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is it abnormal to not take advantage of free child care in your area?

(69 Posts)
justonesherryformedicinalpurpo Thu 06-Oct-16 11:18:41

I have two DD'S (20mo and 2mo).

Obviously they are quite close in age and I planned it that way.

Anyway since before DD2 was even born, whenever a mum asks DD1s age they say to us "Oo off to nursery soon!". I don't know when free childcare starts for everyone. For us it is 3yo but I'm assuming it can be 2yo (or less, I actually have no idea).

Now I don't know if my intentions change as DD1 turns 3 but atm I have always felt that I will probably be a SAHM full time until perhaps 4yo. I'm not sure yet. I take them to toddler groups and DD1 starts baby ballet soon so it's not like she is missing out on social interaction with other children but I am not joking in that it seems I'm almost judged for wanting to do this and not take advantage of the free childcare when the time comes. I will LOVE it apparently. I'm not keen on sending DD1 away while her little sis stays home with me. I don't judge nor care if other mums have one at nursery and the other home. Or even just have one DC and use childcare whilst they stay home and get things done etc. Everyone's lifestyle and desires are different. So why do so many mums seem shocked that I'm not counting down the days until I can send her off to nursery for free?

It's the same for my friend and her 3.5yo. I just find it bizzare. God forbid anyone that might say to them that they home school!

Maybe it's just the area I live in?!

nephrofox Thu 06-Oct-16 11:20:57

It's not always about sending them off for your benefit. It's for theirs. A couple of sessions of pre school a week will do far more good than harm, I don't understand why you're so against it

nephrofox Thu 06-Oct-16 11:22:34

And you'll find a 20 month old and a 3 year olds needs very different. I can imagine now that you can't see a benefit to your eldest. But give us a year and things will be very different. I wouldn't make a song a dance about ruling it out when you're a year away from the decision

JinkxMonsoon Thu 06-Oct-16 11:23:24

I think it's unusual to never send them to preschool. It's totally fine if you don't want to, though.

The free 15 hours start the term after their third birthday btw. That's standard. People in receipt of certain benefits get offered free hours aged two, IIRC.

And your DD is only 20 months. You might have very different ideas about sending her to preschool in 18 months' time when she's three. Mine was such a handful I was desperate for a break grin

I never took up the full 15 hours though. The most my DD ever did was 9 hours per week.

newmumwithquestions Thu 06-Oct-16 12:44:34

Never say never. I've just put DD1 (2 y) in nursery 2 sessions a week. Gives me a chance to spend some time alone with DD2 (9 m). I love it - I actually get a chance to play with DD2 rather than referee who had the toy first.

HSMMaCM Thu 06-Oct-16 12:48:00

You don't have to send them, you can just decide when and if you think it will be good for them.

LyndaNotLinda Thu 06-Oct-16 12:54:02

3 year olds learn valuable social skills mixing with their peers in a preschool setting which really help them cope when they start school.

You don't have to send them of course but you may not be doing them any favours if you don't.

justonesherryformedicinalpurpo Thu 06-Oct-16 13:06:53

nephrofox I thought I made it pretty clear that I'm not against it and that I may or may not depending on how I feel when she turns that age.

I can see the benefits of course. I'm just baffled that it seems shocking to so many. That's all.

Garthmarenghi Thu 06-Oct-16 13:08:21

Mine didn't go until they were four. It wasn't something that happened 25 plus years ago.

HSMMaCM Thu 06-Oct-16 13:33:23

Reception class is to get them ready for school. Pre school is something each family should decide upon whether it's right for them.

There is an expectation from many parents that all children must go to Pre school. It really depends on the child. Some children are just not ready until they are 4/5. They will spend the next 15 odd years in a structured environment. Small children ARE allowed to just be children.

Disclaimer - my DD went to pre school and loved it.

PacificOcean Thu 06-Oct-16 13:42:28

It's 'abnormal' in the sense that it's not normal. Personally, I don't think I know anyone who didn't take advantage of the free childcare (except in a couple of cases when both parents worked full time and had a nanny).

That doesn't mean that you are wrong of course. It's entirely your decision. But it does make you unusual.

PacificOcean Thu 06-Oct-16 13:45:21

I don't think people are judging you btw. They may be making an incorrect assumption, but that's not the same as judging or criticising you.

justonesherryformedicinalpurpo Thu 06-Oct-16 13:47:14

Thanks for your unbiased reply HSMM.

