C.K. asks from Madison, WI on December 08, 2011
In-Home Vs Center Daycare
My husband and I work full-time and have our children in state-licensed in-home daycares. We have a 4 and 1 year old and love the home-setting and varied ages of the kids. In the last year, we've had to move daycares due to too many babies coming in at the same time to our old in-home daycare. Unfortunately, our current daycare has had some family issues that has led to the state suspending her license and shutting her down for the foreseeable future. We don't know all of the details, but the family issues are enough that we have given our notice. Now we are on the hunt for quality care yet again! We've stayed away from Center care partly because my two children will be in different classrooms. Their time together before school starts is so short, I want them to be able to spend the days together and not apart. Does anyone have an opinion on Center vs In-Home daycare - especially if you have two children? We are big on the licensed aspect and understand that Centers would fit the criteria - I'm just worried that the personal attention we have received in the In-Home daycare setting would be lacking in the Center setting. Any feedback would be great!!!
E.B. answers from Duluth on December 09, 2011
I've always been a fan of in home day care...but...a friend of mine really likes center based daycare because they ARE bigger--less time missed due to illness of the provider, less likelihood of something like what you described happening--it's not contingent upon ONE person, but operates a little more reliably. That said, *my* preference was for the really awesome in-home daycare that we had, that had operated for like 25 years and hardly ever had a missed day.
S.C. answers from Des Moines on December 08, 2011
There are pro's and cons with both, I did notice though that my 3 year olds speech improved DRAMATICALLY after I moved him to a center. I think it really helped him to be with same age peers, instead of a mix of babies and big kids that treated him like one of the babies.....
M.M. answers from Detroit on December 08, 2011
If it were me, I would want to get my 4 year old into an actual pre-school type setting where he is only around kids his own age and has multiple adults to work with. He will be starting Kindergarten soon and will need to be prepared.
We tried both In Home Day Cares over the years and actual school like settings. Once our kids were each 18 months, we moved them and quickly began to see how much more they were gaining socially and academically in the school setting versus an in home day care. Trust me, there were pluses to having them In -Home day cares as well, but once we made the move and got adjusted, we were very pleased. Today our kids are in pre-school and 1st grade at the same place. Due to our work schedules, they have to be there before the actual school day begins. I like the fact that they are in the Kids Club together for an hour, but I also like that they go their separate ways after. They are unique individuals who are joined at the hip at home. The separation is good for them to make them independent from one another. I want them both to be leaders and not just following one another around in their comfort zones.
I know this is one of the hardest decisions to make….I always wanted a crystal ball to tell us we were making the right choice. You have to follow your gut. Good luck!
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J.S. answers from Dallas on December 08, 2011
We did in home care with our boys until they were each 2 years old and then we moved them to a center setting for more interaction with kids their own ago. This is just my personal opinion but your oldest will be ready for Kindergarten soon and will need more interaction with children of that age and will learn more age appropriate things.
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R.N. answers from Houston on December 08, 2011
I have 3 children and worked full-time after my oldest was born, until my 2nd came along 2.5 years later. I struggled with the center/home day care/nanny issue until my husband finally spoke up and said the only one he was comfortable with was a licensed center, because he felt there were more checks and balances and less likelihood of our child being neglected/mistreated because the caregivers are being 'watched' by other caregivers and directors. We went with a state-licensed, nationally accredited program that was one of the most expensive in our city but the only one we felt truly comfortable with. Also, even though there is turnover in all daycare centers, there is less likelihood of a total shutdown, especially if you go with a high-quality center. We ended up staying with the same center for part-time preschool for all 3 of our children. Personal attention was never an issue--when my daughter was an infant there were 8 children in her room and 3 caregivers at all times. She loved it. It is important to tour the school and meet with the teachers and director, to make sure their philosophy is a good fit for your family. Best of luck in your search!
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D.B. answers from Charlotte on December 08, 2011
If you choose a small daycare center, even though your kids are in different classes, they will see each other during the day, especially outside time. I loved our small daycare. I felt that they got a lot of care, because the ladies there were only doing their jobs. They weren't taking care of the house or talking on the phone or doing anything that took their attention away from the children. They had a lot of structure which was very good for my kids. And they went outside every single day.
These are my feelings, other people have other feelings about it.
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K.L. answers from Austin on December 08, 2011
We had a simliar dilemma when our 6yo son was first born. We live in a mostly rural area, and the only choices we had that were less than an hour to get to/from were scary fundamental-ish church centers. We went with a nanny in our home for the first 2-5 years, which was pricey but mostly worth it. By the time he was close to three we decided he needed the group socialization and had been researching centers. We went through 2 losers centers, each of which we thought would be right but didn't practice what they preached. Our third one was the charm. Note it was both state licensed and NAEYC certified, which only a small percentage of daycares in Austin are. I guess the moral of my tale is that you need to look at all your options, talk to local moms and/or find local parenting boards. The center we were so happy with was there the whole time but because they are popular they don't advertise much, so it took us some digging to find them. Good luck!
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M.S. answers from Omaha on December 08, 2011
I have two in a center called La Petite Academy. It's a preschool environment. They do separate them. My oldest is 6. When she was there during the day (in after school care now) her sister was 1 and she was 4 (started at 20 months). They did separate them. I was ok with that. I wouldn't want my youngest around all of the older kids. There are more there than would be at in home facility. My kids love it and have made great friends. Like a second home for them.
We don't have to worry about the center having family issues or going away on vacation. They have hot breakfast, lunch, and snack. They learn a lot there. I had them at another daycare previous to that one and it was more like a holding cell. The Director was an idiot. Find some place with Director's that have a clue. That's a big thing.
Personal attention: At bed time my little one includes her daycare provider in what she is thankful for : ) They give hugs and are the sweetest people actually. I think you will find that it's not as bad as you think if you find the right one. For me I prefer the national chain daycare because it is super organized and you can pay online. Yet it still has a homey aspect to it. They pick my oldest up from school and she rides with her friends.They have a couch for them to relax on and snack time.
At the end of the day they do actually sometimes bring them all in one room so parent's can get them easier. Not all the time but occasionally. I think you will find pro's and con's of both types of daycares. But if you pick out new pro's in a center type daycare then that could balance it out for you. Good Luck!
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K.R. answers from Minneapolis on December 09, 2011
I used to work in day care centers, and I picked a center over home-based care for my kids. For one thing, it's pretty transparent what goes on there; people would see if someone is abusing a child, making it less likely to happen, I think.
A great center will offer so much more for your child in terms of interesting things to do, places to go, activities to experience. Also, it's more likely to be academic and prepare your child well for kindergarten.
My boys loved their day care center, and the older one loved visiting the younger one in his classroom, or hugging him when the classes passed in the halls. And if it's a really great center, the personal attention will be there.
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B.B. answers from San Antonio on December 08, 2011
We used in- home centers until our son was 2 and our daughter was 18 months. Then we switched to a daycare center. We didn't choose a large center, so it was still a smaller setting, one classroom at each age group, only about 32 total children (there are some daycares here with over 200 children at them). They were together during breakfast time, outdoor play time, and in the ball room, so they did still spend time together. We did appreciate the ability to have them play with other kids their own ages, especially for our oldest. He started pre-K this year, and the transition was much easier for him due in part (I think) his exposure to playing with kids his own age in a structured environment.
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