R.S. asks from Glendora, CA on June 28, 2007
Need Some Advice from Both Sides of the Fence!
Hi everyone :)
I would really like to hear some advice from both sides of the fence when it comes to putting your child in daycare/preschool. I currently work shifts opposite my husband in order for one of us to be with our kids at all times. They are ages 2 and 3. However, I have just completed my coursework to obtain my teaching credential and now I need to decide whether to begin my career now (and put my kids in a daycare or preschool) or stay with our current situation and wait until our kids go into Kindergarten. I am extremely scared about anything and everything you can imagine when it comes to having a stranger care for my children, especially around other children who I do not know. All I can think of are things like, what if a kid bites them? or hurts them? or they pick up some horrible habit? These are all things I will have to face in Kindergarten as well but I feel like 2-4 year olds in a preschool setting might be a little more unpredictable... What are your experiences? On one side, I would LOVE to finally start my career and have a "normal" schedule, family meals, vacations, time with my hubby etc (we have been on this opposite schedule since my son was born 3 years ago) but on the other hand I feel like I am sacrificing something huge by making my kids go to daycare or preschool.
So What Happened?™
Thank you for all of your advice. I have decided to continue my current schedule and hold of on my career for another 2 years. I figure that the 4 and a half years I will have with my little ones is such a short time when you look at it in the long run. As far as the socialization thing I have signed both of my little ones up for a Little Learners class, which teaches kids the kind of things they learn in preschool but only meets twice a week and the parent comes too. Thank you all again.
A.R. answers from Los Angeles on January 31, 2008
I think you should wait. My son was 2 1/2 when I started him in school. I had to for financial reasons.
I still missed a lot of work because he was constantly getting sick - he caught everything, and he had kids bite him and take his snacks and I would go and stay and observe and fend off the little kids that would try to do things - maybe it was the school, I didn't consider it bad, just needed improvement in the way they ran it. Anyway, when my son finally mastered going to the bathroom I sent him to the school I originally wanted him to go to. Whew, much better.
They go through so much and I feel for people that have no other alternative. They will leave their children from the second they open the school to the very end.
If you can stay with them - do it. :) Before you know it they'll be tweens.
T.M. answers from San Francisco on June 30, 2007
I had my daughter in preschool so I could go to school. The benefits are that the kids get social interaction with other kids. They do however pick up bad habits from other kids. You just have to stay on top of the dicipline.
J.D. answers from Reno on July 02, 2007
I don't know if you've decided on this or not, or are even continuing to read the responses, but I'm still going to give my input.
You had children, so WHY on earth would you put them in daycare, preschool, whatever you want to call it, so you can get on with your 'career'. Why wouldn't you want to stay home and enjoy them?
They really are so little for such a short amount of time. You have the REST of your life to do your career.
It breaks my heart to read about so many people who felt compelled to have children, only to put them in daycare or preschool. Being a mom means being a mom, not an incubator and then it's back to 'your' regularly scheduled program.
For those who talk up the 'socialization' aspect, join a mommy's group! go to the park, get together with other mommies, or at the very least, be involved in a co-op preschool where you are required to take part with your child's experience, education, and socialization.
There will be plenty of years for you to do your career. For now, grab those babies, and hang on tight. They'll be squirming to be out of your arms soon enough.
2 moms found this helpful
T.F. answers from Los Angeles on July 01, 2007
Trust your mama instinct that cries out to BE with your children. NO ONE will love or care for your child the way you do. Children with a loving parent at home can teach their child everything they need to know for Kindergarden. If you are worried about socialization, join a MOMS club, or other social group out there for SAHM's. Preschool is not necessary or required. If you don't absolutely need to work then don't. Believe me, its the best sitation for your child. This is coming from a former elementary school teacher.
Your children are little for just a little while. You have their whole lives to pursue your own career.
2 moms found this helpful
T.G. answers from Stockton on June 30, 2007
R., I *so* understand your mixed feelings! I have four kids, all of whom have been in childcare for at least *some* of their little lives. I think it is totally normal to feel torn in half on this deal. I know I have, each and every time!!
The setting IS more unpredictable and yes, all of my kids were exposed to things (biting, shoving, cussing) that I’d rather they weren’t, but! I do feel that it has done my children a ton of good. Much more good than ill, frankly. Not only from a "socialization" and "education" standpoint, which is important and all - but also from a 'we had a darned good time today' point of view.
The thing we gloss over about daycare while fretting about what we’re giving up and/or exposing them to is that it is All About Kids, All The Time. The daycare teachers aren't worried about the dishes, the laundry, answering the phone, how much mess fingerpainting would make or whether or not they feel like dealing with having macaroni art drying all over the room. (Or, getting in an afternoon nap, which I'm afraid is often high on my list of Things To Do Today.)
A good center will be a lot of fun for your kids, too. Sure, they might encounter a biter or a shover, but again, a good center will nip that in the bud. (And a center which doesn't is a good center to LEAVE.)
I have to say, my school age kids have a pretty happy attitude toward school, I think BECAUSE they started with daycare. Daycare was fun. Daycare was interesting. Ergo, school is likewise fun and interesting.
I know you’re going to get a LOT of feedback on this one, and have a lot of conflicting things to mull over. So! Good luck! Don’t make yourself TOO crazy – I personally don’t think this is one of those areas with a clear-cut ‘this is right, that is wrong’ kind of answer. It’s individual to the family – so whatever you decide, it’ll be right for YOU.
