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Optimum amount of nursery for a three year old?

(9 Posts)
Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 01-Jun-11 12:31:41

DD is 2.5 and in nursery 2 days (15 hours) a week. We have to increase this to 3 days on 1 July due to DH increasing his working hours. She likes it there, although at the moment she still prefers her days at home with me. I work 3 days a week.

On 1 November I go on maternity leave. Baby will be born right about DD's 3rd birthday. I want to keep things fairly stable for her, so I want to keep her in some nursery (also because it will be a million times easier for me) but only if that's not detrimental for her.

1) Would you keep her in nursery part time, would this be best for her? I know that the general feeling is that from three years old, nursery is actively beneficial, right?
2) If so, do you think two days a week is best? My feeling is that 3 is too many but 1 might be unsettling. The UK government funds 15 hours at this age, doesn't it? We don't have that here (Australia) but is that 15 hours because the government thinks it is good for 3 year olds to spend that time in nursery?

Obviously there are cost considerations, but I want to make sure I'm doing the right thing for her first and then figure out if the budget allows.


mum765 Wed 01-Jun-11 18:30:38

I think by the age of 3, 5 mornings is nice. It gives them a routine to get ready for school hours, wears them out a bit, allows them to see their friends and means you can either go out or not go out in the afternoon, depending on how tired you are.

swash Wed 01-Jun-11 18:54:51

Dd2 has done two days nursery plus one day with my mum since dd2 was small. Dd1 did the same. If I was just doing nursery care and had the option I would do two or two and a half days - pick up by four on the full days. Three days feels quite a lot more than two ime - have done it while my mum was away.

Mishy1234 Wed 01-Jun-11 19:34:43

DS1 has done 2 days at nursery (10-4) and I continued this when on mat leave with DS2. It gave him continuity and me time with the baby.

I would see how she goes with 3 days and if she's happy, continue. You can always go back to 2 if need be.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Thu 02-Jun-11 00:52:12

The one thing I definitely can't afford is mornings only, because our nursery charges for full days no matter how long they're there, so I'd be paying for fulltime daycare without a salary. Otherwise I agree, that'd be ideal. I also agree that I'd be looking at probably 10-4 for a 'full' day. As it is we stagger hours so she's never there longer than 8 hours.

I did wonder whether going to 3 days now and then reducing to 2 when the baby's born would be a positive thing - insomuch as, me having the baby means she gets more time at home with me to balance out the inevitable less attention.

swash Thu 02-Jun-11 11:36:22

I would have hated doing mornings only tbh - why get into that routine before you have to. Take it from me, doing a school run with a younger child is hideous!

I would do what suits you - but keeping the days as short as you can manage (10-4 sounds great). Then just see how she does with it. But don't worry about optimum amounts for the child - I don't think there is a perfect amount of childcare tbh.

skybluepearl Fri 03-Jun-11 21:10:03

2 days sounds perfect. 5 mornings means you have to be up and ready every weekday which can be hard going in itsself.

KoolAidKid Fri 03-Jun-11 22:34:33

2 days is fine. IMO they really start to enjoy nursery from 3+ and make loads of friends. But long days / too many days are still tiring and stressful. So 2 would be perfect smile

jubilee10 Sun 05-Jun-11 19:06:01

Ds3 has been at nursery 4 full days (8.15-5.45) and 1 half day (9.15-3.30) since he turned three. He has never found it tiring or stressful. I often have to wait for him to be ready to leave as he is "busy". it depends on the child and the nursery.

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