What is better for 11mo in nursery?

(41 Posts)
MisterSafetyCatchIsNotOn Sat 15-Jun-13 20:41:46

I have just got new dream job, hurray! However, it leaves me with childcare decisions to make and I wondered if anyone has any advice for me?

DS is 11 months old and we are planning to start him in nursery in a couple of weeks as I don't know anything about local childminders and those I have contacted are all full. We have found a nice local nursery, very big garden, good ofsted, low staff turnover etc. but I am still worried that he is young to spend long days in a nursery environment, especially as he has not spent much time at all away from us yet. He has had one afternoon with a friend that he knows quite well and a few evenings but he was mostly in bed then anyway.

My new employers have said they are very flexible about hours, it is a 2 day a week position but could be worked over 2 full days, 3 shorter days, 4 half days etc. There might even be some scope to do a few hours remotely. So what would be best for DS do you think? There is a long commute involved, about 1hr 20 minutes each way, so I was thinking that it would be better to get everything done in the 2 days and maximise my time with him, but that will leave him with very long days in nursery (about 10-11 hours, DH also has a long commute so can't pick him up earlier). 3 shorter days might be better but with the commute he would still be in for 7+ hours on each day so we couldn't go out or do anything else with the day and obviously it would then work out more expensive (with childcare + extra travel costs), although we can afford it if necessary.

So any thoughts? Better to have 3 full days at home with me and 2 long days in nursery or should I try to spread it out a bit? Thanks!

ReetPetit Sun 16-Jun-13 07:50:54

Personally i feel he is too young for nursery. I would try local childminders again - some may appear full on the list but not be or may have soneone leaving. Also not everyone is on the list...
If i had to put a baby in nursery, i would recommend 3 or even 4 shorter days. 2 such very long days would be awful for him imo.

Meringue33 Sun 16-Jun-13 07:54:16

That's a bit harsh Reet and not nice to hear for those of us going back to work soon. Are you a CM?

ReetPetit Sun 16-Jun-13 08:01:39

Yes but 20 yrs working in nurseries previously. You asked what would be best for your ds and thats my opinion - sorry if its not what you wahted to hear confused
Shortet days better even if more of them is my opinion for a baby.

CaptainJamesTKirk Sun 16-Jun-13 08:06:50

My DS went to nursery from 11 months. 3 full days 8-6 a week. The initial settling in period took about 2 weeks and we had tears when we left him but then he settled beautifully. He's now 3 and continues to love his nursery and the friends he made who also started as babies. He still has the same key worker and all but 2 of the staff (maternity leave) are still there.

There is always a cm good/nursery bad attitude. But I've always felt the complete opposite. I did not like the idea of leaving my child with a single stranger who also had other children to look after. IMO in nursery there are lots of staff looking out for each other and the children. Also I didn't like the idea that a childminder is an extension from home in that... They take the children out to do their shopping etc... I was not comfortable with a cm taking my child out lots with other children, the thought worried me.

That is all just my opinion. All I can say is that my DS did full days from 11 months and he remains a happy, well behaved little boy

CaptainJamesTKirk Sun 16-Jun-13 08:09:54

What I will say re: shorter days, my SIL did this and it worked less well in the sense that she found that they would get home from a half day at nursery and then not do much with the rest of their day. She'd clean, cook, shops etc... They'd play for a bit. But not really.

When she switched him to full days so she actually had full days off with her DS they enjoyed it so much better because they'd make plans to go places on their days off.

LastButOneSplash Sun 16-Jun-13 08:16:22

Can you change after a bit? I'd say start with several shorter days till he gets used to it, then change to 2/3 longer days. I started mine on longer days and have ended up shortening to enable him a longer settling in period.

Sheshelob Sun 16-Jun-13 08:22:46

I do half days, five days a week. DS been doing it for 5 months, since he was 14 months old. It works well for him, but is harder for me, as it means I often have to work in the evenings to play catch up. But it is lovely to have that time with him every day, as I know at some point I will be full time and miss out on all the playing.

I didn't like the idea of a CM - one adult, mixture of ages and in a private house. Nursery feels better for us.

Tincletoes Sun 16-Jun-13 08:39:39

Personally I'd do the 2 long days option. Why waste three hours of the day commuting for the extra day in the office?

Cliche I know but my DD started nursery doing three similarly long days at 10 months. She is now 20 months and genuinely loves it (runs down the path to get there, huge cuddles with workers there etc). For me the huge thing is the low staff turnover for stability - I love that my DD's key worker is the same one that my DS had five years ago.

Some nurseries are good, some aren't, and the same applies to childminders. It makes me quite cross when people say blanket things about any option of childcare as they don't know you, your child, or the actual options available to you.

The best thing about your situation is that your employer is flexible. That will be invaluable when you need to rearrange things because your baby is ill etc!

Good luck.

