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To think toddler group shouldn't be handing out such anti nursery literature?

(352 Posts)
Ebb Fri 19-Jun-09 21:23:59

I have recently started going to a toddler group, run in a church, which is, in general, lovely but today we were all handing print outs of 'Raising Babies' by Steve Biddulph entitled 'Should under 3's go to nursery?'

It basically suggests that babies under 1 shouldn't go to nursery at all. "Organize for your baby to be with a parent or Grandparent all the time except for occassional breaks - days off or evenings out - when you have a trusted and familiar babysitter." hmm

When your child is one "up to one short day per week eg. 9-3 with a trusted and familiar carer. Ideally 1:1 but in a 1:3 ratio at most."

Further quotes include "Some children are not ready (for nursery) until three or more and group care can be upsetting and harmful for these children." and "*Remember - nurseries have become big business. Many nurseries never engage emotionally with their children."

I am lucky in the fact I take my Dc to work with me but a lot of parents don't have a choice and nurseries are the feasible option. Surely a toddler group shouldn't be putting more pressure and guilt on parents by handing out such cr@p?!

TheCrackFox Fri 19-Jun-09 21:29:39


It is none of their business how you choose to raise your DCs.

Lio Fri 19-Jun-09 21:29:51

I would have been dismayed in your position too. There is evidence on both sides.

flamingobingo Fri 19-Jun-09 21:29:54

Well, I think it's a bit hmm that a toddler group are handing them out.

But, in an age when an awful lot of parents send their children to nursery because they think it's good for them, at what point does 'trying to inform parents' become 'putting pressure and guilt on parents'?

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 19-Jun-09 21:30:05

Message withdrawn

FlappyTheBat Fri 19-Jun-09 21:31:34

Dd1 went to a childminder 3 days per week, once dd2 arrived I was unable to find a childminder who could take both dd's for the hours that I needed.

So, reluctantly I went down the nursery route. I have to admit that I am really pleased with the nursery my dd's are in now and I know that they have a great time there too. Dd2 is happier going to nursery than dd1 was ever going to a childminder.
I know she is a different child but I also know that she would not so happy going somewhere where she would be upset.

Imho, just another piece of literature to make working mums feel bad!

flamingobingo Fri 19-Jun-09 21:31:44

Shiney! You've abandoned your own thread now!


<<rolls eyes>>


Sycamoretreeisvile Fri 19-Jun-09 21:41:59

Steve Biddulph, for example, is a twat.

Ebb Fri 19-Jun-09 21:42:48

Flamingobingo if there had been any 'pro's' about nurseries, I think it would have at least been a balanced view. There was also a pyschologists review on the effects which was quite heavy reading. I'd type a bit more out but I'm on my iPod and it'd take all night. grin

I thought it was a weird thing to hand out to people when you don't know their personal circumstances. I worked in a nursery many years ago and I could honestly say all the children were happy and well cared for. I'm sure you get good nurseries and bad nurseries and I'm sure some children might be better cared for at a nursery than at home.

Qally Fri 19-Jun-09 22:02:05

It's none of their bloody business! The raison d'etre of a toddler group is to support parents - do they think kids are better off living under a bridge, because mummy and daddy can't pay the mortgage if there's no childcare? And I bought "Raising Boys" when pregnant, only to decide it was a pile of unscholarly, poorly researched, kneejerk-response cliches, and totally pointless in every way. I'd expected it to be fab, and was sorely disappointed. So Steve Biddulph can sod off, too.

I was recommended a book called "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" when really struggling with it, which gave shag all useful advice on bf (photos of positions are useless without diagrams, because - hello? the BABY IS IN THE WAY) and mostly sang lyrical on how wonderful bf is. Useful, when reading it because you can't. But that wasn't the worst part. It was the completely irrelevant parenting advice. My son IS fed on demand, night-long, and we co-sleep, but to have a male doctor lecture the readers that if he gets out of bed to treat people he's never met, a mother should be willing to do it for her own child... okay, Mr Doctor, come back when you've got out of bed every three hours, every single night, for 5 months, UNPAID. Then we'll talk. And then there was the chapter that said how appalling working was, how sad and unfulfilled the working mother, and hey, deduct taxes and childcare and why are you not sat at home letting hubby do his manly thing, anyway? hmm

Extraordinary, how determined people are to run others' lives. Namely: just like theirs.

fabsmum Fri 19-Jun-09 22:15:01

Not sure about their rationale for handing it out to parents at a toddler group, but I don't think the information itself it "crap". The head teacher of the very large children's centre my two boys have gone to is very frank with parents who ask her if they provide child care for children under 2. She tells them that there is a growing body of evidence that children under the age of 2 thrive best being cared for in a home like environment, and she puts them in touch with local childminding groups.

