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Nursery at 2 - Am I the only one who thinks its too young?

(86 Posts)
Davros Thu 26-Feb-04 21:50:28

I went to my mother and baby group yesterday. Our babies are all nearly or just turned 1 year old. We had a chat about nursery and I was surprised that I was the only one who wasn't planning on nursery until my baby is about 3, or even later depending on what she's like. I realise that maybe I have to start tackling the issue and finding out about places and getting her name down, but its not TOP priority at the moment. They all seemed to think it was quite normal to put their babies in nursery as early as 1.5 yrs and certainly by 2.5 yrs. I do have someone who looks after her for a couple of afternoons a week and to me this is the best situation. She's at home for naps etc, can go out to playgroups and parks etc, its cheaper than these private nurseries and I get all my ironing done at the same time! I don't know if its a cultural thing as the other mothers are mostly American expats (they all were yesterday) and middle class SAHMs. Am I missing the point?? Am I out-of-date and are there clear advantages for the child to go so young? Opinions please and advice on whether I should rush to get it sorted.

KatieMac Thu 26-Feb-04 21:57:52

My Dh needed Nursery at 2 and could have done school at 3.5 HOWEVER I am a childminder and feel confident in saying that every child is different and know of several (not necessarily those I look after) who are not ready for even 1or2 mornings at 3+

You know your child you will know when she is ready - don't send her just cos everyone else is...

stupidgirl Thu 26-Feb-04 21:59:31

Noooo, it's not just you. Please don't put your dd in childcare just because everyone else is. I don't think it is just a cultural thing. It just seems to be the done thing these days to have your baby and send them off for someone else to look after as soon as possible. Very sad but please don't be pushed into doing it if it;s not what you want.

Sunshine123 Thu 26-Feb-04 22:01:51

My dd1 started nursery at 18 months and imo for her it was a good move because it has got her use to seperation from me plus it provided her with alot of stimulation whilst doing educational things with other children. I still do m&t groups with her aswell as educational stuff too but i found both of these coupled with other children without me around all the time has really helped her independence etc. I don't think there is a right or a wrong time it depends upon the child and how the parents feel about it. If you're not ready then i'm sure children sense the anxiety just do what you feel is right. For all i know she may have been as independent etc without having started nursery so early. Childminders, like you say, are a much cheaper option but i do think there comes a time when they do need something a little bit more structured and educational. Once a child is potty trained and 2 1/2 fees are alot cheaper. Just do what you think is right by your child, do you think she's ready or is it you who's not ready?

Thomcat Thu 26-Feb-04 22:07:54

Lottie looks, feels, seems, is, too young for nursery but I'm still going to do it. I think she'll really benefit, personally, from mixing with other kids more. It'll be awful esp as she doesn't even crawl or stand or anything but I'm going to give it a go for 2 mornings a week from Easter. She was 2 a week before Xmas. I just feel as a working mum that it'll be good for her to socialise with other kids and be independent of me, her dad and her grandparents, that's why I'm doing it.

When she stopped going to my childminder who had 2 boys it became an issue.
However I have been looking for a nursery for her to start at when the time came for a while as I thought that finding the right one may take a while and the montessoru school I ended up liking-, theior places get taken quite quickly so glad i found it when i did.

futurity Thu 26-Feb-04 22:12:14

Does that make me a middle class SAHM?! I do like being labelled!

My DS turned two last month and he has started nursery for two mornings a week from still at home for afternoon nap.

My reason for sending him was that I believed it would help him and me. Him because he is very clingy to me and I wanted him to get used to being away from me as I have no willing family to help. And me because I needed the break!

For me it has been a roaring success. He is so much more confident now with other children. Before he used to cling to me at toddler group and drag me around now but in the last few weeks he has explored by himself. He doesn't freak when other children come near him and in fact starts games up with them.

I have lost count of the number of people who have known him from birth say what a positive change they have seen in him and how different he is and I am beaming with pride about him. It has justified my reasons for sending him when I had a few people (including my Mum) sniff and be negitive when I said I was sending him. Although to be fair I always used to think nursery was for 3+ as it was in my Mum's day but our local nursery takes them at 2 which made me investigate it and consider the benefits for my son. And believe me I worried my a*se off about my decision but I am pleased to bits about it now 6 weeks in.

At the end of the day it is a personal choice ..some of my friends have done the same and some haven't..there is no wrong or right answer is down to you and what you feel is best.

