This is an article that I originally wrote for “childcare Expo.”
I worked as a registered child minder for 14 very happy years; in all that time, I only ‘went sick’ once. This was because I had a bad stomach upset and there was no way that I could have looked after children (not that I would have; because of the risk of passing the bug onto them) I had no other choice but to phone the parent. Luckily; on this particular day I unusually only had one child booked and explained my situation. The parent was very understanding and said she would take a days holiday from work.
I was a member of the local child minding network; Devon child minding association (DMCA) and knew of other child minders in the area; one, in particular lived about a mile from me. We often got together with our little ones so all the children knew each other and both of us which meant that she was my named child minder in case of an emergency and, I was hers.
Being in such a group of other child minders could work in that; with consent from the parent, a child minder could pass on details for parents to ask in the case of their child minder being ill. This would depend on the new minder having a space for an extra child of course.
I had 4 children of my own; who were also sometimes sick. If one of them just had a mild cold but didn’t feel up to attending school, I would phone the child minding parents and explain what was happening and I would then offer them the choice of either sending their child as usual; or keep them away. I must say, most still sent them! I wouldn’t have given them this choice for a more serious illness, as part of being a responsible child minder is to keep children safe and to prevent spreading infectious illnesses.
Another scenario to be aware of is when a parent sends a sick child to their child minder without mentioning that the child are ill. I recall one particular occasion when this happened. A child of about 18 months arrived with her mum; I did mention, at the time that the child looked a little pale, but her mother dismissed this telling me she was only teething. An hour or so later when I changed the child’s nappy; it was clear that she wasn’t well and as she had quite a sore looking bottom. I suspected this wasn’t the first time it had happened. I rang the parent and requested that she collected her daughter as she was unwell. She did this; but unfortunately the damage had already been done. I came down with this bug a few days later meaning I couldn’t work. My Husband then caught the bug; so he couldn’t work either (he was self employed also, so didn’t get paid for being off sick) Then each of my boys came down with it in turn; meaning that again I had to turn child minded children away.
I learnt from this experience and made it quite clear to parents at the first interview that I don’t allow sick children in my care.
Ironically, I had to give up child minding ten years ago due to ill health ( a lot more serious than an upset stomach) Below is a photo of me now; reading a story to my Grandchildren.
As always; any comments or questions are most welcome.