I feel sorry for parents who are under pressure with their childcare. I have been in this situation and used nurseries myself on and off for my oldest child as I found it was easiest for me at the time. But easy and convenient for me didn't make it right for my child. If there is evidence that institutional group childcare is emotionally damaging for some children then we need to know. And yes, I agree that there is also research showing children cared for in this way may do well on other scores,and that's worth discussing too, but I think we should prioritise children's happiness and emotional security above everything.

fabsmum Fri 19-Jun-09 22:28:04

Want to add - I'm personally dismayed by the glossy marketing materials handed out to parents by large national chains of nurseries. Round my way nurseries are BIG business. I live in an area with a mainly African/Caribbean population, and most of the working mums go back to work full time after they have their children. Unless someone like a health visitor/children's centre worker/family worker gives people information about the possible drawbacks of institutional group childcare, they may not be exposed to the evidence for the other side of the argument, as this issue is so taboo among women themselves that it's rarely discussed in any sort of detail.

I really object to how some of these nurseries put such emphasis on very early academic learning. Again, it's a big problem where I live as parents are very anxious about their children's education - probably because of the high numbers of inadequate schools. Parents are encouraged to think that having their 2 year old doing worksheets and learning the alphabet is somehow going to give them an educational advantage when they start school.... sad

MilaMae Fri 19-Jun-09 22:29:38

I agree with Fabsmum.

Yes it's not good if there aren't enough childminders out there for parents who want them but that doesn't mean info regarding nurseries should be hidden to make mums feel better.

I wanted to breast feed but couldn't however I wouldn't be annoyed if handed literature highlighting the benefits of breast feeding.

katiestar Fri 19-Jun-09 23:02:27

Stephen Biddulph is very well respected and best selling author.I don't know why your toddler would want to hand them out I would have thougt it would be pretty expensive ?I don't see the harm though ,you can take it on board,or not .

blueshoes Fri 19-Jun-09 23:09:09

Steve Biddulph's views are by no means objective or substantiated by research. In fact, IMO he prostitutes himself to sensationalist views to sell his books. Is he really so different from the so-called 'big business' nurseries he disparages?

Of all the research out there for and against nurseries, his view (and it is HIS view) does not carry any weight with me.

Wonder if the people running the toddler group are alive to such little ironies.

Qally Fri 19-Jun-09 23:13:24

"Stephen Biddulph is very well respected and best selling author."

So is Gina Ford.

dizietsma Sat 20-Jun-09 00:59:00

Biddulph is a nut

Shells Sat 20-Jun-09 04:12:31

The information is not crap but it is an odd thing to hand out at a toddler's group. As fabsmum says, there is growing evidence that children under 2 are best in home environments.
You may not want to hear that, but the information is there.

Nahui Sat 20-Jun-09 05:56:02

Message withdrawn

Shells Sat 20-Jun-09 08:14:16

Nahui - Biddulph isn't talking about the over 2s, its the under 2s.

fabsmum Sat 20-Jun-09 08:18:06

Nahui - Biddulph isn't saying that children shouldn't go to nursery full stop. People who have concerns about nursery are mainly worried about very young children and babies who attend full-time.

blueshoes Sat 20-Jun-09 09:28:07

I am very happy to listen to balanced well-researched views that draw distinctions between the relative age of the child, good and bad nurseries, the ratios and type of care provided, the length of hours, and most importantly, the home environment and care outside of nursery.

I am not interested in claptrap with such arbitrary unsubstantiated distinctions between above or below 2 years' old (or 3 for boys????), or that care by parents and grandparents is always better (yes, because it always is hmm) or that nurseries are uniformly uncaring institutions out to make money and ignore young children's needs.

Life is black and white apparently. Does not hurt it also sells books.

mrsruffallo Sat 20-Jun-09 09:33:25

Well, I like Steve Biddulph and I respect a lot of his views. Of course it is better for under one's not to go to nursery but to have a loving parent care for them when they are so small.
It's not always realistic but it is an ideal.

purepurple Sat 20-Jun-09 09:38:29

Nahui, there is a whole world of difference between a toddler doing 2 short afternoons a week at nursery and a 3 month old baby attending for 50 hours a week.
Some nurseries are great, I work in a great nursery but I still have a belief that they are not the best place for a young baby full time.

I have been shouted down lots of times on MN for expressing my views. The nurseries are not going to tell the parents that full time is not always good for babies, they have to make a profit, or at least break even. But, lots of nursery workers are uneasy about fulltime babies.(And older children too)

katiestar Sat 20-Jun-09 10:16:14

Well to be fair Biddulph does quote research sources all the way through the book
One thing he talks about is a newish saliva test for stress hormone which records almost instantaneously the changes in a childs stress. .
He explains that the stress hormone up to a certain level is good-a sign of stimulation, but above a certain level shows stress and unhappiness.
The research found that children who on the outside seemed OK had dangerously high stress levels.
I can understand it is hard and hurtful to parebts who have no choice but to use nurseries,but that doesn't mean findings should be hushed up

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