Themobstersknife Sun 16-Jun-13 08:50:18

Both my two girls have done full time at nursery from around 1 and have been fine. What might be worth thinking about though is what you would do when your child starts school. I know its a long way off but your employer may not be so flexible then, if you wanted to say switch to school hours. If you did want to do something like this, then more shorter days now might be the way to go.

Cravingdairy Sun 16-Jun-13 09:04:41

Mine did four 7 hour days a week from 7 months and has thrived. I would personally do three days rather than two long days but your baby will probably adapt fine to either.

RikeBider Sun 16-Jun-13 09:08:27

I'd do shorter days more often, at least to start with. It will make settling in easier for your baby and long days are very tiring/full on/overstimulating for babies.

YeahBuddy Sun 16-Jun-13 09:23:35

I would go for the two full days personally, it means you will actually get more time with your DS if you take the three/four days commute into account. My DTs have done 8am-6pm in nursery two days a week since they were 8 months old. In fact, I have just increased that to three full days now they are 19 months.

It is a Very good nursery though, they love being there and I have had no problems whatsoever - hopefully your experience will be the same!

PenelopeLane Sun 16-Jun-13 09:29:30

I'd go for fewer longer days. As someone said up thread, it's much nicer to have an entire day at home than shorter days as you can do more, especially activities. My ds has been at nursery 3 days a week from 11 months and has thrived there.

KatOD Sun 16-Jun-13 09:35:10

I'm with cravingdairy and my DD did 3d a week from 7mo, loves it and is extremely sociable (she's now 19mo). I spoke to many experienced childcare professionals before doing this and they gave very different PoVs to Reet (although she's obviously entitled to her own opinion based on her experience!).

2 long days will prob make her v tired and grumpy so I'd go with something in the middle (then you'll get more out of your days being a mum).

Good luck!

MagratGarlik Sun 16-Jun-13 09:39:51

My ds1 went to nursery for 2.5 days a week from 6 months old (we had no choice to wait longer, but that's another story). He was fine, loved nursery and when he started school was confident and academically ahead of his peers.

Ds2 went to a childminder first, as he had some additional needs which we were concerned would not be met in nursery. We were very unimpressed by his (Ofsted rated 'good') childminder, so switched him to nursery who were fabulous.

YDdraigGoch Sun 16-Jun-13 09:41:46

I'd go for the CM option too. I think it's much nicer for kids to be in a home environment, and if they can't be in their own home then someone else's is better than a nursery IMO.
Looking ahead, if you find a CM near where you live, they'll be able to help with the school run too, and after school care.
In my experience, they are also more flexible when it comes to helping out if you unexpectedly have to work late etc, and just generally nicer.
CMs are usually mums themselves, not youngsters with an NVQ in childcare, and that's worth a lot in my book.

Themobstersknife Sun 16-Jun-13 10:47:32

<sigh>
Shall we stop with the generalisations about nurseries please.

Tincletoes Sun 16-Jun-13 11:55:00

Why bother mobster, when it's obvious childminders are universally better than nurseries and the OP is clearly unable to look round and distinguish between good and poor providers?

Is the same basis that men love football and women are best at ironing, innit?

insancerre Sun 16-Jun-13 12:27:50

*In my experience, they are also more flexible when it comes to helping out if you unexpectedly have to work late etc, and just generally nicer.
CMs are usually mums themselves, not youngsters with an NVQ in childcare, and that's worth a lot in my book.*

<<sharp intake of breath>>

<<and breathes out again, a lot calmer>>

ReetPetit Sun 16-Jun-13 14:19:34

Kat - what was it all these experienced childcarers thought that i didn't?? Confused by that comment..

And incanserre - whats with the sharp intake of breath? YD is quite right that cms are normally.more flexiblw and more experienced, having chosem to do the job in the first place so they can stay home with their own kids...

insancerre Sun 16-Jun-13 14:51:51

Because it is a massive generalisation to say that just because you are a childminder then you are more experienced and more knowledgeable than someone working in a nursery.
Not every nursery worker is 18 with a NVQ and no children of their own.
And having children of your own in no way means that you automatically are going to be able to look after other people's children.
It is also a myth that nurseries are inflexible- most bend over backwards to help out their parents.
The sharp intake of breath is because I don't recognise the description of nurseries from this thread.

sleepdodger Sun 16-Jun-13 15:08:01

DS has been ft in nursery since 9mo I promise I'm not a monster mother simply someone who has no option other than to work ft...
He loves nursery, I have great faith in the one he goes to, the ethos environment tc matches my parenting at home
If you are happy he will be happy
Fwiw his speech and social interaction is better than his peers who do not attend
If I had your choice of flexi I would do 2 full days, otherwise the 3 or 4 part days can easily end up becoming full days before you know it, also some nurseries only offer full days do would cost you not only time with him but financially more
Congrats on the job, and the hours I honestly think youve struck work life balance gold grin (what do you do.....?)

