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Childcare or staying at home

20 replies

Montues · 29/08/2021 11:26

Our son is nearly 2.5 and has been with us almost one year. I’m struggling with deciding about childminder/nursery/whether I stay at home for at least another 6 months until he’s three. Overall he’s doing well, a very lively, fun and excitable boy. My concern is he gets very over stimulated and excited around other children and toddlers, and this includes lots of pushing of other kids, and really really not tolerating sharing toys or space or waiting. He’s also slightly delayed in his talking which makes it harder for him. I really have to stay close and ‘helicopter’ him on play dates and in the park and at groups to intervene when he wants to push others. It happens any time he’s around others. He’s also very smiley and does enjoy being around the children we know, as long as it’s in small doses and he can take himself off for a bit of space. He’s definitely happiest when he’s with me and my husband. I feel he needs longer until he could manage a nursery setting - more time to feel secure, to be able to talk more, and to develop more. I also think a school nursery before he starts school would be really important. The other option for now is a childminder (difficult to find a good one where we live) so it could be more nurturing, but even this I feel a bit worried about. Would he just be seen as difficult? Is it worth the emotional work of settling into a childminder now and then a further change next year into a preschool. We probably could manage financially sharing the childcare between us and both working part time, which we are very lucky with, and this would give him lots more time to settle and hopefully develop and develop his social skills a bit. But then I worry we are over protecting him! It’s obviously all a bit of a minefield and no right or wrong answer, but I’d be interested in other peoples experiences of this, especially with a child whose behaviour can be a bit challenging. How did others make these decisions?

OP posts:
specialcase · 29/08/2021 19:52

If I had the option, I wouldn’t use a childminder but that’s probs more just for my own calmness of life!!! If you can afford to work less, personally I would work less….!!

BAdopter · 29/08/2021 20:41

My advice would be that you probably already know whats best for him. From my experience childminders are not ideal for adopted children as building an attachment to one caregiver in a home setting can be difficult/confusing for adopted children with their attachment difficulties.

If I was you I would speak to your local nurserys and see what they say about your situation, I was surprised to hear from the ones I spoke to about there experience with handling all different types of children including adopted and those with behavioural or learning difficulties. You may find one that feels right!

Best of luck, I'm sure it will turn out fine 🙂

Mumtolittlesausage · 29/08/2021 21:25

At the end of the day its your choice but personally I'm not a fan of child minders. I think a child being in another home is more confusing for them for attachment whereas in a nursery setting it is clear its not another home. Speak to the nursery's in your area and see what they say, get a feel for them and you will know. Even if you can afford not to work I think kids still need to socialise with other kids in a nursery setting. Although he may currently push others and as you said get over stimulated this could be because he doesn't have that interaction enough and when he does its too much to process. Maybe a few hours a time at nursery would get him more accustom to other kids.

Montues · 29/08/2021 22:01

Thanks so much for your comments. I hadn’t really thought about a childminder potentially being confusing, I’d thought more about it being another nurturing and smaller setting, but your comments have made me think a bit about that. Potentially it could feel very confusing. That’s good advice too to talk to local nurseries, I got a bit put off when they weren’t having parents visit during covid etc, but I think that’s possibly easing a bit now. I definitely want him to have at least a year in a nursery before starting school, it’s just working out when he (and me!) feel ready for that to start.

OP posts:
sunshineandskyscrapers · 29/08/2021 22:01

Your ds sounds like mine at that age. I definitely had reservations about putting him in childcare but as a single parent I needed time for myself as well needing to return to work so there wasn't really an option for me not to use childcare. So ds started doing a half day a week at nursery at 18 months and then when he was two until he started school he did two or three days a week at nursery so I could return to work. This worked for us. It didn't take over his week and for the most part he really enjoyed going in. I can't imagine how he would have managed at school (he's 5 now) without having had that experience. Your ds presumably has two years before he starts school. So in your shoes I would be looking at how and when you are going to prepare him for school. Children who have been to nursery tend to settle much more easily into school routines. If you don't actually need child care I don't think you'd gain much from a childminder. I'd start looking for a nice nursery with a view to having him do a couple of mornings a week and just see how he gets on. He might surprise you. He'd be eligible for 15 hours funded so even if you book him in and then decide it's not working you wouldn't necessarily be out of pocket. He won't be the first child they've met who struggles with language, gets overstimulated and has a hard time sharing. That's their bread and butter.

Noimaginationforaun · 29/08/2021 22:18

Just as the opposite of what most have said here! I’ve worked in nurseries, childminders and schools (I’m a teacher now). We were advised by social workers to choose a childminder over a nursery because of the smaller setting, more 1:1 care and being able to build an attachment. With my experience, I also preferred a childminder. Our LO is 2 and they start with their childminder in a month. One day a week at first and building up to 3 days when I’m back to work. In September, when they are eligible for F1, they will be attending the school nursery and the childminder. We also opted for a childminder for practicality. We know for the next few years (as in, until they’re in secondary school) we will need before and after school care so we were really keen to get a childminder who can be a consist presence over the next few years! Of course it is each to their own and you know your child better than everyone here! Whatever you choose will be the best for them!

