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  • FIRST POST
    hatsepsovet
    Pros and cons of being a childminder...
    • #1
    • 7th Feb 07, 2:04 PM
    Pros and cons of being a childminder... 7th Feb 07 at 2:04 PM
    I have 2 young kids (1 about to start school is Sep, the other one is 9 months). I work full time and so does my hubby. Neither of our jobs can be done on part-time basis. The kids are being looked after a childminder and this is costing us a fortune (245 per week for both of them and this is after a discount!!!).
    I am really starting to miss my kids (having spent few months with them while on maternity leave) and as we cannot survive just on my hubby's salary I was thinking of becoming a childminder. My thinking behind is that I get to spend time with my own kids while earn some money looking after another child/children at the same time.
    I was told I was a favourite auntie to my 7 nephews and nieces and all of my friends children who come to play in our house don't want to leave as they love being in our house so I think the kids would be happy to be looked after by me.

    So any experience/advice would be greatly appreciated...
    Thanks
    It's best to regret things you have done rather than those you have not...
Page 1
    • Jet
    • By Jet 7th Feb 07, 2:16 PM
    • 1,520 Posts
    • 974 Thanks
    Jet
    • #2
    • 7th Feb 07, 2:16 PM
    • #2
    • 7th Feb 07, 2:16 PM
    Advantages

    You've listed the main ones already....
    Get to spend time with your own children
    Get to earn money while being with your children in your own home.
    Less to pay out on travelling, lunches, work suits etc.

    Disadvantages
    Can be a V long day - sometimes 7am to 7pm or longer, although that is really up to you to choose.
    You have to make an allowance for wear and tear on your house.
    You have to deal with parents - some of which, can be over-protective, bad payers, or turn up late.
    Your children might not like having to "share" Mummy and their toys and you may find their behaviour is more difficult than normal.
    Other peoples children are brought up differently to yours and you may find some behaviours difficult to deal with.
    Lack of adult interaction can lead to loneliness.
    There is a certain amount of paperwork to complete for records and also tax returns.
    You may have to make alterations to your home.

    Can't think of anymore at the moment.

    Good luck with your decision.
  • Claire Jones
    • #3
    • 7th Feb 07, 2:22 PM
    • #3
    • 7th Feb 07, 2:22 PM
    I'm currently taking unit 1 of level 3 Diploma in home base child care which you need to become a childminder as a minimum. The course costs about £90 but mine is being paid for by the local council as a local inititive.

    I'm looking to start childminding once my little one is born (12weeks pregnant at the moment), you can have up to about 6 children under the age of 8/9ish. Only one can be under 12months with a max of 3 children under 5 (1 being the baby). On average childminders charge about £3 per child per hour but that does depend on the area you are in. Just bear in mind with childminding you become self employed and are therefore responsible for your own tax and NI. Also you need personal liability insurance by law. One thing we have been advised is to get paid from parents of children you childmind in advance as some have been known to wait a month before paying and then suddenly taking the child away leaving you with money owed and it being very difficult to get it.

    It will cost you more on your household bills, eg utilities, toilet rolls, food etc but you can offset your expenses against your tax return. But your working hours are more than likely going to be longer than present and you probably won't earn as much money but it will save you your current childminding costs and allow you to look after your own children.

    I'm thinking the same once mine is born as we can't afford for me not to be working but I currently work 25miles away from home so I would be quite a distance away from the child if I was needed urgently. Also with the costs of childcare it wouldn't be financially viable for me to pay someone else and still work full time myself. Sorry I've rambled a bit!!
  • june1970
    • #4
    • 7th Feb 07, 3:14 PM
    • #4
    • 7th Feb 07, 3:14 PM
    don't forget you have to count your own children in to the numbers and it will also depend on the size of your house how many kids you are allowed.

