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Will DD benefit from going to a nursery?(28 Posts)
I have a bit of a dilemma - not a life threatening one at all and not one that is bothering me too much but I'm thinking about it and I need some words of wisdom and want to hear of people's experience so I can make a decision. I am also aware that I'm extremely lucky to be in this situation and have a choice...
DD is 14 months old. She's great, active (nearly walking), eating well, interacts well with children and adults (I've gone to baby groups since she was 2 weeks old) and generally a content little baby (other than being v frustrated at not quite walking and her flaming teeth are doing my head, as well as hers )
We have the option of sending her to nursery. My DP works in education and he thinks she would benefit from a half day or day a week - to be away from me and learn in a different environment.
I see his point and to a degree, I agree that it might benefit her and also me as I can have a set time each week to do my work (I work from home, part time hours and fit them in around naps, evenings or if MIL helps out).
But I also feel guilty that I'd be sending her to someone else to care for, when I can do it myself.
I've also had a discussion this week with a friend who owns a nursery and she advised that it would benefit DD at this age. She advised that she could see the difference in children who have been to nursery, even just for a day, compared to those that haven't, by the time they go to pre-school. This is more or less what DP said too. With her being a summer baby (August), it is something that those in education look at in terms of progress etc.
I hope I'm making sense
So, we're in this brilliant position whereby we CAN afford to use childcare or not (I know this isn't a choice for some and I'm completely aware of that) but I just don't know what to do for the best of my DD.
Both my DC started nursery at 6m and were up to full time by 9m through necessity. I have observed the following...
- Neither have experienced separation anxiety or major crying upon being left as they got used to it from a very early age. Those who started at about the 1yr mark seemed to consistently struggle for several weeks or even months after joining, with heartbreaking goodbyes in the morning drops.
- Both of my children have been early in nearly all their major physical and non physical developments. I am not sure this is anything to do with being at nursery as equally I have seen children at nursery who have been with my DC since they started who are at the other end of the spectrum. Most of it comes down to the child I think.
- My son is not old enough to develop friendships yet, but certainly my daughter had little friends from before the age of 2, and by the age of 2 was regularly talking about her friends when not there.
- From quite young (18m maybe) my DD definitely showed an understanding of social rules, such as waiting her turn on the slide etc, which I am pretty sure she got from nursery. Often in the park or soft play she would react quite indignantly when another child pushed past and didn't follow these rules which always made me chuckle, at an 18m looking so miffed.
- Comparing DD to non nursery going friends children, her table manners were significantly better as they instil these at nursery from a fairly young age which made trips to restaurants a dream. I guess this is possible to achieve at home, just that I didn't see it happen in reality.
So while I think there is no real need developmentally to start a child at nursery at any particular age, I do think there are benefits of starting early, certainly for some children. A lot will come down to temprement and maybe I just got lucky that both of mine have thrived in that environment.
With regards having a break yourself, I personally think that is vital for every parent (we should be defined by more than just the parent label IMO) but then I was never cut out to be a SAHM so I am biased on that one.
My dd went to nursery for about five months when she was 1 and it was godawful for both of us - that was when I requalified as a CM so I could stay at home - now she's 3.5 and has just started pre-school. No tears, no long settling-in period, she just shoots off every morning and loves it. So I would say that being at home will not affect how ready they are for school/pre-school. When they're ready, they're ready.
LapineDeBois - in my experience (teacher), sending your child to a nursery doesn't make it school ready. School is very different. Some children who come from nursery are settling straight away in reception, others cry their hearts out for weeks on end. It all comes down to the individual child, how secure it feels, etc.
Interested to read this, as I'm deliberating myself at the moment. DS2 has just started at a lovely little nursery last week - he was two in August. He's been quite sad in his first two sessions, and I'm wondering whether it's too early. Like you, though, OP, I'm conscious that he's going to be going to school very young, and I want to make sure he's 'ready'. I think I'm going to try one more week and then make a decision about whether to persevere or pull him out and wait six months.
My groups of friends from Mum's group are split, some children go to nursery, some have a couple of days with grandparents per week and some (like my DS) are with SAHMs.
They are 2.
I can't say (from this small group of about 10) that there is any hugely discernable difference in levels of sociability, sharing etc between the various children. The children who attend nursery certainly aren't able to share better - although all of us do a lot of "social" stuff so I think they are kind of on a par. The only consistent thing running through is that those who don't go probably talked earlier - but this could be a total fluke, there are only 3 of them after all.
I toyed with sending DS once a week but kept putting it off until he would be reliably able to tell me if he liked it or not (which is probably now) and now I'm pregnant with No2, so don't feel like now is the right time for him to go.
So I would say, if you need the time, don't feel bad, it certainly won't do any harm, but equally it's probably not necessary at this stage.
