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Nanny vs daycare vs toddler programs?

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16 years 3 months ago #45571 by EJJS
Hi there, looking for some advice from experienced moms of toddlers. I have twins who will be 2 yrs old in the fall. I work 2-3 days a week (except when I'm on call, or on hospital service, or behind on paperwork, etc etc then it is more). Right now we have a live-out nanny for the days I work. I watch them on the days I don't work.

I'm wondering if they need more activities and should be enrolled in daycare instead of having a nanny. There is also the option of morning-only toddler programs and the nanny could pick them up for the rest of the day.

There are many pros and cons to all this and it is hard to decide what to do. The easiest thing for ME is to keep the nanny as is. I usually leave the house in the am before they are even up, so I only have to get myself out the door, not the kids. Our current nanny is flexible about doing extra time. She would not be too happy with a reduction in her hours if part of the time were spent in child care and I might have to find someone new.

Taking them to a toddler program or daycare would mean changing our schedules. They would need to get up earlier than they currently do, and I would get to work later than I currently do. I would have to change their current nap and lunch times. This could certainly be done, although right now they nap and eat lunch together at very predictable times. They have never been out of the house away from a relative or the nanny, so the initial transition might be tough.

However, I wonder if they would be gaining something valuable, like structured interaction with other children, new activities, an overall busier environment than what they have at home. On the other hand, they seem happy and maybe they are perfectly satisfied the way things are.

On the days I don't work we do have playdates, a playgroup, go to classes or other activites, etc, so they do see other children, just not daily.

What do you all think? Any of you keep kids home with a nanny at this age? Thanks for your ideas.

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16 years 3 months ago #45572 by diana m
We are just now wrestling with a similar question! My oldest is 2.25, and my youngest will be born a week from today ( :yikes: ), and we are suddenly rethinking all the childcare arrangements. My oldest is in a daycare center for 3 days a week (my family watches her 2 days), and our original plan was to just put baby in the same center. But we are realizing that this place, while fun and safe, is completely non-educational, and I worry that we are not stimulating our bright girl enough. (She does really enjoy the place, has friends, and I think all of the interaction with other kids has been good for her.) Is this a reasonable concern, or am I putting her on a fast track to academic burnout? SHe's only 2 - maybe if she doesn't learn to read the alphabet this year she'll still turn out OK. :rolleyes:

The other tricky issue is what to do with baby. Our oldest did not start at this center until 1 yr, and I don't know how I feel about a tiny infant, who just wants to be held, at a big center. But we just can't figure out a way to get educational stuff for the older and cuddle time for the younger - short of hiring a nanny and combining that with a morning preschool or something, just like you are considering. How complicated is it to have a nanny, from a taxes and logistics perspective? How hard was it to find a reliable one? Is it hideously expensive? That's another issue for us - the center we use right now is kind of a bargain, but I hate to think we are skimping on this of all things. But is thousands a year for preschool+nanny worth it now, when we could just as easily save that money for her college?

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16 years 3 months ago #45573 by Renee
I've made several posts related to the nanny option of childcare so you might want to check those out.

We've got three children (7, 5 & 2.5) and we've had a nanny since the oldest was 6 mos. old. When my kids turned two, we added pre-school to their care. The issue of kid interaction was one of the concerns we had when we decided on a nanny vs. daycare. My pediatrician told me the benefits of interactive play really didn't kick in until the age of two...hence our decision to start them in some sort of structured play/learning environment at that time. I highly recommend some sort of regular activity that gets them interacting with other kids their age. If it has an educational piece to it as well (as ours did) then even better.

As our nanny is completely full-time, we just have her do other tasks at home while the kids are away. As the youngest is just now going into pre-school, this will be the first time they'll all be gone for a block of time. If you have the financial ability to keep your nanny's hours the same, but add some non-childcare duties; it would probably be a BIG benefit to your homelife. If not, and the nanny is not comfortable with hours being cut down, there may be some ways to work around it...

I had a co-worker whose nanny was also comfortable cleaning houses. When my co-worker's daughter was in pre-school, the nanny actually cleaned a few neighbors houses. Another thought, is to see if any of your neighbor friends may enjoy a regular Mom or Dad's morning out; i.e. your nanny could babysit their child (or children) on the mornings yours is in pre-school. Just a few ideas.

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16 years 3 months ago #45574 by rockfever
i thinkt hat it depends on your child. we took our sone oout of home day care when he was 1 because the sitter was nto doing anything active with him. we put him in the only day care we foudn that actually had educational activities for 1 year olds. it was difficult for us for about a week becuase my son was the youngest and nto as devleloped as the rets of the kids but he has really blossomed there. he loves to be around other kids and i honestly think that it would be a disadvantage to him to do otherwise right now. he could however get that intereaction at a part time preschool and i would probably use that option if i could. right now we are going to keep him where he is until he turns 2 and then send him to a full time preschool. i personally think that the part time preschools give kids the social itneraction and indiviaul attention ( in the afternoon) that they need.

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16 years 3 months ago #45575 by aspen
Just a note about our experiences with childcare. I worked in montessori schools from high school through college. Our oldest child started preschool at a very good Montessori school when she was 18 mos old. It was very difficult at first, as most children at this age experience separation anxiety. Once she got used to it, she loved it and benefitted greatly from the program. One benefit of the Montessori method is that most teachers (be careful to check on their credentials) have received a great deal of training on early childhood development, and the program is really tailored to each child's emotional and cognitive level. Another benefit is that the classes are mixed by age group. For example, my daughter's class was for 1-3 y.o. This was nice as my daughter adjusted to school, because some of the older children were very sympathetic and would comfort and even pass on what they had learned to her. Now that she is older, she is able to play the teacher/comfoter role. To sum up my rambling, I think school is a great beenfit, but you need take great care to research the schools and teachers. We visited MANY schools and spent a lot of time observing before deciding on a school for our little one.

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16 years 3 months ago #45576 by amyk
Thanks for that on Montessori. We've been thinking about it too...I remember doing a lot of "educational" stuff at 2-3-4, and to me it was just games. Loved them -- loved all the reading, math, shapes, colors, geography stuff. Learned to read at two, write at three. One of my favorites around age 5 or so was having someone write down lots of columns of 3-digit numbers to add up. (Somehow it was less fun in third grade....) I was interested in Montessori but a little leery, since the website for the one here seems kind of standoffish, like they want parents to go away & not interfere. But I'll check them out better now.

amy

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