DodoBaggins · 29/08/2021 23:08

Your choice also probably depends on the nursery settings in your area. Little one was exactly as you described at eighteen months. I also felt like I had to helicopter parent to stop other children from getting hurt. We decided he needed more interaction with other children to learn how to interact. It was the middle of Covid and he'd only interacted with two other children in a meaningful way. So of course he didn't understand how to play with them, share toys etc.

The nursery we chose is incredibly small. Only ten children a day. This means little one gets one to one care whenever they need it because the staff can afford to give him that time. I had quite a few meetings with them before to explain his needs and to make sure they understood them.

So personally, my preference is a small nursery if you can find something of that nature close to you.

SimonJT · 30/08/2021 18:45

I tried a childminder when my son started pre-school at three, as I thought I might need one for wrap around care when he started primary school. On day three he asked when he was going to live with his new mummy. I went back to a combination of nursery and pre-school.

I’m not the only one in our little adoption group who has had to stop using a childminder due to our children thinking they’re getting another new family.

Montues · 30/08/2021 19:57

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences. It’s very seriously made me reconsider a childminder, and @SimonJT your comment in particular about how your little one made sense of it all. That’s really good advice from everyone and I will contact local nurseries to talk through my concerns etc more. We actually had a play date recently with a potential childminder and it really unsettled him, even with me there, and I wondered what he made of it all really. Things feel even more intense as we don’t live near family so in the past year he has literally always been with one/both of us at all times. I think a nursery that could offer a couple of mornings might be a good way to start. I really appreciate all your advice - thank you

OP posts:
mahrezzy · 30/08/2021 21:51

Same as the above… My son had been home for 9 months / was 2.5 when I found a great child-minder and then worried that my son would think she’d be his new mummy, especially as she didn’t have any another children on the days I wanted and he’d be playing with the child-minder and her children in their home. So instead I found an amazing nursery with experience of LAC and he shared a key person with 2 other children last term. He’s starting preschool next week and he’s very very ready for it (and then school in a year arrrrghhhhhh!!!).

I am planning a child-minder/nanny/babysitter in my house for some of next summer holidays though as I’ll need to work (I’m a solo adopter) and I’m going to transition her in a few months before for play dates and will position her as a family friend who will hang out with us (I don’t have family or friends nearby who can do this for me so I can work). I’m also hoping some of his nursery friends parents will be want to get in on this and share time/cost so it’s not an entirely one on one relationship between the child minder and my son. But I’m going to be really strict on length of time, staying in our home and local area, reinforcing I’m mummy, being careful with touch etc. He’ll have been home for over 2 years by that point and hopefully he’ll be able to build a positive attachment with her like he has with the nursery staff that won’t impact on our relationship. 🤷‍♀️ Hopefully when he’s older he can do holiday clubs and things with his friends.

Montues · 31/08/2021 13:08

@Noimaginationforaun our agency social workers also advised us to go for childminder/nanny as a sort in between being at home and nursery. I think intuitively it makes lots of sense, we have struggled though in our area to find one with the right sort of availability and age range of other children. That sounds great you have found somebody who is able to gradually build up the days from one to three. I have also worked in schools and nurseries and I think one of my worries is our boy getting labelled somehow too early as difficult, and this setting him up for school. These are such hard decisions to make. Best of luck for you and your LO with the transitions!
@sunshineandskyscrapers how did your DS get on in nursery in the early days? And any advice about the pushing and over stimulation?! I get stuck in between the one view which is that nurseries help children learn to be around other children, and another view which is that a child with some trauma and significant loss may just need longer to settle into their new family first (at risk of then being slightly in a bubble for a while longer). I guess most children only really enjoy playing with others after the age of three? Although our ds does love running around after older kids! It’s the little ones he pushes and I’m not surprised in many ways given his experiences of being a not so cared for baby. Glad to hear that for you the decisions you made have really helped.

OP posts:
Mortgagestress · 31/08/2021 15:52

Our LO came home at 6 months, and we put him in nursery at 1yr 4m, which was more for him so he would be stimulated, learn new things and learn to share and get on with other kids (only child).
We initially put him in 2 days a week, then after 12 months we did 3 days a week. The idea was to add another day after 12 months but my OH got a new job and had a day off in the week so it seemed silly to pay for nursery when he was around!
When he goes to 'big school' he will be there 5 days a week so we wanted to just lead up to this, and we know he will be fine as he has these periods away from us.
Before Covid I would go in and drop him off, and he was much more clingy then (sometimes cried) when I actually went in with him. Now it's a door drop off, a quick 'Have a great day, love you!' and he goes in no problem.
Nursery was the best thing for him, he learns so much, has friends (he's got his first birthday party invite this weekend!), and he just loves it. His speech etc came on sooo much more when he started going, and he learnt songs, his alphabet and counting. All stuff we do but they're more of an expert than us! ☺
Our LO would also not share, didn't know how to interact with other kids as he hadn't experienced that, and nursery are really used to this and really helped him. And he loved playing with other kids from probably from age 1, so I would definitely think about trying your LO somewhere, even just to start 1 day a week.
He is now almost 4, and has been there since he was just over a year old, and the staff know him and have been there for the duration.