    Bad points
    Crap Pay
    Long hours
    You need business insurance on your car
    Bad payers
    can not rely on your wages
    LOTS OF PAPER WORK for ofsted
    your home is not your own
    increase in house insurance
    you need lots of equipment(Toys,highchairs,car seats plus many more things)


    to name but a few, that is why i am giving up this year after 11yrs.
    • skylight
    • By skylight 7th Feb 07, 3:21 PM
    • 10,424 Posts
    • 16,875 Thanks
    skylight
    • #5
    • 7th Feb 07, 3:21 PM
    • #5
    • 7th Feb 07, 3:21 PM
    When I was looking at childminders, many years ago, I expected to view the minders entire house. I know that my child was only going to be downstairs, but as I was entrusting this person to my littles ones life, I wanted to know all about her (not to the extent as what was under her bed, but do you see what I mean!?)

    One particular childminder went mental when I asked to see her whole house - obviously my daughter did not go there at all, but you do need to expect that some parents wont give a damn and others will be inquisitive and that may feel intrusive.
    • amandada
    • By amandada 7th Feb 07, 5:06 PM
    • 1,134 Posts
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    amandada
    • #6
    • 7th Feb 07, 5:06 PM
    • #6
    • 7th Feb 07, 5:06 PM
    I'd add that I have a wonderful childminder, and one of my main criteria when I was looking was that I didn't want a minder with young children of her own.

    The main reason being that if there's any issue with behaviour etc, there is going to be a natural bias towards one's own child, whether intentional or not, and if the minder's own child and my child are both upset/hurt, which one would she go to first? Not a criticism, just human nature.

    Having spoken to a lot of people I know, I know I'm not the only one with this viewpoint.

    Also, why should I knock my pan in so you can stay home with your kids!
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 7th Feb 07, 7:05 PM
    • 20,473 Posts
    • 34,119 Thanks
    Spendless
    • #7
    • 7th Feb 07, 7:05 PM
    • #7
    • 7th Feb 07, 7:05 PM
    I'm NOT a childminder, but know several people who are. The disadvantages I can see are

    Not having any time off from kids, when you're not looking after your own, you're looking after other peoples.

    One childminder I knew told me that her kids couldn't have anyone round for tea after school as she was upto her limit with the amount of children she looked after (don't know whether this would be true or not :confused: ).

    I also used to see a childminder with a minded child whilst her kids had swimming lessons due to hours worked by minded kids parents, so I'd say perhaps having work spill into what you would like to be family time (obviously depends on times you mind etc).

    Having to work around your family's lifestyle. I know of 2 childminders whose husband works nights whilst they mind (one on permanent nights). I have a hubby who works from home occassionally and I find it hard occuppying my own kids to not disturb him. (again depdends on lifestyle)



    The advantages I see are that
    You can earn money without putting your own kids in childcare and can be there for them when they are ill, school closes at short notice cos of burst pipe etc.
    • twink
    • By twink 7th Feb 07, 7:17 PM
    • 3,806 Posts
    • 26,264 Thanks
    twink
    • #8
    • 7th Feb 07, 7:17 PM
    • #8
    • 7th Feb 07, 7:17 PM
    i work in a special needs playgroup and do quite a lot of training, more and more now we see childminders attending too, so that might be something to bear in mind
  • hatsepsovet
    • #9
    • 7th Feb 07, 8:36 PM
    • #9
    • 7th Feb 07, 8:36 PM
    Thanks everyone for your replies. You have pointed out few things which I have not thought of.

    june 1970

    Crap Pay - I earn 280 p/w and 245 of this goes to the childminder, so even if I was to earn only 100 p/w I would feel quids in
    Long hours - I already get up at 6.30 am and don't get home until 6 pm so once again, I'm used to this
    You need business insurance on your car - this I will need to check out
    Bad payers - very good point
    can not rely on your wages - again, very valid point, but hopefully, this wouldn't happen and if it does, I could work in the evening temporarily until I the place would get filled. When I tried about 1 month ago to try to find a childminder I contacted at least 15 of them in my locality and all of them had no vacancies. This makes me think that demand for good childminders in my area is highLOTS OF PAPER WORK for ofsted
    your home is not your own - I can see where you're coming from but I would have to say that it's one of those things and just live with itincrease in house insurance
    you need lots of equipment(Toys,highchairs,car seats plus many more things) - I was hoping to use all of the items which I kept from when my kids were younger. Is that allowed?