RikeBider Sun 16-Jun-13 15:24:44

Crap nurseries might have lots of 18 year olds and trainees (cheap). The nursery by DSs went to had 3 women in the baby room - one a grandmother who had worked there for a decade+, one a mother with a degree in Early Years and another mother who has NVQ qualified and had previously been a CM. They were all 30+. In the rest of the nursery they had staff ranging from 20s to 50s, I can only think of one newly qualified 18 year old assistant, and several of the staff had degrees or were qualified teachers.

MisterSafetyCatchIsNotOn Sun 16-Jun-13 17:28:35

Thanks for all the replies, some really useful thoughts. Re childminders/nursery debate, I know some people feel strongly about leaving babies in nursery and honestly my preference was to find a great childminder, however I have not been able to do so and don't want to just pick any old childminder simply to avoid the nursery. As I said before the ones with excellent ratings are full and I don't know anyone who uses one near me so can't get any personal recommendations.

Reet, out of interest what is it in particular that you prefer with childminders over a nursery that can't be mitigated by a good nursery? It wasn't me that responded to your initial post by the way, I did ask and am happy to hear a range of opinions although it would be more useful if you could tell me why you feel that way so I can judge how it applies to our situation.

If it helps, the nursery we will use looks and feels very much like someone's home with loads of outdoor space, the baby room has only 5 or 6 babies in (although that could go up as high as 10) and the staff in there have both been there 10 years+ with no intention to leave (although of course I can't guarantee that). The nursery does have 2 young apprentices, but they work in the preschool rooms and even they have been there 2 years, all other staff have been there at least 4 years. They are also pretty flexible and will do extra hours when needed, although not past 6.30pm but I wouldn't want ds to be there that late anyway. I will keep my eyes open for a good childminder in case things at nursery don't work out, but really don't want to be rushed into using a mediocre one when there is a great nursery nearby.

I think whoever said that more short days at work might turn into longer days is probably right, I can easily see it turning into 3 almost full days as I do find it hard to leave work early! So I might start out with 2 days but see if I can negotiate a slightly later start (and see if DH can get home slightly early) to shorten the day a bit at least to begin with. If ds is struggling I can then move to 3 days a week (or a childminder) later on.

Sleepdodger, I know I am so lucky with this job! It's a finance manager position for a charity, a step up for me career-wise (as well as better pay!) which I wasn't expecting to find on a part time basis.

insancerre Sun 16-Jun-13 17:34:12

The nursery you have found sounds lovely- I would agree that a smaller baby room is better for the babies- and a maximum of 6 is about right.
All of the baby rooms I have worked in have all felt very homely- they are designed to be like that as is is the best environment for them.
Also, what happens if the childminder is ill or on holiday? At least with the nursery you can practically they will always be there.

TinyTear Mon 17-Jun-13 13:23:00

Daughter FT at nursery since she was 8 months and she is now 16 months. she loves it there, is happy, doesn't even wave goodbye when we drop her off as she is too pleased to see her friends/the staff.

I visited some childminders and they weren't for me. My daughter gets the home environment at home...

MummyOfSunbeam Wed 19-Jun-13 14:23:55

No experience to share OP but I am in a similar position - might be able to adjust hours and facing the same question! So I am reading with interest.

gameofmoans Thu 27-Jun-13 14:52:19

Another thing to consider in deciding about longer vs shorter days is your dc's nap times - I considered doing a half day at one point but realised that it would be around 2pm by the time I picked DS up which is smack in the middle of his afternoon nap (he can sleep as late as 3.30) so either I would need to pick him up early enough to have time to get him home for his nap or if not there's no point in picking him up until 3.30 as I don't want him woken up half way through his nap. Worth thinking about if your shorter day options could mean drop offs or pick ups at nap times.
Fwiw DS has been at nursery FT since 10 months and is thriving - he has settled in brilliantly, loves his keyworker, has a great routine and we couldn't be happier with his quality of care. I don't really get the whole CMs are superior to nurseries thing, I actually feel the opposite but that wasn't the purpose of the OP so I won't hijack the thread for that purpose as others have done...

MaryPoppinsBag Thu 27-Jun-13 16:43:04

Gameofmoans - you did hijack it though and entered into the CM v.s Nursery debate! wink

OP not sure what I'd do. 2 full days is an attractive option as it gives you 3 wonderful days with your DC.

No point in doing the CM v nursery debate if you've already decided on nursery. But can I offer my opinion as a CM who has worked in a nursery too ...

I think two long days are quite difficult for little ones, whether in a nursery or someone else's home. So 3 days might be better. Especially if you can drop off later and DH can pick up.

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Thu 27-Jun-13 16:54:17

I would start with 3 or 4 shorter days until he's more used to being left, then go to 2 long days if your work will allow this.

