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Nursery - better to start at 12 months or 18 months?

21 replies

bunyanvillas · 12/10/2005 20:18

Hi, all - I've been reading the posts on this board with interest because my dd is due to start nursery in Jan, when she will be 12 months old. She will be going 3 days a week. I am wondering if I should leave it until she is a little older - around 18 months? I think we could JUST about afford this. Am worried that dd will still be so small and she seems to get so tired at the end of each day - she's in bed and fast asleep by 6.15pm each night! I'm worried that the nursery environment might just be too much for her. Am meeting with various childminders this week but so far I have not met any that I would be happy to leave my baby with. Am slowly and surely going round the twist and not sleeping because I am so worried! HELP!!

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helloween · 12/10/2005 20:23

Both my dds were in nursery for 3 days a week from younger than 12 months and neither of them became excessively tired, in fact I think because they were so young I was the only one who suffered . They can struggle to get into the routine at first, but there's nothing wrong with having a routine! If the nursery is good they should give you lots of feedback and give the baby lots of warmth, eye contaact and cuddles. Completely understand how upsetting it can be though.

Eaney · 12/10/2005 20:24

In exactly the same situation. Really interested to know what others say. I think if you can afford it wait for the 18 mths. My DS went at 7 mths and it wasn't until he was about 2 yrs that I could relax cos then I knew when he was happy or not. He could communicate so much better.

Jenum71 · 12/10/2005 20:26

From a nursery nurses point of view and in tems of them settling in, I would go with the younger age. The younger ones always (well mostly!) settled in better than the older ones!

Thats just my opinion and if its to do with money then I cant comment!

angelp · 12/10/2005 20:28

I would leave it as long as you possibly can actually. The longer she has being with her Mum gaining security the better she will be long term. As eaney says its much easier when they can communicate more and also understand more from you

edam · 12/10/2005 20:29

I think for some babies 12 months can be a tricky age - lots seem to go through a clingy stage at that point. But Jenum's right, younger children do settle in faster than older ones. Mine was in nursery from 7 months and coped all right with tiredness - they just used to let the babies sleep whenever they were tired, although they would work try to work to your routine if it was important to you.

Think nursery is tiring but as long as they get their naps, it should all work out.

mommie · 13/10/2005 16:55

mine has been in a nursery from six months (she is now a year old) but am thinking of changing to a nanny. i think she needs more one-on-one and at nursery she is constantly getting colds and picking up bugs. re naps; she is exhausted when i pick her up. Having said that, she sleeps through the night.

bubble99 · 13/10/2005 22:02

We own two nurseries and are just in the process of reducing our admission age from 18 months to one year.This is in response to demand for nursery care for one year olds.

One year olds are cared for at the 1:3 ratio and require their own base room (which should always have a minimum of two staff in attendance in a 'closed' room, even if there are only three babies) away from older children. Babies and children of any age do well in properly managed/run, well-staffed, warm and loving environments. Very young children need to develop a bond with their key-worker, so low or non-existent staff turnover is a must.

The nursery environment for a one year old should never become 'too much' as they should have their own quiet and cosy area. This area should not be populated by other crying babies, sensitive carers will always find another staff member to cover the room while an unhappy baby is taken to look at the birds in the garden, or settled to sleep. The 'base room/area' is an OFSTED requirement. Babies with siblings usually find it easier to settle, as they are used to the hustle and bustle of family life. Only children may take longer, but with sensitive care, they all get there.

OFSTED reports are worth checking before choosing a nursery, be aware though, that until this year and the introduction of 'spot-checks' a lot of poorly run nurseries were able to give a false and favourable impression by hiring agency staff or drafting in staff from other branches. An OFSTED inspector I know says that until the spot-checks were introduced, he spent his day dealing with the smell of freshly-painted walls!

Gomez · 13/10/2005 22:10

I am not sure it matters TBH. DD2 started nursery 2 days per week at around 8 months and was great, appeared to enojy it as far as we could tell. Moved into new 'room' about 2 months ago (now 16 months) and quite clearly doesn't like it. Will run past the new room to get to her old room. No bl**dy idea what we will do about it. DD1 started at around the same age and had thrived through all her Nursery years! What I suppose I am tryin to say is it depends on the child/the nursery/how long they are there/how many days etc.

Do what works for you and your daughter.

bobbybob · 16/10/2005 07:03

I personally didn't want to send ds until he was walking and talking to an extent that he could make his needs understood. For us that was 20 months, and he settled right in.

It does sound as if you are not ready - rather than set a time now (you have no idea what an 18 month old is like after all) just set 18 months as the maximum (for financial reasons) and that you will look for the next 6 months until you find something.

If you have 6 months up your sleeve, its not worth losing sleep over.

The first place I saw I hated. BTW

auntymandy · 16/10/2005 07:26

Does she need to go to a nursery? doyou work or do you feel she needs to go?

bunyanvillas · 17/10/2005 08:58

Hi there - thank you for all your responses - much appreciated Yes, I need to get back to work next year - earlier the better, really, for financial reasons! It's been great reading all your responses. I've been to see a few childminders over the last week and am going to take dd to the nursery this week and hopefully by the end of the week I'll be in a better place regarding making a decision! A lot of you seem to have very positive experiences with nurseries so perhaps I should feel the fear and do it! After all, it could be a really good thing for dd who is probably going to be an only child. Thanks, again. Mandy

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bobbybob · 17/10/2005 09:08

Or another way of looking at it is - if she will be an only child why not run up a bit of debt spending time with her - she will be little for such a short time. They don't play together until 18 months to 2 years anyway, and then it's playing alongside, rather than with.

auntymandy · 17/10/2005 12:02

Yes if she is going to be an only child why not make the most of her. Can something give so you dont need to work?

Gobbledispook · 17/10/2005 12:08

Personally I'd keep her out of nursery till she was 2ish - I think this is when they might start to actually gain something from it as they start to play with others. You can explain to them that you are coming back later etc and they can make themselves generally understood to others.

Just my opinion of course, but under 2 I think they should be at home with mummy or daddy if it's possible.

bunyanvillas · 17/10/2005 16:55

Well, I'd love to be at home with her until she's two but it's not financially possible! So I'm going to have to try very hard not to feel like a bad mother putting her into nursery at the age of 1!

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auntymandy · 17/10/2005 18:08

Dont feel bad. You are doing what you need to do. Maybe you could cut your hours, if you wanted to. How much is it costing for you to return to work?

bunyanvillas · 17/10/2005 18:16

Well, basically if I don't return to work we can't pay the mortgage After paying that plus nursery bills there won't be much left! Oh well, I know it's the same for a lot of people these days so I shouldn't whinge. Am hoping to do a 4 day week and am looking for a new job that's more local so that I cut out the commuting time. We shall just have to see how it goes!

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auntymandy · 17/10/2005 18:27

Oops someone been at the keyboard whilst i was away!!

Gobbledispook · 17/10/2005 22:56

Sorry, I didn't mean to upset you. I just mean if it's possible. You asked if better at 12m or 18m so my answer would 18m - I think it's nice for them to be at home as long as they can be but of course nursery isn't going to do her any harm. By 18m I think she will really enjoy it.

Janbo25 · 17/10/2005 23:02

my ds is 10 months and is due to start at nursery in 3 weeks, he is very picky about sleeping during the day so i'm worried how he will be in a strange place with strangers. Has anyone else had this problem?

bunyanvillas · 18/10/2005 13:12

Don't worry, I'm sure that he will be fine and will get into a new routine fairly quickly. It's probably a good idea to try as many settling in visits as possible. I'm off to the nursery this after for an hour - hope I still like it!

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