Notti I think if you read my post correctly you'll find I said I found it boring. Not that it is boring. This is a highly individual thing. I love being with my DC but find I love it less when doing it 24/7. Frankly, I find doing anyhting 24/7 a bore. That's who I am.
The op has stated that she is finding the 24/7 SAHP thing a tad wearing. There is nothing to be ashamed of in that IMVHO. And nothing to feel guilty about should she use some child care to alleviate her feelings.
The idea that women (it's never men is it?) ought to love it and ought to feel guilty for not loving it should be erradictaed. The goal is for us all to be the parents we can be and for some of us that means leavening the bread.
Beela - I think there is a world of difference between a CM and nursery setting. I agree that a CM setting can help littlins benefit socially if they see the same other few children regularly and form one or two close friendships.
I believe nursery socialising is more about learning how to mix with a bigger circle of children and learn social 'rules' that allow for such a big mix of kids, which I personally don't think is 'needed' until a bit older and properly 'pre school'.
I don't think nursery with young children is necessarily a bad thing. I just don't think it's needed at 14 months.
I would be very disappointed if this very helpful thread would go towards 'being at home is boring' etc. It's not the point of the thread and has nothing to do with the OP's question.
I am a childminder and I don't find that spending all my days with little ones is boring. Not at all. Anyway, that's not the point.
I have looked after children who were taken out of nurseries because they couldn't settle in, but I also know a lot of children who blossom in a nursery environment. It depends on the child, and it depends on the nursery. I think that one half day a week might be tricky because your child might 'forget' about how it feels to be at nursery and might cry week on week. I would personally go for two half-days a week if you can.
I do not think for a second that it is a selfish decision. And you are not signing her in for lifetime anyway. Look at the contract of the nursery and see what their notice period is, or if you can decide to take your DS out during the settling in period, or if you can agree with them that you can try it for one month.
I disagree that they don't benefit from the social side until later on. My DS gets so excited when he sees his 'friend' from the CM, and talks about him (and the other children) during the rest of the week. Although we see other children the rest of the time, it is generally for an hour or two at a time. This is someone who he spends all day with, even though it is only once a week, and you can see that they have a close relationship.
If you are keen to go for a CM then maybe check again around now, spaces tend to come up in September as older children go to school.
I don't think it's selfish to do it for you, everyone needs some balance in their lives. Plus if you work while she is at nursery or CM and don't have to do it in the evening then you and DP can have some more time together.
It does sound as though she is having a lovely time at home at the moment though!
I don't think it's selfish at all to want a break.
The idea that women should want nothing more than to be with their DC 24/7 is odd IMVHO. For those that do want that, then great, but they are not superior parents.
I think sometimes we have to be scrupulously honest wiht ourselves. For me, being a full time SAHP was boring. I was definitely a worse mother and wife for it. Those two days turned it all around for me .
Such lovely responses and experiences - thank you to all that have replied, it's nice to hear the other side.
I'm going to leave it for a couple of months as the reasons for doing it don't stack up for me (ie she'll benefit more). It is tempting to do it for me though; having read that theme throughout some of the posts - it would make more sense for me to get my work done whilst she's at nursery rather than 'squeezing' the hours in around naps/evenings, like nishky said, it would make my life less stressful if she went to nursery.
wordfactory - I relate to your post a lot about needing to recoup (and I only have one!) I think that is something that is making me feel guilty, that other people cope without nursery, work more hours, likely to be away from their home; yet I still would love a 'break' for half a morning a week because I'm practically a SAHM (albeit working 15 hours a week). When DD does go to MIL's, I get so much done (both work stuff and housework, admin etc) and feel refreshed (even though I'm working). Being child-centred 24/7 is full on, even though I love it, it can get a bit draining IYSWIM? Is that selfish?
niceupthedance - I would rather go with a CM but haven't found one around where I am, they're all full! I put an advert on childcare.co.uk a few months back when I thought I'd be working more hours than I am and didn't get any responses.
Bonsoir - we do fit quite a lot in during the week. I'm breastfeeding so go to two BF cafe's a week (and help as a volunteer too) and have just started going to a toddler group in a large village hall which she loves. Perhaps the park or swimming once a week too and I nip down the library once a month to change books; so plenty of activity and interaction which is my point to DP that I don't think she needs any more interaction or socialising.
We're moving house to a different area (only 5 mile away from where I am now) in January, so may look in to it a bit more then.
Once again, thank you for all being honest and not laughing at me - I was a bit nervous about the post as I didn't want to come across as selfish.
What ZuleikaD said
Going to a nursery doesn't mean she'll learn to share/take turns any better, DN is 4 this month and has been in a nursery four full days a week for more than two years but she doesn't play with other children in the nursery and refuses to share/take turns.