    charlotte664
    When I was looking at childminders, many years ago, I expected to view the minders entire house. I know that my child was only going to be downstairs, but as I was entrusting this person to my littles ones life, I wanted to know all about her (not to the extent as what was under her bed, but do you see what I mean!?)
    I happen to be one of those parents that didn't need to see all of the house but would be quite happy a parent to inspect my house

    amandada
    I'd add that I have a wonderful childminder, and one of my main criteria when I was looking was that I didn't want a minder with young children of her own.

    The main reason being that if there's any issue with behaviour etc, there is going to be a natural bias towards one's own child, whether intentional or not, and if the minder's own child and my child are both upset/hurt, which one would she go to first? Not a criticism, just human nature.

    Having spoken to a lot of people I know, I know I'm not the only one with this viewpoint.

    I understand that but my current and my previous childminders both have young kids and I actually liked that because I knew that my kids had someone to play with which I think is important for their social skills development and it gives them a certain consistency. And they get on really really well.

    Also, why should I knock my pan in so you can stay home with your kids! - I really don't understand this remark. I am not thinking of becoming a childminder so I can have an easy life. I would be leaving a job which pays very well (but still not enought to pay for 2 kids in full time care and have plenty of money left over at the end of the month) to get paid rather poorly (please see other posts from other MSErs). In few years time when my youngest child would go to school and I would return to an office job I would very likey find it difficult to get employed in a well paid job but I think I am willing to take that chance. Furthermore looking after someone else's child is an enormous responsibility and not something to be taken ligthly
    It's best to regret things you have done rather than those you have not...
    • skylight
    • By skylight 7th Feb 07, 8:42 PM
    • 10,424 Posts
    • 16,875 Thanks
    skylight
    Also, why should I knock my pan in so you can stay home with your kids! - I really don't understand this remark. I am not thinking of becoming a childminder so I can have an easy life. I would be leaving a job which pays very well (but still not enought to pay for 2 kids in full time care
    and have plenty of money left over at the end of the month) to get paid rather poorly (please see other posts from other MSErs). In few years time when my youngest child would go to school and I would return to an office job I would very likey find it difficult to get employed in a well paid job but I think I am willing to take that chance. Furthermore looking after someone else's child is an enormous responsibility and not something to be taken ligthly


    I think that this was meant to be a tongue in cheek comment rather than a knock or slight upon your suggestion in anyway!
  • Tom Saunders
    total rubbish
    My wife is a childminder, we have two kids 7 & 4. I am a postie home by 1 most days, there is NO biase what so ever with our kids and if anything it goes the other way. This may be a fear of yours and perhaps some people are like that but I can guarantee you 100% we are nothing like that.


    I'd add that I have a wonderful childminder, and one of my main criteria when I was looking was that I didn't want a minder with young children of her own.

    The main reason being that if there's any issue with behaviour etc, there is going to be a natural bias towards one's own child, whether intentional or not, and if the minder's own child and my child are both upset/hurt, which one would she go to first? Not a criticism, just human nature.

    Having spoken to a lot of people I know, I know I'm not the only one with this viewpoint.

    Also, why should I knock my pan in so you can stay home with your kids!
    by amandada
    Last edited by Tom Saunders; 07-02-2007 at 9:12 PM.
  • Tom Saunders
    Crap pay = Nonsense.

    My wife charge £4 per hour, today she had 3 children for 9 hours each. If £108 for one day is crap pay then I'm on drugs.

    It is a wonderful job.

    All oour parents sign contracts, they ALL pay in advance by DD and all know if they don't pa then the kids don't play.

    My wife will earn approx £10,000 Gross this year and this will mean she nets approx £5,500. (Therefore no tax).

    She starts at 8, finsihes at 5 and doesn't work Friday, Saturday or sunday.

