Making a change from nanny to daycareSubscribe
Our daughter is turning 3 soon and we're thinking that it's time for her to go to daycare and have some more socialization. She's been with a nanny til now - a wonderful woman we all love and our dd has a great time with - but I feel like she really wants to be around kids more and a few classes a week just aren't doing it.
I'd love to hear any tips anyone might have about making this transition. To be honest, dh and I are a bit nervous. We both work at fairly demanding jobs and it's great to come home to dd without having to pick her up, rush around, etc. I am also worried that being in daycare until 4pm every day will really tire her out.
Look forward to any thoughts you might have!
I totally agree with your thought that it's important for your daughter to spend a little bit more time in a classroom setting at daycare for socialization with other kids her age. It's so important for them, especially before they start kindergarten. This way it's more of a gradual change than one big change at that age.
Have you considered putting her in a pre-school or daycare that she can attend every morning for four or five days a week, three to four hours a day? This way she has a regular schedule that both you and she can rely on, you can keep your nanny on call if she has cold or a scheduled holiday that you might not get at work, and she is has more time socializing with children her own age.
Good luck! I'd love to know what you decide.
We'd love to do preschool and keep our nanny, but that would be really expensive, unfortunately. Our nanny needs to support her family so she can only work full-time - so unfortunately, no option to have her go part-time. If we could do that, I think we'd go with that option...
There are quite a few preschools that offer full day like a daycare. I am a big fan of Montessori schools. My daughter has got to a Montessori school for a year now and I am very pleased with her education. I know leaving your kid is really hard, and at least knowing they are learning can put your mind at ease. My daughter is learning Spanish and even sign. I'm not sure about your area but here in Seattle the preschools cost slightly higher that a daycare with a preschool curriculum. I'm even starting my newborn in Montessori when she is 1
Thanks, Angela - that's reassuring - the place my dd will be going to is a preschool that offers full time care - so sounds very similar. I like it quite a bit, just worried about the transition - learning to nap there, be with lots of kids all day, etc. (And a bit worried about her getting sick often, which I know is the norm - we will somehow have to figure out how to juggle it all between my husband and me taking days off). But it really helps to hear from others that their kids experiences in daycare/preschool are positive - so thank you!
My son spent the first two years of his life with Grandparents then started full-time day care when his brother was 6 weeks old. I too was terrified that the transition to full-time day care on top of the changes in our family with the new baby would be detrimental. However, he fell right into the set routine with the other kids. He was even potty trained within a week of starting day care simply because the other kids all go potty at the same time, as a group. The socialization has been great for him and having good day care makes all the difference. If you are comfortable with the school your daughter will be attending, she will be fine.
I agree that the socialization would be good for her, and she'll probably enjoy it. Just be prepared that when she is around other kids, she might start getting colds and viruses more often. If you have a job that requires you to be there, have a back-up plan for when she is sick. That is really easy to say, isn't it? I have a message posted about this right now and am open to suggestions.
JPS - that's absolutely what I expect and it freaks me out, because I have a very demanding job (running Work It, Mom!) and so does my husband. The plus side of being an entrepreneur is that I can leave work when I need to - in case she needs me to pick her up early, etc - but this also means that I have to find another time to somehow get the work done. We thought about putting her in daycare when she was 2 and this was one of the reasons we postponed. Unfortunately, I don't know if there is a good solution - I guess we all have to find backup plans, as you say, and juggle who takes time off. I know a lot of people who have nannies and send their kids to pre-school, for just a few hours a day - if their child gets sick, they have the nanny to stay home with them. This would be a huge luxury!
We've gone through 2 daycares - both excellent experiences. Things I needed to know:
- my province's daycare guidlines so I knew what I should expect of them (ie: dietary guidelines, mandatory quiet time, ratios of staff to children, learning activities, safety etc)
- what are the drop off and pick up rules? Some have penalties for late pickups.
- are the kids sectioned off by age or do they all interact?
-what recourse do I have if my child dislikes one of the teachers?
-how do they address poor behaviour?
-what is their medical training?
-what is their menu like? how will they accommodate my child, if necessary?
-is there mandatory quiet time? how is it structured?
-is there a mix of free-play and structured-play?
-what are you expected to provide (for instance, our daycare requires all children donate one bottle of sunscreen to the daycare and then they just used all of it for all children through the sunny months)
-are you allowed to drop in and observe?
-what are their security protocols? (is the daycare locked, do they require photo ID for pickup)
Here's a funny story about our new daycare: when I was working outside the house, I commuted by bus to and from, so my husband did the daycare pickup and drop off. I was at home one day and decided I'd go pick up my son. So I went to the daycare and they were out in the playground and I told a teacher I was there to get Sam and she asked me for photo ID and if I was on the approved pick up list. I laughed as he came running joyously yelling "Mommy! You came to get me! This is so cool!"
The teacher was embarrassed, but I thanked her for her dilligence. She'd never met me and she followed the protocol perfectly. I was really pleased.
She probably will be tired for the first few weeks until she adjusts. But it's nothing she can't handle, I'll bet. If you find her groggy in the mornings, exhausted (or wired!) at night, or irritable, you just move her bedtime up a bit.
(A teeny tangent: When I put my son in school (I homeschooled the first few years, so he was nine), the teacher called me after about three weeks to tell me that Adam was falling asleep at his desk in the afternoons. It hadn't occured to me to change his bedtime, even though, because of school, he was getting up an hour earlier every day! A little embarrassing? Um, yeah - but easy to fix!)
If she's been mixing it up with other kids a few times a week already, you may not find she gets markedly more bugs and viruses, but a backup is a good idea, just for your peace of mind. Is there someone in the neighbourhood you could approach to be your backup in such a situation? Or perhaps someone who specializes in sick-child care? (They're generally expensive, but good to have on call.) Is there a college in your city that offers an ECE or Child Studies program? Maybe you could contract with a student to be your backup.