SenoraPostrophe Thu 26-Feb-04 22:17:38

dd started nursery at 15 months - partly because it was the cheapest childcare option for my work mornings but also to expose her to Spanish. Two of my UK friends were horrified, but she has always enjoyed it and is well on the way to being bilingual.

But if I didn´t work and we didn´t live in a foreign country I would have waited. Each to their own I say.

Davros Thu 26-Feb-04 22:18:54

I'm not anxious about it at all, I just thought it was bizarre that they were ALL thinking of nursery at 2 years old..... and then started to think that it was me! When my son was a baby (he's now 8) I don't remmember any of my friends sending their kids to nursery that young unless they had gone back to work or had another baby and even then they seemed more likely to get help at home. My baby is fine about doing things without me, she has her twice a week daytime babysitter, does lots with daddy and we have a friend who babysits in the evenings or will pop in and take her out. Much of the time that I have help is so that I can do things with my son who is autistic and the baby spends most of Saturday with daddy as I am out with my son. I have to admit that I rather thought it was a case of competitiveness and being spoiled (the mothers, not the babies) - that will get some comments coming in!
I am still wondering about getting her name down at some of these places, even if its for a whlie later than the others.

Sunshine123 Thu 26-Feb-04 22:19:19

I don't think it is a cultural thing nor do i think that people have children expecting someone else to look after them imo more children are being sent to nurseries because more mothers have to return to work because of the high cost of living nowadays. It depends very much on peoples lifestyle and i don't think there should be any 'approved' age because noone should feel guilty if they have to put a young baby into nursery because they financially have to return to work. If you do not want to put your dd into a nursery yet then don't and don't feel under pressure to do it simply because others are - their reasons and circumstances may well be very different from yours.

Davros Thu 26-Feb-04 22:23:15

futurity, our posts crossed, oh dear you won't like my latest comment! Its doesn't MAKE you a middle class SAHM, that is what they are and so am I but I wondered if that was anything to do with it. As explained in my previous post, my son is autistic and so we never had this issue to consider with him, its all new to me and my spontanous reaction was one of surprise. Maybe a (hopefully) NT child will need/want to go to nursery sooner although I don't remember that being the case with the NT babies that my friends had when my son was younger.

Davros Thu 26-Feb-04 22:24:13

Urgh, me again! I'm not talking about when people go back to work or other circumstances, I mean when its totally a free choice.

Thomcat Thu 26-Feb-04 22:28:08

Maybe your friends at M&T group are all spoilt and competitive?!

I only really started thinking about it when I relised DD wasn't interacting enough with other kids her age and at parties when other childrn were there she was becoming fretful and a bit freaked out so thought right time to throw you in there young lady, I don't want her to be like that and am hoping that by getting her into nursery now she'll change back and I'll get teh same outcome as Futurity.

My Portage worker got me thinking about where I might want Lottie to go ealty and i'm glad she did as it took a while to find the right one and I'm glad when I found the one that i have her name down early on as don't want tto have to start the search again.

Issymum Thu 26-Feb-04 22:28:26


DD1 has just turned 3 and has been going to nursery two mornings a week since mid-January. That felt like the right age for her - she seemed to have grown a little bored with playgroups. She had very little problem adjusting to it and clearly enjoys the more structured approach a nursery offers (I'm talking here about making clay whales and eating noodles at Chinese New Year, not about letters and numbers) and doing the things you can't do at playgroup (e.g. painting). A collateral benefit is DD1 has her own world apart from DD2 and DD2 gets a little much needed one to one time.

You will know when nursery is right for your baby and I wouldn't be rushed into it.

Codandchips Thu 26-Feb-04 22:30:51

\I think you have answered you own q - you have some childcrae arrangemnt that happens to be in oyur own home. and the others feel that they need it too so are sending thier kids to nursery.

Davros Thu 26-Feb-04 22:35:21

No codandchips, most of them have arrangements similar to mine

Codandchips Thu 26-Feb-04 22:35:54

my god.. do they ever plan to see their kids then?

futurity Thu 26-Feb-04 22:39:04

I was surprised as well when I found out they took them at 2 and when I put his name down he was about 1 1/4 so I had no idea what he would be like at two..I didn't really have any idea what 2 year olds were like and whether they were old enough for nursery. But as the time got closer and he was getting more clingy rather than more independant like his friends were getting I realised it was something I needed to do for both of our sake. I also thought..he is SO young..he is still my baby!! Here I was with an almost 2 year old of my own and I really worried that he was too young and whether I was doing the right thing. For me it worked out and for him it worked out so I don't think it makes me spoilt at all..just a happier Mum with a more confident child.

