Long days at nursery?

(78 Posts)
extracrunchy Fri 27-Sep-13 00:33:37

So DS is going to start a new nursery in the next few weeks as he's 2.5 and would benefit developmentally and I'm expecting DD very soon.

He currently goes 3 mornings a week to a (turns out) crappy playgroup where he just hangs around doing the same stuff till I pick him up and I want him to actually get something out of being there or he may as well be at home doing boring stuff with knackered me!

Anyway, new place is amazing, lovely staff, lots of attention to individual kids and development, getting them to try new things - basically everything lacking at the old one BUT policy is they have to attend full days, 8 hours, apparently to get the most out of the curriculum (and the owner actively encouraged me to try elsewhere if I was uncomfortable, so I don't think it's a money making thing).

I'm a bit sad at the prospect of him going elsewhere for entire days (probably 2 a week) when all I really wanted was a bit of time with DD and some rest. But I know lots of kids go 5 days a week very happily! I guess I feel a bit guilty when really I could just have him at home, but he would almost definitely have less fun if I did...

Someone reassure me I wouldn't be doing something unnecessary by opting in! I mean he would benefit, right..? And is an 8 hour day (maybe 7 at a push) when I don't need him looked after by someone else for the whole day just copping out as a parent??? And how do you think 2 full days, probably thurs and fri (so big chunk away and big chunk at home) will impact in terms of settling in/adjusting longterm?

Thanks smile

extracrunchy Fri 27-Sep-13 11:45:39

Actually, there is a generally more Euro approach - the couple who run it are Danish and said full days are the norm there...

extracrunchy Fri 27-Sep-13 11:46:27

Oh also yes they get a nap (Whether DS would comply is another matter entirely!)

ksrwr Fri 27-Sep-13 11:53:58

personally i would say try it. it obviously works for some children, so maybe it will work for yours?
try a month and see how you get on.

i wouldn't feel guilty about sending him there, you're doing him a great service by giving him access to lots of little friends and new experiences. he may well absolutely love it, and come home utterly exhausted and full of stories about what he's been up to.

daimbardiva Fri 27-Sep-13 12:20:47

My 2 year old goes to nursery 3 days a week for 9 hours while I'm at work. She is happy there and has fun but the principal reason she's there is for childcare not education. My son went to nursery at the same age for 2 full days ecen though I was on maternity leave at the time, because he loved it and it gave me some time with the baby. But the decisions were always made for our family reasons - nursery has always been arranged around our needs. Even when the funded places start at3 it's common for children to only attend in mornings or afternoons so what your prospective nursery is suggesting is unusual.

If you don't feel comfortable and it's not what you want or need don't do it.

Fwiw our nursery were happy for us to start w one day a week or whatever suited - both our kids started on obe day a week and were fine

magicstars Fri 27-Sep-13 12:29:46

Why not give it a go. Could you drop him off an hour late and pick him up an hour early? That way you aren't missing out on a whole half day's money but he's not having such a super long day there.

PetiteRaleuse Fri 27-Sep-13 12:54:01

They aren't going to be etaching his the times tables and how to read and write. What they mean by curriculum is that the day will include structured activities as well as free play. For example, in my toddler's group the day goes like this:

8h30 she arrives and has a snack.
8h45 she goes into the soft play area where they are either let loose on the slide or in the ball pool or music is put on for dancing
This is followed by free play until 10h. At 10h there are structured activities for one hour. Examples in the last month are messing about with musical instruments, learning songs, various messy art work, gym type activities in the garden, story time. A lot of the time the art or stories or songs will be based on a theme, such as autumn. Learning through play about the seasons for example is curriculum. It is planned, structured but is age specific.
At 11h15 they eat, then free play, then nap. After nap they are divided into groups and there are more structured activities, often outside at the moment. A walk in the fields or woods, gardening. Or on rainy days more of the same type done in the morning. When I arrive at 5pm they have moved on to free play again.

Curriculum is a good thing. It means they're not just left to play all day, but instead are encouraged gently to be curious about the world around them, that the staff plan activities for the year ahead. Structure is good as it instils a sense of discipline. We're not talking strict classroom tasks.

I'd give it a go. I didn't need to put DD1 in nursery but it was a great break for both of us. She got and now gets again so much from the whole experience.

juneau Fri 27-Sep-13 13:04:56

I put both my DSs in two full days at nursery from the age of two and it's worked very well. Nurseries tend to offer a nap to DC under about three (and older, if they can sleep while others play), so it shouldn't be too exhausting. They've both benefited hugely from the blend of three days at home with me, two days at nursery, and two days as a family each week. Once your new baby arrives you'll be very grateful for the time to a) focus on her and b) have a bit of a rest yourself. Don't underestimate the exhaustion of a newborn baby and a toddler. Your DS will cope and he'll get lots of attention and stimulating activities at nursery - which you will probably struggle to provide once you're juggling two.