    I do all of her accounts and so long as you keep decent records of expenditure it's fairly straight forward. Today we had two under 1's a boy and girl (with speical permission from Ofsted), we also had a 18 month old, plus our two boys from 4pm.

    It's very rewarding, extremly upsetting when they leave to go to school and so long as your kids can handle sharing it's cool. Your house isn't your own but if she was out at work who would pick the kids up and make my dinner ?

    However starting a business can be difficult, people like to have references from previous parents and for this we are obviously lucky. I say we, I am a full time postman, it takes time to get it going but 2 years in I have to say it's the best move ever.
    Last edited by Tom Saunders; 07-02-2007 at 9:23 PM.
  • Tom Saunders
    Great job.
    Crap pay = Nonsense.

    My wife charge 4 per hour, today she had 3 children for 9 hours each. If 108 for one day is crap pay then I'm on drugs. It isn't this busy every day but that's only becuase she / we don't want it to be.

    It is a wonderful job.

    All oour parents sign contracts, they ALL pay in advance by DD and all know if they don't pa then the kids don't play.

    My wife will earn approx 10,000 Gross this year and this will mean she nets approx 5,500. (Therefore no tax).

    She starts at 8, finsihes at 5 and doesn't work Friday, Saturday or sunday.

    I do all of her accounts and so long as you keep decent records of expenditure it's fairly straight forward. Today we had two under 1's a boy and girl, we also had a 18 month old, plus our two boys from 4pm.

    It's very rewarding, extremly upsetting when they leave to go to school and so long as your kids can handle sharing it's cool. Your house isn't your own but if she was out at work who would pick the kids up and make my dinner ?

    However starting a business can be difficult, people like to have references from previous parents and for this we are obviously lucky. I say we, I am a full time postman, it takes time to get it going but 2 years in I have to say it's the best move ever.
    • troll35
    • By troll35 7th Feb 07, 9:36 PM
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    • 787 Thanks
    troll35
    I have been childminding for 12 years. Most of the ups and downs have been covered. My advise would be don't give up your current job until you have some children to care for. I think that those running the training for prospective childminders don't emphasize enough that despite the fact that there would appear to be a demand for childminding places in your area it can still take a while for your details to be passed to parents in need by the Childcare Information people.
    Trust your gut instincts - if a child comes on a visit and runs mayhem through your home he/she will no doubt get worse as they settle in. Just because you have a vacancy it doesn't mean that you have to accept anyone. Try and get children/parents through recommendation.
    Get yourself known at toddler groups. Not only can they be a good source of customer but they are also some welcome adult company in what can be a very demanding job.
    If you can put 20% of your income into a high interest account. This will mean you will have sufficient to cover any tax/NI when you fill in your tax return.
    Join the NCMA, they supply you with booklets that will help you keep on top of all your paperwork.
    The NCMA's home insurance is very good and competitively priced.
    Many car insurers don't charge any extra for business cover. Over the last few years we have had cover with Direct Line, Norwich Union and Esure and none have charged extra (Schedule clearly states for my business use). Other childminders I know have recommended the NCMA's car insurance.

    If you currently have a good childminder then don't be afraid to ask her advise (if you feel you can). I helped one of my parents throught the registration process. Whilst I knew I was losing the income from her I was lucky to have parents waiting for me to have places become available.

    Lastly I decide when and how much holiday I am taking at the beginning of each year (7 weeks). There is no negotiation, parents have at least 3 months notice of my holiday, which I view as ample time for them to make other arrangements. Most of my holiday is in school holidays so I can enjoy time with my son and husband.

    Good Luck, it can be the most rewarding of careers.
    I like to live in cloud cuckoo land
  • Tom Saunders
    The above is excellent advice.
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 7th Feb 07, 9:45 PM
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    • 34,119 Thanks
    Spendless
    "Also, why should I knock my pan in so you can stay home with your kids! - I really don't understand this remark".

