When I was working as a registered child minder I had a few parents who came to see me to enquire about my child minding service, but were unsure or worried about using me instead of grand parents..
One such person was Heidi who said that her mum Lydia was keen to look after her 6 month old son, Michael, but Heidi was concerned that doing this would restrict her mother. We chatted for a while and then came up with a plan, which she was going to put to her mother, I would look after Michael for 3 days a week and Lydia could have him for the other 2. Heidi went away feeling confident that this would work and promised to let me know what her mum thought. She rang me the following day to say that her mother agreed it was a good idea and because she was so pleased she wanted to pay my fees for caring for Michael, as it meant she wasn’t going to be tied to a baby every day.
The arrangement worked extremely well, however, Heidi went on to have a second child and we continued with the same joint care, then one day I took the other children in my care to a toddler group session,Lydia was there with her grandchildren and when they saw me they seemed to forget who they were with and came to me for everything, could I take them to the toilet, put on painting aprons and so on. I didn’t mind really and as they were with their granny it meant that I wasn’t breaking my number ratio.
Another parent brought her mum along for the interview with me and the grand parent made it very clear that she didn’t think her grand son should be going to a child minder at all as she was quite capable of looking after him
Anyway the mum decided that her son WAS going to be spending time with me! When his mother wasn’t feeling well , she phoned me to say that the child’s grand mother would collect him for her. when granny arrived and attempted to put on Johnny’s coat, he was having none of it and screamed, she then took a big breath and said, “Could you put his coat on, please Karen?as he obviously prefers you” Later I had an apology from Johnny’s grand mother admitting how wrong she had been as Johnny really enjoyed his time with me.
Another scenario was when a young parent came to see me after getting a recommendation from a friend and said that her husband wanted his mum to take care of their daughter while they both at work, but she knew that if her mother-in-law had her child she would most likely be sat in front of the television for most of the time as the lady was getting older and didn’t venture out much. She knew from her friend that I did loads with the children and took them out most days, eventually we set up a similar arrangement to Michael’s keeping everyone happy.
There are pros and cons to using a child minder over family members and as everyone is different, parents have to do what they think is best for their child and other family, by having joint care the child gets the best of both worlds, in my opinion, time to socialise with other children while at the child minders home and quality time with grand parents
As well as sharing child care with a grand parent, or two I have also shared care of a child with other early years settings and another child minder.
Laura required 3 days a week but at the time I only had 2 that I could offer so she came to me for them
and went to another child minder for the third day later when the space became available she came to my setting for all the days, she is grown now and still refers to me as her second mum as I must have done something right’
As always questions/comments are welcome