No matter how long you are on maternity leave, at some point the question arises who will take care of your child when you go back to your job? Many parents opt for a childminder. The idea of one person addressing your child’s needs, rather than a team, gives new parents a sense of family. We have put together five questions for you that you should ask your potential childminder.
What do you do with the children when the weather is bad?
Full of euphoria, many childminders tell you what they like to do with the children in summer: visits to the farm, swimming in the outdoor pool, trips to the playground, etc. An essential question should therefore be which activities your childminder plans when the weather is bad. Answers should not contain the words “television” and “video games.”
It is important to many parents that their offspring can get some fresh air even when the weather is bad and therefore opt for a childminder who will at least take the children out into the garden in all weathers.
If you prefer to see your little darling in the warmth, you might want to hear that the future childminder likes to do handicrafts or take the children to the museum. Parents who send their children to childminders often say: “My child has such a great time there because he does so much more there than we could ever do at home. I wouldn’t have that many ideas.”
The question of how far children are allowed to have a say in what activities are done could also be added here.
What are the rules of conduct in your house?
The answer to this question tells you much more than the code of conduct itself. You should therefore listen carefully to the order in which your counterpart gives you the answers. Taking off your shoes in the hall might be important, but should that be the first thought your future childminder has when asking this question?
How is the adjustment period?
A fundamental question for you and your child to know what might be in store for you in the next few weeks.
Can you offer a replacement if you are on holiday/sick?
A pragmatic question, but a very important one. After all, you step back into the obligation of being present at your workplace. With a childminder, you run the risk of having to stay at home, not only when your child is ill, but also when the childcare fails. If you have no alternative yourself (grandparents, aunts, uncles,…) it is important to note what options are available if the childminder is unable to attend.
If the childminder offers a substitute, should you also ask how you and your child can get to know this substitute? Because you will certainly not want your child to be left alone with a person who is a complete stranger to you and him.
Who takes care of my child?
At first glance, this question seems irrelevant. You pay the childminder, so you assume that she will take care of your child. However, this does not have to be the case over the entire period. It can happen that the childminder takes the older children to school while the smaller ones stay at home with their husband, for example. “It’s only a few minutes,” might be added. How long the supervision is transferred to another person is not decisive, but the question: Do you agree to this?
Your gut feeling is important
Before the interview, think about what answers you expect from the right childminder for your child and listen to your gut feeling. How the answers are worded is at least as important as the answer itself. Does the person you are talking to squirm in the conversation and is the conversation obviously uncomfortable for him or do the questions come out naturally and is the childminder happy about your lively questions?
If you have even the slightest doubt after the interview, it is better to look for another childminder.
Photo credit: Robert Kneschke, antoniodiaz /shutterstock.com