    I don't understand what it 'means' either. What does the phrase 'knock my pan in' mean :confused: I've guessed what is being implied

    What I would say though is I've had a few different childminders say to me "I started this job as it was a way of earning whilst being at home with my kids, I had no wish to put mine in childcare"

    and I always think, don't tell me this when you are providing childcare, just tell me that you adore children and can't think of anything you'd enjoy more.

    The childminders that have said this to me, I've known for years, before they started minding, and perhaps they've just said this to me and not to prospective customers.
    • Rachie B
    • By Rachie B 7th Feb 07, 11:00 PM
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    • 5,329 Thanks
    Rachie B
    I am in the process of becoming a registered childminder,started the ICP course last week

    for me the biggest plus is being in control ,as you are self employed its you who sets fees,you can decide what activities / outings you will do ,what times you will / wont work til etc,what holidays you will take

    also of course being there for your own children is a big plus point

    downsides

    house maybe not being treated in the way you / your own children do house isnt you own lol
    the paperwork
    • kelloggs36
    • By kelloggs36 7th Feb 07, 11:38 PM
    • 7,452 Posts
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    kelloggs36
    It depends on demand a lot. I was a registered Childminder for 2 years before I went back to college to train to be a teacher. The problem I found was lack of work so the pay was totally crap. Some weeks were great when I was full, but often familes' circumstances change and despite having a contract, if they don't want to pay their notice, there isn't much you can do without the huge risk of losing out even more if you take it to small claims court. Other times were very lean, I had only a couple of children before and after school only and I was not earning very much at all.

    When I did it, I was assured that there was a shortage of childminders, but there was also a great shortage of children which cancelled any benefits out!!

    Ofsted inspect your home and look at the tiniest little things in the name of health and safety - mostly good, but they do get over zealous sometimes.
    • amandada
    • By amandada 8th Feb 07, 8:29 AM
    • 1,134 Posts
    • 1,201 Thanks
    amandada
    Also, why should I knock my pan in so you can stay home with your kids! - I really don't understand this remark. I am not thinking of becoming a childminder so I can have an easy life. I would be leaving a job which pays very well (but still not enought to pay for 2 kids in full time care
    and have plenty of money left over at the end of the month) to get paid rather poorly (please see other posts from other MSErs). In few years time when my youngest child would go to school and I would return to an office job I would very likey find it difficult to get employed in a well paid job but I think I am willing to take that chance. Furthermore looking after someone else's child is an enormous responsibility and not something to be taken ligthly


    I think that this was meant to be a tongue in cheek comment rather than a knock or slight upon your suggestion in anyway!
    by charlotte664

    EEK!! Yes it was meant to be tongue in cheek! I didn't reply last night as I was at work!

    What the OP said about an evening job-why not explore this further? I work evenings and nights so I'm at home in the day and dh is home at night when I go to work.
    To me it's the best of both worlds, I'm there during the day with my ds and for my dd coming in from school, but I can then go out to work at night for a bit of a break (yes work's a break these days!)

    I'd never belittle the work a childminder does-mine is worth her weight in gold, and she does a job which I could NEVER contemplate doing!
    • Rachie B
    • By Rachie B 8th Feb 07, 8:51 AM
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    • 5,329 Thanks
    Rachie B
    It depends on demand a lot. I was a registered Childminder for 2 years before I went back to college to train to be a teacher. The problem I found was lack of work so the pay was totally crap. Some weeks were great when I was full, but often familes' circumstances change and despite having a contract, if they don't want to pay their notice, there isn't much you can do without the huge risk of losing out even more if you take it to small claims court. Other times were very lean, I had only a couple of children before and after school only and I was not earning very much at all.

    When I did it, I was assured that there was a shortage of childminders, but there was also a great shortage of children which cancelled any benefits out!!

    Ofsted inspect your home and look at the tiniest little things in the name of health and safety - mostly good, but they do get over zealous sometimes.
    by kelloggs36
    yes you hear about that a lot

    People who are registered but cant get any children to look after !!!! It can take months before you have your first mindees

    Thats why its important you dont give up a job expecting to start childminding straight away and unfortunately it doesnt always happen like that
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