Noimaginationforaun · 31/08/2021 16:13

I had the same problems finding a childminder! Started off with 8 possibilities but they quickly dwindled as we were looking for a really specific type of care! You always want the best for your child and I’m sure you will find the right fit for you! I think I’m definitely in the minority here and trying not to panic that I’ve made the wrong decision haha! Good luck!

sassygromit · 31/08/2021 21:13

You have mentioned about when children start to play with eachother, and afaik at three years children also have an understanding of time and are generally more advanced and able to talk about things and cope better.

I think it does come down to choice. There have been a lot of longitudional studies and afaik the position is that childcare does not benefit as such long term cognitively or emotionally or socially, if the primary carer is engaged and provides stilmulation etc; equally if childcare is done right it won't be damaging either - ie there is more than one valid choice

Your dc will benefit from socialising with other dc just as much if you are there i think, if intuitively that is what you think will work - at playgroups etc - and nurseries will still be there in 6 months' time. As you start looking around you will get a better feel for how your dc might react to the environments. Some settings are going to be dramatically better than others.

i think personally most child care (and school) settings will have an element of stress and i do think that that is relevant for a child who is affected by trauma - i personally think that support with you is good at this age, helps lay strong foundations, it isn't helicoptering (!) but that is just my personal take on it!

UnbeatenMum · 01/09/2021 18:48

My LO came home at 13 months and is now 2. I'm staying at home with him for the time being as I don't think he's ready for preschool/nursery yet. He's not speaking much either although he's more scared of other children than aggressive so far. I think it will help his attachment and confidence to spend longer at home with me and we can afford to. We'll review it when he's a bit older with the aim to get him doing half days at preschool at age 3.

Rainallnight · 02/09/2021 08:23

Our DD had a childminder and it worked brilliantly for her.

DS (3) has had a funny time due to Covid and has been home with me.

He has a speech delay and his SALT told me
unequivocally that being home with one to one was better for his speech than childcare. He’s come on in huge strides over the past 8 months or so.

Jannt86 · 02/09/2021 12:21

I would just look around both childminders and nurseries and go with your gut. When I was choosing for mine I gravitated towards CM thinking they'd be more homely and picked one out that I thought was nice. However, on taking her for taster sessions I realised that they really couldn't care less and that my dd was suffering because of this. I moved her to a nursery who were the complete opposite. She's doing fantastic there and has some lovely bonds with the staff there. She has also really come on socially and with her talking. I would say don't assume that CMs are going to be more 'touchy feely' or understand positive discipline. And remember that even if they're Ofsted regulated they're a lot less regulated than nurseries and as such the culture will very much depend on the CM running the business. In addition the 'home from home' element of a CM can be a bit confusing for some kids. It's easier at a nursery to identify it as an insitution and separate it from foster homes for example and rationalise that this isn't somewhere that people go to live forever and that the children all go home at the end of the day if that makes sense. If you want the extra time with your ds and can afford it then go for it and have longer off with him. I wouldn't feel guilty if you decide you can't though. My dd came on leaps and bounds with speech and socialising when she started nursery

Montues · 02/09/2021 13:04

Thanks everybody for your experiences and thoughts about this. It’s actually very reassuring and has felt very supportive to hear that for some staying at home has worked well, for others nursery, and for others childminders! @Jannt86 I think that’s good advice to make it all more real and start contacting/visiting different settings. It is the only way I’ll get a bit more certainty I think. Finding the right fit for our ds, or if there isn’t one then me staying home until he’s 3, sounds the best way forward. When he is more settled with us hopefully and just that little bit older to understand more and let others know more how he is.
@Rainallnight our speech therapist didn’t say it so directly but she definitely suggested that one to one or a childminder would be more helpful speech wise than a busier setting.
The potential childminder we have found locally would only have much younger children than our ds on the day she has available, she also takes them to groups I know he doesn’t particularly enjoy like music groups. I’m worried he’ll be a bit bored, and won’t get the benefits I’m hoping time away from me would give him. So that in a way it might not make much sense to go forward with it. We have another play date lined up with her so I can talk to her then about my concerns.
Visiting nursery and preschool settings for when he is 3 will also help massively in planning ahead and help me decide what to do or delay right now too.

OP posts:
Jannt86 · 02/09/2021 14:41

Have you thought about more of a 'forest school' setting? He sounds like he might fit in as they're a bit more 'follow the child' and less structured. You will probably need to look early though for this as I know the one near me had almost a year waiting x

Jannt86 · 02/09/2021 14:44

Also...I'd say with his speech it depends entirely on WHY he's lagging a bit. Mine came on a lot when she went to nursery I think because we had become so good at predicting what she wanted and stimulating her language-wise without her needing to actually 'use her words' but as soon as she went to nursery she had the social motivation but needed to actually talk to make herself understood and engage with the other kids if that makes sense. If he doesn't actually seem to have that motivation to communicate socially though then yes more one to one time is likely to help x

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