Hanginggardenofboobylon Fri 27-Sep-13 13:05:32

The curriculum will also include the Early Years letters and sounds program, which is based on learning through play.
My DS (3.5) goes 4 days a week 8-5 because I work, he has done so since he was 1. The day is similar to the one Petite outlines with free play alternating with structured activities.
Whilst I have little choice but to send him for so many hours, I do feel it has done him good.
Most 'day care' settings require a full day as you would struggle to fill certain sessions if sessional and they are commercial organisations. Pre-schools tend to be sessional but you would usually have to wait till he is three as that's when the funding kicks in that allows them to do so.

okthen Fri 27-Sep-13 13:10:49

I'd look for a childminder if you're not happy with two full days at nursery. Seems like a happy medium to me- and cheaper probably.

Oh and find one that can provide his 15 hours free once he turns 3. Not all CMs can.

And don't feel guilty whatever you choose!

extracrunchy Fri 27-Sep-13 13:11:38

You petite and hanging - those are the things I feel he's lacking at his current setting, and he would definitely benefit.

I've asked the new place for an outline of an average day's routine so I can gauge when would be reasonable to drop off and pick up without missing structured activities and outings. I guess we'll take it from there!

Hanginggardenofboobylon Fri 27-Sep-13 13:34:00

Often the kids have breakfast between 8-9 and then 'tea' at about 4:20 so perhaps you could drop him off at 9 (lots of parents drop off after the school run) and then pick up before tea which would be more like pre-school hours.
Even when I could pick up my DS early I don't because I like him to have his 'tea' there and don't want to upset the lovely routine he is in and frankly he moans when I pick him up as he wants to stay with his friends.

NotCitrus Fri 27-Sep-13 13:52:00

I think it would be fine, but would wonder about a rigid attitude. Ds went 3 days a week, 8.15 to 6, and loved it - having 'home day' or 'nursery day' prevented complaints of having to go home while still having fun (partly...) But the key thing for nursery was that I was paying for 8-6 - if I wanted to drop him off after breakfast instead of before, or collect early, that was fine too - though main activity went on till 4, then another till 5, so they suggested getting there just after 4 or after 5.

Really helped when dc2 was born!

TreeFuMom Fri 27-Sep-13 14:00:30

You say that their motivation for insisting on 8 hour days is not financial, but I would question that.

The cynic in me says that they are insisting on 8 hour days not for the benefit of the child, but to maximise the revenue that they are getting from each child.

OneLittleToddleTerror Fri 27-Sep-13 14:03:47

petite basically described my DD's nursery day. I think another reason not to pick up and drop off at random times is that the child might feel like they've missed out on some fun? Like if they are having a story, or bouncing on the bouncy castle?

MissStrawberry Fri 27-Sep-13 14:05:50

He won't miss out if he doesn't go at all.

When DD had to move from playschool to a nursery she had to do three sessions even though I wanted just two. She did 8-1pm.

She didn't need to go at all as I wasn't working.

I appreciated her going as I had a baby at home so got an easier time, no doubt about it, but when I realised she hadn't settled at playschool I removed her and when nursery had too many changes I removed her from there again.

In my opinion there is only a problem with sending your child somewhere more than you need the care for when they are not happy, safe, settled or thriving.

jessieagain Fri 27-Sep-13 23:11:02

Hi op
My son started 2 days a week at nursery when he was 2 and he has been going a couple of months now. He settled in well and we are really happy with it smile It was the first time he was away from me and dp ever and we didnt find he struggled with full days at all. He eats and naps really well there.

His nursery strongly encourages all parents send their children (at least) between 9 and 3 to minimise disruption to the routine. And I agree with this, as I think having parents dropping off/picking up all through the day would be disruptive and unsettling.

When he first started I was just a sahm and used to pick him up at 3. He usually had just woken up from his nap and had just had a snack/milk so hadn't had much of a chance to play in the afternoon. Now I'm doing some temp work so pick him up later and I haven't noticed a difference in him being there longer days.

My DD goes to nursery for 4 x 8 hour days and 1 x 4.5 hour days. She used to do 4 x 9.5 hours. 8 hours works really well for us. There is time for us to go to the playground before dinner and have a comfortable end to the day rather than a rush home and then to bed. 8 hours doesn't seem like a long day to me and the mixture of activities they do means that it probably flies by for the children too. At DD's nursery they encourage you not to collect before 3 pm as it interrupts their planned afternoon activities (not sure what they are, but the day has a very clear structure).