BadHair Thu 26-Feb-04 22:42:35

Ds1 and ds2 both had to go to nursery from 4 months as I had to go back to work (kicking and screaming I might add - me not them). It was basically a babysitting exercise until they were 1, but after 1 they both really seemed to blossom. Ds1 is now an extremely sociable little boy, and I think that he stayed at home with me he would probably have been more reserved and less able or willing to share, as I don't know many other people with children for him to mix with locally. Jury's still out on ds2 as he's only 16 months, but he's starting to point things out to me that I know he's picked up from nursery as they're not things I would think of to name.
I guess it comes down to whether you think she would be stimulated more in a nursery environment, although it sounds to me as if you've already got this covered. Definitely don't send her just because everyone else does.

Davros Thu 26-Feb-04 22:47:36

Thanks everyone, this has actually helped me a lot. I think I will get onto the nursery trail and maybe put her name down. I assume I still don't have to send her until I want to and I may be surprised and find she's ready earlier than I think but I'm not going to send her younger than feels right for both of us. I also don't know what my son will be like by then and what his needs will be, even now he needs me more than she does.

suedonim Thu 26-Feb-04 23:06:23

A view from someone who's positively ancient. Nurseries etc for under 3's just didn't exist when my two boys were small in the 1970's. They went to toddler groups and then started with a couple of mornings at playgroup when they were 3+, as did all their friends. All those youngsters are now in their 20's, are perfectly normal, have good jobs, happy relationships and love their mums!

If you want to send your little one to nursery, then that's great. And if you don't, then that's great too.

Hulababy Fri 27-Feb-04 08:26:31

I think you have to do what is best for you and your child.

My Dd went to day nursery 2 days a wek aged 21 weeks. She is now 22 months. She has thrived there and adores it. It suits her personality, and it suited what we wanted from child care. For us nursery has been the best possible choice.

But you know your own child and your own thoughts on it. Just because something is right for one child and parents doeasn't mean it is right for all.

Cam Fri 27-Feb-04 08:42:06

Just to add my tuppence worth: my 7 year old dd2 went to a nursery school at 2 years 8 months (started at the beginning of a school year) for 2 short mornings a week at first. She settled in after only 2 sessions and thrived on it. I then very slowly increased her times over the following 2 years so that when she went into reception (full-time)she was used to the hours.
Like Suedonim, my dd1 went to a playgroup at the age of 3 one morning a week until she started school (in the 70's). It seems that I have followed "the norm" of the times without really questioning it too much. I know that I felt it was beneficial for dd2 at the age of 2+ to have those very brief periods in an environment with other children and to get used to being away from me.

miranda2 Fri 27-Feb-04 08:47:55

my ds went to nursery full time at 5 months
Next one (need a fingers crossed symbol here) will go at 3 or 4 months cos thats when my paid maternity leave will stop.
Ds is absolutely fine. So am I, and i stayed at home iwth mum and 3 siblings until school. So i don't htink it matters at all so long as they are happy and you are happy.

roisin Fri 27-Feb-04 08:55:35

I was in your position too Davros, but unconvinced of any advantages for my children, and pretty certain that it was the wrong thing for them individually.

My children always had friends round to play, and social contact, but generally they enjoyed having the high ratios of adult:children that you get at home, but don't get in a nursery, and we always did lots of activities.

IME children who go to nurseries at a young age do tend to be more independent and self-reliant, and confident at that age ... but you may not necessarily think it's a good thing, and it's not a difference that persists once they are older. ... That's just a personal opinion based on my experience anyway.

We went against 'the norm' in our area, and didn't send them to nursery at 2.

DS1 started a playgroup at 2.5, but wasn't happy. So we sent him to a childminder for a couple of afternoons a week, until he was ready to be part of a big group of children. With ds2 I did a 'child swap' with a friend once a week from age 2, which worked very well for us too. Then he went to playgroup at 2.5.

Davros Fri 27-Feb-04 09:15:29

roisin, that's my way of thinking too. I don't remember any of the mums I knew when my son was born putting their kids in nursery at 2 unless it was because of work or another baby etc so I thought things must have changed. I'm sure some of my new mum friends are planning on having more babies which I'm not. Anyway, I asked this question to find out:
1. - if I needed to get my act together and get her name down fast
2. - if I had misunderstood potential benefits
3. - if I was being a bit of a judgemental old moo
I think I've got the answers now!

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