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Tube journey to nursery?

(47 Posts)
Leeela Wed 16-Aug-17 12:14:10

Hi all, I'm looking for advice from parents in London. DH and I live in North London, and will need full-day nursery, for 3 consecutive days a week, for our (not yet born) DC from when he or she will be 9 months old. We have the option to pick a very nice homely nursery very close to where we live (nice 'village-feel' kind of area), which we could afford by the absolute skin of our teeth, or in central London close to DH's work, which only costs half as much (subsidised). That one is a half hour tube journey away, quite packed unless we'd leave very early in the mornings, but all on the same line without changes. We don't drive so tube is the only option.

Would anyone have any experiences they could share about taking such a young toddler on a packed tube? Does it feel safe enough? Will the stress affect them adversely? What about DH lugging a stroller around the tube (stairs only at both ends) - is that a very accident-inviting thing to do, or completely fine?

It's our first so we just have no idea what these kinds of situations feel like with (and for) a small child! Thanks for any advice/insight.

Bobbiepin Wed 16-Aug-17 12:23:58

I don't have experience of a toddler on the tube but having a stroller is going to be immensely difficult, especially during ruah hour. If that nursery is the best option, maybe some sort of carrier might be better but tbh I hate rush hour tube as an adult and I would imagine a toddler would be very squished and open to falling over or getting trodden on if there's no seats available. People won't be that willing to give up a seat if its already busy so DH can have DC sat on his lap.

BendydickCuminsnatch Wed 16-Aug-17 12:28:40

I used to nanny and took a VERY lively 3 year old Wimbledon - Gloucester Road on the tube. It was around 4 pm so not full on rush hour but got v busy towards the end. Didn't use a stroller and when he fell asleep towards the end of the journey that could be difficult!

You say 'such a young toddler' - do you mean 9 month old? Could use a sling for that age, I think that would be much much simpler. Then when a bit older, there are quite a few nice compact strollers around, easy to fold if necessary too.

PotteringAlong Wed 16-Aug-17 12:31:56

He needs a sling, not a pushchair.

Leeela Wed 16-Aug-17 12:53:53

Thanks a lot for your replies - a sling/carrier is a really good idea (though until how old are slings an option?).

However, besides the sling vs pushchair question, our main question is whether we should do this at all, since we could also afford the closer nursery. So we're wondering how stressful the tube is for small children. Are we mad to even consider this, or is it actually perfectly normal and fine for children so long as we can work out the practicalities (such as sling etc)?

BendydickCuminsnatch Wed 16-Aug-17 12:59:29

I'd pick the nice villagey one and have a child-free commute. Assuming you mean you CAN actually afford it by the skin of your teeth, not that it will make things financially difficult for you. I'm not really a fan of London anyway though, so don't see any benefit to lugging your kid into London each day. Although as I mentioned earlier, it certainly is doable!

Jackiebrambles Wed 16-Aug-17 13:04:07

I wouldn't worry about the stress for the baby, they will be fine. I would consider:

1 - nursery near work means that the parent nearby always has to deal with the drop offs/pick ups (obvs depending where you both work, this might not be an issue!)
2 - what if that parent is ill, who takes the baby then?
3 - how busy is the tube, can you get the buggy on?

My friend does it, and she finds it a massive stress always being the one who has to do drop off/pick up as the nursery is near her work. She really resents her husband as she has no freedom to just go for after work drinks (for example!) as she always has to collect as it's just not practical for him to do it (he's all the way across town).

I'd go for the nursery near home, personally.

Jackiebrambles Wed 16-Aug-17 13:05:24

Also have you visited both nurseries? You might find one feels much nicer than the other, it's a very personal decision child care.

YellowLawn Wed 16-Aug-17 13:10:10

until how old are slings an option? with a good carrier until about 3yo

yes have a look at both nurseries. often city ones go to (city) farms and parks regularly.

also consider how long the commute is on a bad day (line closure etc)

Cineraria Wed 16-Aug-17 13:20:31

I commuted an hour and a half (Train to Cannon Street then District Line to East London) with DS so he could attend my workplace nursery, as it would have taken me over two hours to get home to him off peak if he went to nursery where we lived.

I used a woven wrap to carry him on my back to the train and then from the train via tube to work until I went on maternity leave recently. He was around 12.5-14 kg and aged 13-21 months at the time. I'm small to average build and not especially fit but it wasn't hard as long as I got him wrapped tight enough and he felt really safe like that. I quite often got offered a seat but he preferred me to stand so I did until I was pregnant.

The good:

Three extra hours a day with him and DH, who changed his hours to commute with us, singing nursery rhymes and reading etc.
Could pop in to nursery to breastfeed him after lunch if I forgot his dairy free milk or if he wasn't well.
I knew I was only a few minutes away if he needed me

The bad:
On really hot days we got sweaty as we didn't realise it would be hot when we left home
He is impatient and is more vocal about it than almost any commuter I've met

The ugly:
Arriving at work with hair styled by a one year old using liberal quantities of his favourite styling product: toddler snot! He always had a cold at nursery so it was never in short supply.