You may find that they also like to have 8 hour days as they want to be able to employ staff for 8 hours each day. I think that DD's current nursery is able to get great staff as a result of them not having to work shifts to cover longer days and also not being open in the holidays, so staff with school aged children are attracted to the nursery. So they get the pick of the staff locally.

I'd split the days so as not to leave such a long gap between nursery sessions and to give your DS time to rest between them.

He will have fun at nursery - so you really don't need to feel guilty. And if it doesn't work out you can just take him back out again. Will he have time to settle in before your DD arrives?

jessieagain Fri 27-Sep-13 23:36:07

Ds also goes 2 days in a row and I can see the benefits. The second day flows easily on from the first. I can see how it would be more disruptive splitting the days. Also I think it would take longer to settle and get to know the routine, carers and other children if he was just going one day a week.

Coveredinweetabix Fri 27-Sep-13 23:38:20

8 hours is probably more for their convenience than yours as it means all of the children will turn up around the same time and be collected during the same time. In between this, they will have some structure to the day. Yes, there will be a lot of free play but there will also be times when they are hoping the DC will do X or Y activity (often making something) and they won't want you turning up in the middle of it. It also means its less disruptive for the other children (and easier for the staff) as they won't see your DC go home at lunchtime and start asking when their mum/dad is coming to collect them.
DD was 2.7 when DS was born and was doing 2 days in a nursery which was open from 8 - 6 (she actually did 8.30 - 4.30ish) and 2 mornings in a playgroup which was open from 9 - 12. I have to say I loved the days she was in nursery as I could actually do something whether it was go to the supermarket, to a baby group with DS or out to meet friends. With the 9 - 12 one, by the time I'd dropped her off and walked home it was almost 9.30, then DS would want a feed which would take at least 30 mins in the early days and then there was the great game of trying to get him to nap as, if he wasn't down by 10.15, he would be a nightmare as I had to wake him by 11.15 to change his nappy etc before walking to playgroup again. When I started weaning him, I actually arranged for DD to stay at playgroup for an actual hour as I just couldn't fit getting lunch into DS in the time allowed yet if I waited until I was home from having collected DD, DS would have worked himself into a right tizz as he was so hungry! I can defiitely see some avantages to an 8hr session.

BackforGood Fri 27-Sep-13 23:44:32

Obviously different if it were childcare for you to be able to work, but as you are looking for what's best for him, not what you have to do, for you, then I'd say 8 hours is too long.
Think about it, schools have the children for just over 6hrs and school children are a lot older than your little one.
I'd keep looking.

PetiteRaleuse Sat 28-Sep-13 00:26:43

So what if 8 hours suits them? That's because they plan activities? I'd worry more if they didn't worry about pick up and drop off times.

I a. Not allowed to drop mine off after about 9.30 without warning, can pick them up at lunch time if need be but they respectfully request that after the lunch break I leave it til 16h30. So that the children can make the most of the availabe activities.

If you go get your kid at 3m and they are in the middle of a painting group or gardening group, that's not great either. Today I went and got DD1 at 5 and waited until they had finished their races on the outside terrace.

I should just add here, OP, after all my posts, at the moment I am not working. Yes, my children are in almost ft (9-5 min) nursery care and I am at home . They are thriving far more than they were a few weeks ago. Does that make me a failure as a mum? Maybe, according to some on the thread, but I have chosen to give them the best opportunities i can.

I was crap when they were bith at home. Either one or the other with me would be fine, but bth drove us all up the walls. If you want to put onenin care, even for two days, even if some say you don't need to, if you think you do, or he does, then do it. You can't lose. If it doesn't work out then take him out. Bt give him a chance.

PetiteRaleuse Sat 28-Sep-13 00:28:06

backforgood schools do lessons. Nurseries do much more free play.

Splatt34 Sat 28-Sep-13 07:40:01

Not read the whole thread, sorry.

DD1 has done 2 full days at nursery (8-6) since she was 9 months old. She is nearly 3. She loves it. I normally work full time but I am currently on mat leave with DD2 (4 months). I am loving having the extra time with DD1 but I also love my Tuesday & Thursday for my sanity & so I can do things with DD2 without the demanding whirlwind which is DD1.

TiredyCustards Sat 28-Sep-13 07:43:34

Goodness I hear this kind of thing so much. Why do nurseries think it's ok to insist on dc going for longer than their parents are comfortable with?

Dd is 3.1 and loves a 6 hour session, but I think 8 wouldbe too much.

Snog Sat 28-Sep-13 07:48:55

The nursery argument for 8 hours is very obviously a purely financial one from their point of view dressed up as an educational one.
Their business is more profitable if they only book care for full days.
They are taking you for a mug to spin you this line imo shock

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