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What is the right age to send a child to nursery? If any

17 replies

slinginthecity · 08/05/2013 19:58

Hi, we are currently looking for childcare options for when DD is 18 months old. We are considering the nursery option but I have recently found lots of articles about the adverse effects of nursery care on children under 3. This has really freaked me out, so I was wondering what your opinions were on the right age to put a child in nursery, if there is one

OP posts:
CravingSunshine · 08/05/2013 20:03

Hi I just noticed there were no replies to your post. You might find help on the childcare section on MN Talk. I have to say I debated with myself hugely on the issue and read up a lot. Much of what research is out there suggests that a childminder (with very few others to mind so can give your DC maximum attention) is best under age 3 and that large nurseries are the least favorable option but I guess they have other benefits.

breatheslowly · 08/05/2013 20:13

I think about 6 months, so they are well settled by the time they reach their peak attachment phase. It all depends on the child. My outgoing DD has thrived in nursery from 6 months. It might not suit others.

poocatcherchampion · 08/05/2013 20:16

I'm reluctant to do it before 3. a home environment or home from home with a limited number of caregivers is my plan but I do recognise that isn't an option for everyone.

I have been surprised by a number of friends who have suggested I send dd to nursery for socialisation. um that's what baby groups are for and meeting up with friends...

CravingSunshine · 08/05/2013 20:20

Poocatcher, I too have read that they don't really socialize until nearly 3 but instead play alongside each other so there's no benefit to a child being cared for in nursery for 'socialization' reasons. However friends have had good experiences.

breatheslowly · 08/05/2013 20:28

I think playing alongside is a valuable experience, it has certainly helped DD to learn from other children. Obviously you can get it elsewhere, but it is a useful part of the nursery experience. The socialisation with adult carers is also a part of the nursery experience.

Cloverer · 08/05/2013 20:35

DS loved nursery from 2 - talked about the other children, loved playing with them etc. They tend to just run about madly with each other and play alongside rather than collaborative games before 3ish, but that doesn't mean they get nothing from it.

I wouldn't send a young child to nursery full time, but that's just because I think nursery is very full-on/stressfull for long periods. But at 18 months I would definitely consider part time nursery.

stargirl1701 · 08/05/2013 20:36

3 years old.

ReetPetit · 08/05/2013 21:27

2.5 yrs would be the absolute youngest i would be happy to send my child to nursery and that would only be on a part time basis...

(20 years experience working in nurseries)

Mandy21 · 09/05/2013 08:27

It depends doesn't it? I think its all very well and good to say "absolutely not before 3" or whatever, but if you're in a position where you need to go back to work and need childcare options, you don't have much choice! You can choose a nanny, a childminder or a nursery. Thats it. And there are pro's and con's of each. Unfortunately, there is no right or wrong answer and generalisations don't help. If you find a good nursery / childminder / nanny, that suits your child, then thats worth its weight in gold.

Having said that, I was lucky in that my mum stepped in to have my first children (twins) for the 3 days I worked until they were 2. At that point, they were ready for nursery, could talk, hold their own if necessary (i.e. if other children snatched toys etc). They were ready for more interaction with children, wanted / needed lots of entertaining that I felt a nursery could offer. I wanted them to be with other children (which ruled out a nanny ? it was probably going to be too expensive anyway) and for me personally, I didn't like the idea of a childminder ? just my opinion but if there is one childminder with 3 or 4 children say who are a mixture of ages including a young baby (which would take up lots of the childminder's attention) and say an older one at school (so the children all have to do the school run twice a day), I didn't think a childminder could give my children the attention and age appropriate activities / socialisation that they needed.

I didn't have the same options when I had to return to work after maternity leave for my 3rd child when she was 12 months ? but we've moved areas by then and found an absolutely brilliant nursery where the baby unit was completely separate to the rest of the nursery ? 1:2 staff ratio, dedicated sleep area with each baby having its own cot.

So its a question of seeing what you can arrange locally ? if there are nurseries that are recommended / friends have used them, go and visit. Similarly if there are childminders / nannies at the baby groups you go to that seem to have a great bond with the children they look after, speak to them. Its about finding something that you're happy with. So be open minded about it ? don't rule anything in or out until you know what options you have.

Good luck!

iloveweetos · 09/05/2013 08:36

There's no right or wrong age. My DD was in nursery from 1 full time as I had to go back to work. She definitely benefitted from it. I had no close friends who had children and no young children in the family, so nursery was the first proper time she was around children, and was scared of them. And now at 5 she's sociable.

The main thing about childcare is trust. If you have that, keep hold of them. Make the most of the time you with them of they are going full time. Just research and ask around. View the nurseries as many times as you need to and at different times in the day, so you're sure it's right for your child and you're comfortable with leaving DCs there.

SimLondon · 10/05/2013 22:16

Likewise the above (iloveweetos) my LO went full-time from one at nursery and it really benefited her - she went from bursting into tears if anyone other than mummy/daddy looked at her to being outgoing/fun/confident. I did take her to baby groups every day but it was nursury that changed that.

Personally i found nursery to be a better option than nanny/cm/

PoppyWearer · 10/05/2013 22:25

DC1 started at 6mo for (my) work reasons and it felt too early, she was weaning, not yet drinking from bottles. She's fared ok though, and seems confident and well-adjusted.

I am a SAHM but wanted DC2 to start doing one day a week from 9mo, and that felt about right for us. He was too young to have real separation anxiety, and adapted well to the nursery food. He's now 20mo and starts saying "yay" when we drive into the nursery car park. So I guess he enjoys it!

MisForMumNotMaid · 10/05/2013 22:32

It very much depends on the child. DS1 started playgroup at 2.5, this helped to identify his Autism.

DS2 went to nursery part time at 18months he thrived. He really enjoyed rough and tumble with his little gang of friends, he enjoyed the stimulation they provided and the large outside play area - he's a very active child.

DD is 2 years 4 months and the principal reason I'm thinking of nursery is because her paediatrician has suggested we could better assess her social interaction skills for early intervention due to a query over some autistic traits she's demonstrating.

intheshed · 10/05/2013 22:50

It depends on so many things- the options available to you, the personality of the child, the quality of the nursery or the childminder.

When I first went back to work when DD1 was 11mo I chose a nursery I really liked- for me a nursery somehow felt 'safer' and more regulated/official than leaving her in the house of someone I didn't know. She absolutely loved it, developed a strong bond with her keyworker, and got to do lots of things she wouldn't have done at home.

By the time DD2 came along I chose a childminder when I finally went back to work when she was 2, as I found someone I was very comfortable with, and she was also much more flexible regarding days than any of the local nurseries. DD2 is very happy there, she goes to lots of toddler groups, and day trips out to the zoo etc.

The downside with childminders I feel is that they are often tied down to the school run and the younger kids just have to tag along. At nursery they are with their peer group doing activities tailored to their age group.

Ultimately, a good nursery is better than a bad childminder, and vice versa!

TiredyCustards · 10/05/2013 22:56

My Dd has just in the last few weeks started playing with other children, she's really found her confidence and it's completely out if the blue. She's 2.9 and I now think she's ready for nursery, after trying it out at 2.2 and her not being ready.

So I'd say take your cue from your dd.

jellybeans · 10/05/2013 22:58

About 3 years old if part time

Mintyy · 10/05/2013 23:00

I personally feel a nanny or childminder plus part-time nursery (a couple of mornings a week?) is always preferable to full time daycare.

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