Personally, I think they benefit from about 2.5 - 3. At this age, they start playing together, rather than playing independently, so I think benefit from the whole social side of nursery.
If you are doing plenty at home, attending groups etc and getting out and about, then I think a 14 month old isn't losing out by not going to nursery, not at that age. TBH, I think they benefit from getting such a lot of one-on-one time.
If you want to, go for it, but I don't think it will necessarily mean a disadvantage for your dd to not go yet. I do think pre-school benefits them, but more, as I say, at 2.5 - 3.
My dd has been in nursery since she was 15mo. It has done her a power of good. She started on one day a week, and then on to two days.
When we moved to Oz we remained on two days a week for consistency, and she settled in really quickly, and loves it.
If it's to have a break whilst studying or such like, then do it.
She'll make little friends. After all, it is only one day a week.
Dd is 20mo and has been going to nursery two mornings a week since she was one. I'm really happy with this - like you I work part time from home, and it's much easier than working evenings/weekends. The nursery is teeny (fewer than 30 on roll), has a free-flow system, mixes babies with over-2s to start the day, at meals and for various activities, great food, garden, etc.
I think any SAHM of twins needs a break, that's for sure! Whether that is nursery or something else.
DS goes to a CM once a week and has done since 13 months (he is 2 next week!).
IMO he gets a lot out of it, and it varies his experiences.
I think it depends on the nursery, the child and also the SAHP.
My DC went for two days each week from one year old. It was a lovely environment, in a big old farm house with ducks and chicken and a cherry orchard.
My DC gained a lot. But part of that was to do with their personalities, the fact that they were twins and the type of nursery we used.
It also allowed me to be a more interested parent on the days I was with them. I found 24/7 with twins very tiresome. I found 24/7 child centred life very tiresome. The break I got on those two days really replenished me. I was able to throw myself into parenting with more verve . I do think the nursery and I complimented one another very well...we all thrived.
The proof I guess is my beautiful DC (now teens).
Your DD will benefit most if you take her out and about a lot where there are other children - swimming, to the park climbing frame and sand pit, to baby gym, reading sessions at a bookshop or library etc etc.
Hi OP (good name btw!)
My DS went to a childminder for one short day a week from 13 months so I could have a rest (single parent).
He's now 21m and will be off to nursery end of month as I'm starting uni.
I felt 13 months was too little for nursery - in his case - but realise plenty of people send younger DC who are absolutely fine.
Would you consider a CM?
I wouldn't - at this age she gets all the learning and stimulation she needs at home with you. At nursery she'll just be competing for attention and adult input with at least two other babies. She's not old enough yet to make friends with other children and she gets plenty of exposure to other children and adults at the groups you go to. It won't benefit her in terms of social skills or learning at all, so as others have said, do it if you want a break but it wouldn't really benefit her.
I think that if you want some time for yourself, by all means. But I do not think that it will necessarily benefit her.
From you she will get one to one attention (although not all the time, sometimes she will have to wait, which is also an important thing to learn) and you can tune in to her interests/needs without having to think about lots of other children.
I work in a primary school and I have not found that children who have been to nursery have fewer separation issues/are more independent. Some have no separation issues, others have major separation issues. Some are independent, others are not. Some adjust quickly, others don't. It all depends on the character of the child and how secure it feels in itself.
So my advice would be, if you do it, do it for yourself, but don't feel that you have to do it because your daughter would otherwise miss out on something - I really don't think that that is the case.
My dd started nursery 3 days a week at 7m.
For her, it's been excellent. She's confident, happy and willing to try new things and she loves the staff and her little mates. Nursery do lots of things with her that we can't, eg games with lots of others, messy play on a grand scale. Eating, toileting etc all benefit from having older kids modelling the behaviour.
In an ideal world we could work fewer hours but I'd still want her to do a day and a half in nursery from about 9m. Our nursery is ace though and I don't think very shy or high strung kids would suit it so well as all the stimulation my dd loves could seem stressful. DS starts soon and I hope he's going to love it too!
My children went to nursery from a very young age as I worked- they are confident and sociable etc etc
BUT by far the most confident and sociable child I have ever met stayed at home with her mum as an only child until she was 3 and the her mum used the free places to prepare her for school- which is how we met.
So I would look at it from another angle- would it make your life less stressful if you could do your job while she is at nursery?
I wouldn't until 2.5 or 3 when it's more beneficial to them. Until then it's fine if you need to for any reason but not worth doing just for the sake of it. A verbal child can tell you if they're scared or like it and can communicate with staff.
I think 2 year old funding has come in as it's shown to benefit those from low incomes at that age but there are obviously other factors there.
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