We'll see what life is like when the time comes. I just think some mums can be quite critical and make other mums feel as though they are holding their children back from something if they don't go is all.

newmum if you see this, how does your little one find not being with you and your youngest? I was pondering on this recently and wondered if it would spark up sibling jealousy or a sense of favoritism in the youngest so I'm interested to know how your eldest finds it?

LemonBreeland Thu 06-Oct-16 13:51:04

The fact that you are calling it free childcare is confusing the issue. Nursery for 3 year olds is part of their education and preparing them for school. It is not childcare. That is not to say that children can't go to school without having attended nursery first but it is very unusual these days. The benefits to the child are huge.

GizmoFrisby Thu 06-Oct-16 13:55:18

I think nursery/pre school is essential for little ones to get them ready for school. I'm a sahm but my 17mo goes to nursery on a Monday 9-4 for her to mix with other little ones and also get her used to not being with me or her dad and her brother all of the time. And when she's 3 she won't be scared of starting more hours. It's not always about you. My health visitor actually said to me because my daughter is really forward and seems older for her age nursery will help her. Children can become clingy little rat bags if they are at home and cuddled all the time. By the time they go to school they aren't socially ready.

Can I ask how u know that all of these mums have this opinion? Have they said something to you?

Fakebaker Thu 06-Oct-16 13:55:50

I suppose its just the norm.

MiaowTheCat Thu 06-Oct-16 14:09:30

One thing it might be worth keeping an open mind on it for is the dynamic which I have to be quite careful to watch for with my kids (I've got an 11 month age gap - so VERY close together) - my eldest is much more confident, verbal and forceful personalitied and my youngest was getting steamrollered a bit and her language development was suffering from never getting a word in edgeways!

Not so much to get one child "out of the way" but just to make sure I could spend time and focus on both of them they both went to preschool for a few sessions age 2 and then their funded 15 hours from age 3 - it widened my eldest's social circle no end and she really grew in confidence and focus from it, and my youngest really benefited from having other kids around rather than just playing whatever her big sister decided they were playing.

You might find if you don't get in at the start of the academic year that places are filled if you decide to go for it later on in the year though if it's anything like round our way - again something to keep in mind.

Mine have absolutely loved it though - even when there are days it would be easier to take the lazy option of NOT taking them down there they come out absolutely buzzing and having had a cracking time!

justonesherryformedicinalpurpo Thu 06-Oct-16 14:13:33

Perhaps pacific. I can take things persomally sometimes!

FinallyHere Thu 06-Oct-16 14:39:06

Do what works for you.

Garthmarenghi Thu 06-Oct-16 14:55:25

Do what feels right for your children. I took mine to playgroup twice a week, but used to stay with them - not by their sides as I helped with the other children too. I also worked part time and they stayed with grandparents whilst I was at work. They both took to school like ducks to water and could both read before they started school too.

justonesherryformedicinalpurpo Thu 06-Oct-16 15:07:07

Yes Gizmo.

Thanks for replies. As I said before, I haven't made a definite decision. I'm just curious why it's shocking not to take them.

This post has certainly shown the benefits though. Particulalry because of the development of both my daughters who are at very different stages so thank you for that.

lostowl Thu 06-Oct-16 15:11:26

Are you keeping them at home for your benefit or theirs? I think a couple of mornings at nursery are far more beneficial. Better to give your kids a few hours without you than trying to keep them attached to you. More fair to them in the long run.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Thu 06-Oct-16 15:46:30

Also bear in mind that as the other dc go off to preschool the toddler groups are just that. All the 3/4 yr olds are at preschool. You soon find your dc is the oldest one their and their friends have all gone to preschool. I would put her name down (it is often first come first served unless at a school setting) and see how you feel nearer the time.

DeadGood Thu 06-Oct-16 15:50:55

Your older child had the benefit of your undivided attention for their first year. Your second should (in my opinion) be offered the same opportunity, if it is available - which it is.

And yes, as another poster said, the reason people find it unusual is because it is not the norm.

minipie Thu 06-Oct-16 16:13:07

It's not intended as free childcare for your benefit. It's education and social preparation, for your DD's benefit. So it's about what is best for your DD not what is best for you.

Nursery school has been really helpful in teaching DD social and "school" skills - how to wait her turn, work in a group, deal with social interactions with her peers, sit quietly at circle time, etc. Actually I would be pretty terrified if DD was going to school next year and hadn't been to nursery school - I think she would be at a real disadvantage compared with the other kids. Plus, she loves it!

I think you've been misled by people saying "you will love it" and describing it as childcare.

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