1 mom found this helpful
A.P. answers from Los Angeles on July 01, 2007
Just remember that they are little for such a short amount of time,enjoy it while it lasts. You have plenty of time to work? Remember you will not be known for your career, but a mom and a good one that sacrificed so that her kids could be raised with value and love by her not someone she paid to mother them or raise them. I have done both and i would not change it for a million bucks. I RATHER BE POOR...Than not be w/my kids..
1 mom found this helpful
K.S. answers from Las Vegas on July 01, 2007
I know it is scary, and I know you want to do what's best for your family. Spending so much time apart from your hubby has got to be hard on the marriage and the kids too. If you want to start your career then go for it.
Yes 2-4 year old in daycare will be unpredictable, but your kids will learn life lessons that they aren't learning at home. they will learn how to deal with those kids. there are studies that will tell you what you want to hear. there are studies that say kids in daycare are worse off and there are also those that say kids in daycare do better. Follow your heart.
I know it sounds silly, but I was less worried about my kids in a daycare center than I was in a home-daycare. Ina center there are always more than one person watching the kids and they are also watching each other. In a private home what is to stop the person from shaking your baby, but in a center there is another provider to stop it before it starts.
If your like me you don't ahve the option of paying another family member to watch them so you have to make a choice. I would try taking a month or so and send them for a couple of hours a day and gradually increasing the time from there. If it doesn't seem to be working then hold off until they start school. You will also have to be prepared for them to not want to go to school either. If they are too sheltered it might be a culture shock for them.
Either way the best of luck to you. I am going to school and staying home with my son. If I had my degree already I would go to work and start building my retirement, but that's just me.
C. answers from Las Vegas on June 30, 2007
I am a 4th grade teacher, and I had to go back to work right after having both of my children (now 4 and 5 yrs old). My mother watched them until they were two and three years old, at which time we put them into daycare because she was diagnosed with cancer (she's fine now!). I was very worried about putting them with people I didn't know, but I researched the area daycare programs and found a great little school. Don't be fooled by the "more expensive" or "more trendy" schools, they aren't always the best. Take the time to meet the actual teachers and aids in the classrooms and watch the children playing/learning. If most of the kids seem happy, then chances are that your kids will be fine too.
There is always a chance that another child could hit, bite, call names, etc.. But that can (and will) happen at the park too. Your kids need to learn how to react in ALL situations. I am VERY happy that we were forced to put our kids in daycare, because I feel they are well-adjusted and ready for kindergarten now; better then they would have been if they had stayed in a home sitiuation with my mother or myself. As a teacher, I also see a benefit for my kids, both academically, as well as socially. Of course they will learn the basics that daycare/preschool teaches kids, but more importantly, they learn to sit still, stand in line, take turns, share with large groups, play with "hard-to-play-with" children, and all the really important stuff that schools teach kids. Most parents think that their own kids can do these social skills already because they seem to do it at home with siblings, but there is something different about being able to behave differently in a school situation, away from family.
So, I would say, don't worry too much about daycares/preschools. Just research your choices so you feel happy with it. As long as you stay involved and give your kids quality time with you when you are home, your kids will be just fine!! Good luck!
M.C. answers from Honolulu on June 30, 2007
I put my daughter in preschool at 3, largely because most of the other kids her age were in preschool and I thought she needed the interaction with her peers (imaginative play, etc). She hated it and complained every day on the ride to school. I switched to another school when she was 4, and she has really benefitted from the experience. I don't know if it was the difference in school, or her maturity level, but I would recommend 1 year of preschool for your child before they attend kindergarten. Also, visit as many preschools as you can with your child and watch then child's reaction. I visited 6 preschools with my daughter, and some of them actually frightened her (too strict/didn't like the dark room/that kind of thing) but for her 2nd year, we chose the school where she felt most comfortable (that school would not have been my first choice) but she has absolutely thrived. Her school has a very diverse population, many of the kids are there on subsidies, but she has not learned bad habits, actually the opposite has occurred. She corrects my husbands (and mine, too) table manners, and we discuss her friends' misbehaviors, and how to handle them. (in addition to all of the fun stuff she learns, also).
Anyway, there is so much to enjoy while your kids are little, and while it probably won't hurt them to go to preschool, if you can handle staying home with them longer, I would do it. My second one is 2 1/2 and the teachers at the preschool are asking me when my "baby" will start, but I'm going to hold off on sending her. Even though I would like to become a "human" again and go back to work, I regret sending my older child before she was "ready". I'll send her when she's 4.
G.S. answers from Los Angeles on June 29, 2007
I am mother to an almost 4 yr old and a preschool teacher. My daughter started preschool before age 2, and I felt so scared and guilty. Every day I would drop her off, she would run off and play, and I would walk to the car and cry. Now I know better. Young kids need to be in preschool. They learn so much, more than just numbers and colors. They learn to deal with separation, they learn social skills, they learn responsibility, and they gain independence. They get familiar with and accustomed to a school routine. Plus, they have so much fun! Also, I don't know if you know this, but kindergarten today is a lot tougher than it was 20 yrs ago. Kindergarteners are writing paragraphs by the end of the year! If they don't get started in preschool, they will have a very difficult time trying to succeed in kindergarten. Personally, I think kids are being pushed to read and everything too quickly. But unfortunately we can't change the school system, all we can do is prepare our kids so they have the best possiblr chance.