I think a good nursery is better than a mediocre childminder, but a good childminder is better than a good nursery. All you can do is pick the option that you feel happiest with.

gameofmoans Fri 28-Jun-13 10:14:30

Mary - I suppose I did, sorry OP! Did genuinely mean to just leave a bit of advice about nap times from my own experience though!

AliBingo Fri 28-Jun-13 11:46:05

My DD does 2 long days a week in nursery and its working really well, she loves it. She started at 7 months old and settled well.

notcitrus Fri 28-Jun-13 13:32:33

Both mine started nursery at 11mo, staff in baby room remember ds from 3 years earlier and two of them have adult children. The long days didn't seem to be an issue as the slightly tricky bit with dd was picking up, when she realised I'd been away. So from that perspective fewer long days better. Ds loved it from the outset.

I prefer split of either work or parenting, rather than working half days - but my commute is an hour including nursery dropoff. I might feel differently if it were shorter.

Mandy21 Fri 28-Jun-13 20:44:02

My experience for what its worth - DD started nursery at 12 months. Long days 9-5.30/5.45 but the Baby Room had a separate room with dedicated cots so once she was settled, she slept as well at nursery as she did at home.
In my view, it would be better to do 2 long days (providing your LO sleeps well). As others have said, maybe a couple of weeks doing 3 days to settle, but then 2 long days. A nursery will charge you for 3 days irrespective of whether you're collecting slighter earlier, you'll have 3 days commuting costs but still be paid the same as working 3 days. I'd much rather have 2 manic days at work, and an extra day in my PJs were your LO where you can relax, do things together, just generally relax and enjoy yourselves.

poopnscoop Wed 03-Jul-13 11:19:23

Go for the full days... less disruptive and less expensive for you and your child. A long day is what childminders and nurseries offer... and as long as you're happy (in your gut) re your nursery/cm choice then go for it. Your little one will be fine... as long as they're looked after well, they'll be happy... albeit tired.

There are some HUGE generalisations about childminders and nurseries made in this thread - not sure whether to laugh or despair..

NOT all childmnders are mums... some are
NOT all childminders are qualified.... many are
NOT all childmnders offer full days... many do
NOT all childmnders are flexible.... some are
NOT all nursery staff are young and inexperienced.. some are
NOT all nurseries are inflexible ... some are

Do your homework and see that there is a VAST array of experience/practice/qualifications in Early Years... and then make your choice smile

Leaving aside the nurseries v childminders bunfight for a moment - is it possible for your partner/husband to help out a little?

For example, I am out of the house by 7.15 3 days per week and in the office by 7.30. DH gets DD up, gives her breakfast and plays with her until he drops her off at nursery where she is working towards her first ASBO, naturally at 9am, and then he heads off to work. I pick DD up at 4.00 and have a couple of hours with her before bed. DH is back after bedtime, but he's had a lovely time with her in the morning. It's needed buy-in from both our employers but it really works for us.

For what it's worth, when DD started nursery at 11mos she'd not spent more than 3 hours away from me. She didn't bat an eyelid at her settling in sessions - she wasn't remotely upset. I was the one in tears! She's now 14mos, loves her keyperson to bits and pushed DH out of the nursery door the other day when she thought he might not be leaving grin

KnittedWaffle Fri 19-Jul-13 21:22:39

I have 3DC, two of whom attend nursery for 2 full days a week.
I will be returning to work when DC3 is 12 months old and he'll be attending for two full days too.
IME the full days are better.
The shorter days mean you are limited in what you can do in your time together and when I was doing mornings I felt like I was a rubbish mum and rubbish at my job because I never had enough time in one block to do either.
Ignore those who criticise nurseries - the one my DC attend is fantastic.

KnittedWaffle Fri 19-Jul-13 21:25:42

Oops posted too soon!
My DC had never been away from me for longer than a couple of hours (and I am of the AP persuasion) when they started nursery as I have no family nearby but they had a settling in period and my boss was pretty flexible. If your boss is too then there really shouldn't be a problem.

Good luck.

didireallysaythat Fri 19-Jul-13 21:36:53

Tough one. I think I'd try the 3 shorter days as in my limited (2 kids both been to nursery 9-6 from 11 weeks) experience sometimes (but not always!) babies who go less frequently to nursery find it harder to settle at first (less reputation of a routine). Is your nursery flexible about letting you change your sessions ? The popular ones here can't accommodate changes quickly as they fill to their maximum ratios.

aliceinapalace Fri 19-Jul-13 21:45:02

I would suggest it depends very much on your child's routine and naps. If they nap well and are usually up early a longer day might be best. If not then shorter days but more if them might be the answer at least till they get older. I have been a nursery nurse before becoming a childminder and would say you being happy, comfortable and able to trust those looking after your child when they are still very young is the most important thing!

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