benefits to the child, I don't think that you can say that one is better than the other. You just need to find the one that works for you.
My daughter loved the social aspect of nursery and really thrived there. However, they can be busy places so that doesn't suit some children. My friend's little girl wouldn't settle at her nursery at all and in the end was removed from it and her mum very kindly stepped in to provide the child care.
My daughter's nursery could be flexible and I know that some parents would place their children there for an extra session to fit around shifts or changing patterns. Depends whether the nursery has places, of course. She went when she was just under a year old.
Some childminders will work around shift patterns, but again it will depend on whether they have space and their other commitments.
13/03/2014 at 11:13
The thread was really helpful, thanks! I went in assuming I would be biased towards CMs for a quiet, home-like environment. So far I have spoken to 2 CMs but not visited. We narrowed down nurseries within a 15-20 min journey and only 3 would consider the moving shift pattern. One we visited I couldn't take to (cleanliness, high turnover of staff, appearance of a lack of organisation). Another one was a lot further out, nearer to my work (but 7.5 miles from home), and I/we loved it. I liked how open and welcoming the staff were, a real mix of ages. The group leader was brimming over with enthusiasm (without being annoying lol). I love that they put the toddlers in wet suits and wellies and go jumping in puddles and kicking leaves etc. The babies were joining in (from a comfy sofa at the side) with the toddlers singing games. When we arrived the toddlers were sat being good for their stickers for being so fast at tidying up after messy play. The decor was friendly, clean and simple and it felt lovely.
I think it triggered in me a reminder that I *want* my child to mix with the other little ones. Home will be very much family-orientated and due to work/shifts etc contact with other children will be very limited. They have a PAYG policy so I can always - space permitting - drop little one for an hour or two if there's an important work meeting on a day off, and building up slowly will be easier on this basis. I was ready to sign up there and then!
We will still see a couple of childminders but I was thrilled to find something that we both really liked (albeit not the best location, but that's secondary). :)
13/03/2014 at 12:46
Counter that sounds like a lovely nursery and its great to find one that can fit around your working patterns as well.
13/03/2014 at 13:40
Counter, that place sounds perfect for you. I was similar, I wanted M to mix with other children, and she learns so much from mixing with her peers. Her nursery have a fab garden and they are out there as much as possible in wetsuits if needed. In fact we were asked yesterday to get this years suncream because they were basically out playing all day yesterday, only going in for meals. The staff are lovely too and low turnover which is great x
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