Leeela Wed 16-Aug-17 17:23:00

Thanks all so much for your replies - this is really valuable. If more people have experiences to share, please do keep them coming!

Thanks Bendy and Jackie yes I feel the same regarding lugging the child into London... Does it really not impact on the child whether it grows up in a nice villagey area or goes into London every day past armed police, masses of people, sticky tube etc? I think we could work out the practicalities but I do worry about what's right for the child.

Jackie We did visit both and the nusery closer to home is also definitely the nicer one. But it's SUCH a big cost difference. So again we just find it so hard to know how much difference a nice homely feel, better outside area etc really make, and what that is therefore worth in terms of cost? So hard to know what really matters for the child!

Thanks a lot Yellow, up to 3 yrs in a sling sounds great actually!

Cineraria Thanks so much for all these detailed thoughts - DH absolutely loved your post smile It's really good to have an example of someone where the commute worked so well, and it has given us a better idea of what it could actually look like. Snotty hairstyle included grin

HereBeFuckery Wed 16-Aug-17 17:28:46

Which line? I'd think about how hot it gets underground in the summer, and whether that would be miserable for the baby (and you, if slinging), above all else! I am a hot mess on the Tube without a raucous toddler to corral!

HereBeFuckery Wed 16-Aug-17 17:28:46

Which line? I'd think about how hot it gets underground in the summer, and whether that would be miserable for the baby (and you, if slinging), above all else! I am a hot mess on the Tube without a raucous toddler to corral!

Dina1234 Wed 16-Aug-17 17:29:19

Couldn't you cab it?

Leeela Wed 16-Aug-17 17:39:28

Northern line, so yeah no air con..!

For a cab it's quite far I think... Would cost a fortune and probably still be stressful in rush hour

Dina1234 Wed 16-Aug-17 19:37:30

Northern line isn't too bad though, not as crowded as some others. It's a tough one. On one hand my first instinct would be to say that you live in one of the more pleasant parts of London so make the most of it but on the other hand the money saved could make a difference if you're saving up for a house or school fees or something. What are the cycle ways like en route? An aquintence of mine takes her children to school in a bike/carriage type thing and it seems to work really well for them.

Leeela Thu 17-Aug-17 07:19:33

Thanks for these thoughts Dina. I suppose the money saved could otherwise allow for nicer holidays, or extending our flat in the future, but otherwise there's nothing more immediate we'd be saving it up for. (But I guess some saving never hurts!)

For cycling it's also too long a route unfortunately, though I love the idea of a bike type carrier for children! smile

Leeela Thu 17-Aug-17 07:23:32

So maybe the question is, would the money be well spent on having the DC in a nicer, quieter, more homely environment rather than central London, or would we just be pouring it down the drain as this doesn't actually affect children so much anyway?

YellowLawn Thu 17-Aug-17 07:32:58

have a look at the nursery.
speak to parents and staff.
read the ofsted reports.

cordeliavorkosigan Thu 17-Aug-17 07:36:38

I did it for years,and for the first year with two children, a baby and a three year old. Similar savings, and those extra hundred per child saved every month add up, so that's a big thing.
Is your total journey 30 min or more like an hour once you get to and from the tube?
It's hard if the parent working at the nursery site travels. Ours had a few staff living near us who were willing to collect dc and bring them home for a tenner.. which was brilliant for those days. But we didn't know that the first year or two, I think.
I think it can work. You could try it and if it's too hard, swap. When our older dd started school, we out the younger in the school nursery 2 days a week so we could collect both at the same place.
I had friends at work doing the same thing, and even made a really great friend with a toddler the same age going the same way, so that was fun. And yes it's more time with your child, reading, cuddling. People always,always give you a seat and help with the buggy. Agree a sling or toddler backpack is best though. We went straight from toddler
In a backpack to walking or scooting. dd1 learned a lot by learning to read all the tube lines and stations and announcing which was next, it was cute. People are so kind, too.
On the downside... very public parenting, toddler tantrums, delays, potty training dramas. Hard or work at home when the childcare is on site . One of my colleagues said to me, oh, we WET the Piccadilly line. Never happened to me though smile

sleepyduvetcat Thu 17-Aug-17 07:46:44

I would go with the nice nursery nearer home. It might be expensive but remember it's not forever!

It would also mean you could use the nursery on days when you take holiday and need some child free time and split the drop-offs and pick-ups between the two of you.

AJPTaylor Thu 17-Aug-17 07:48:23

I cant comment on the london bit but there is a certain joy that only working parents can understand in being ill, taking your child to nursery and going back to bed for the day. I would go for the close to home one if it can be managed. It also helps in making local friends. My dds used to get lots of hellos from people i didnt know that they knew from nursery even years later!

Leeela Thu 17-Aug-17 07:51:24

cordelia The tube journey as such is half an hour, so in total it's maybe 45 min.

AJPTaylor Thu 17-Aug-17 07:51:58

I would also think about the marginal days as well. These are days where your child had the umpteenth cold, doesnt look brilliant but you give them baby nurofen and prepare for the call.

Leeela Thu 17-Aug-17 07:53:35

Thanks sleepy and Taylor, those are good points too!

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