Mom's Day Out or Pre-K

Updated on March 18, 2013
T.T. asks from Dallas, TX
15 answers

My twin boys are 3 and they have never been away from me or my parents. My parents watch them during the day so they have never been in the traditional daycare. They tend to have a lot of social anxiety. I want to start looking into pre-k for them so that they are ready to go at 4. I want them to be independent and not have such anxiety when I leave them. A suggestion was made to me to start with a Mom's Day Out program to see how they cope. Any suggestions?

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So What Happened?

I want to say thank you for all of the suggestions. Someone asked if they get to play with other children and the answer is no. They spend Monday - Friday with my parents while I work. I am a single mom and once I am off from work, it's all about getting home and getting ready for the next day. Weekends are spent running errands, etc. I am going to look into every suggestion posted here. It's awesome having a place to find answers!

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answers from Dallas on

Whichever you choose, I would suggest that you do at least 2 days a week. I've talked to several moms who put their child in a one day a week program who felt like it took their child much longer to adjust because there was too much time between 'school' days. I definitely agree with other moms to get them involved in some mommy and me classes or playgroups before, if possible. Also, be prepared ... drop-offs may be hard for several weeks, but keep in mind that usually kids recover within minutes after mom has gone. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Los Angeles on

I would find a preschool that you love and enroll them there for the fall. It's easiest to start at the beginning of the year when everyone is new and in the same boat. Do something just two mornings a week to start this year and then do three or five mornings a week the following year.

If possible, find a school that offers a parent & me program, and start in that right away. Then they will be familiar with the school and the teachers before you drop them off alone in the fall.

Overall, I think a traditional preschool is much better for a 3-4 year old than a mom's day out program. They will do better having the consistency of always having them same classmates and same teachers than a MDO program where there are different kids every time they go. Having the set routine in preschool will also be good for them.

You can also look into finding a local playgroup, either through or Having a good group of same-age kids to play with each week will be good for them.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I don't know how it is in Texas, but here most moms day out programs are for a bit younger crowd. By 3 (depending upon their birthday) they can start a two-day a week preschool program.

I am choosing to send my kids (both with Sept birthdays) to two years of preschool because I think it has a lot of benefits. I would look into that so that they can start getting a bit more structure. Moms day out is great, but it's more loosey-goosey. 3 year old preschool isn't overly structured, because well quite simply, they are 3, but it has more of a focus on learning, numbers, letters, etc. than a moms day out program will have.

You could also consider putting them into a week long summer camp this summer. I know our area has tons of options for preschoolers as long as they are 3 and potty trained. I hope to get my little one into one this year.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

do you or your parents take them places? to library story times, to mom and tot classes, kindermusik classes?

I think the first experience in a class should be with mom present.. my kids did lots of library story times, kindermusik, parent nad tot class. THEN we started an independent class (dance) 30 minutes once a week.. then preschool 2 hours twice a week..

so start slow..

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answers from Oklahoma City on

MDO is a program made to fit a mom's schedule so she can go do the shopping, go to the OB/GYN, do her own stuff, take a nap, go to the beauty parlor for a hair cut,'s usually a program that is not open over 20 hours per week and not year round. If they were open more than that they would be considered a child care facility and need a license and regular inspections like a normal child care center would have. They do all the underschool age kids too. Ours all start with 6 weeks olds and go up to the age they start school. They don't really like to take 4 1/2 year old kids because they tend to be too bored with this type program.

Some do Tuesday and Thursday from 9am to noon, they don't feed lunch or take naps, you supply all snacks.

Others might be open Monday, Wednesday, and/or Friday from 10am-3pm. This is the style I chose. It allowed the kids to eat a lunch brought from home then have a uniform rest/nap time. This helped the kids stay taking a nap longer because they saw all the other kids taking one so they wanted one too.

Usually the kids arrive and they play for a while then they might do a craft or art project. I think they would occasionally do something more but this is not pre-school. The teachers DO NOT have to have any training or classes on child development. They are mom's and grandma's that want to work in their church program and take care of kids.

IMO I would do this now and might continue it over the summer. It will not only get them broke in on you taking them somewhere and leaving them it will help you get used to the idea of them going off without crying for

Definitely do pre-K when they are 4 though. If you happen to be lower income they could possible qualify for Head Start which is a program for kids that can't afford preschool programs. They have a 3 year old program and a 4 year old pre-K program. DO the 3 year old program only, then let the kids go to their local pre-K class with the kids that will be their elementary school age friends.

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answers from Dallas on

My suggestion is to find a program that runs half-day until they turn 4. Start them now so when they are 4 they can go all-day (3pm).

They need to get used to school now. You are doing the right thing. I think you will be suprised at how quickly they adapt. But remember that many kids hit this development milestone of coping and handling separation anxiety around 18 month to 2 years. Since your boys didn't need to go through that learning experience then, they may display those characteristics now. Just read up on it and be prepared.

It is time. They will have a great time if you find the right place.
Good luck
OH if you need help google child care aware. They help parents find child care that they want (MDO or other) in their area and they only refer licensed or registered programs.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

What about, even before, that, signing them up for Mommy & Me programs -- with you there, but with other kids there too. That might be a good, safe place for them to work out some social anxieties rather than having to cope with social anxiety and separation anxiety both at the same time. At the very least, take them to a public park and let them run around in an open, unstructured social space. Do this as often as you can.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Do they do any activities with other kids? You could also start with some small classes with other kids where the parents may be present even if not actively involved.

For example, in my area, we have My Gym. The classes are grouped by age and there is some circle time, some free play, and some directed type activities (to try out a new gym-like skill). Some other examples, might be a music related class, art class, or sports (soccer). This gives them some exposure to other children but the parents or care-giver may also be present.

Another thought is to start with a parent-participation type pre-school. These can vary from requiring a lot of work to requiring very little. I have my kids in one requiring only parent involvement on their assigned workdays during class time (and nothing at night or weekends). Their school also lets another non-parent caregiver fulfill the parental obligations, so if you work, you would need to find one that allows your parents, if willing, to fulfill the work obligations. This might provide a way to ease them into it since you or your parents will still be there in the beginning. At the parent participation school we did, the teachers would have the parents leave on their non-work days for small time periods in the beginning until the kids got used to it. They also had discussion times where sometimes the parent was on site but in a different room during the class so the children have other opportunities to be there without their parent/caregiver.

With twins, depending on the school, you may have two work days...or if both your parents can help, maybe you can have them work the same work day and leave the kids as a drop off for the other 1-2 days of pre-school.

I started with a 2-day pre-k when mine were 3 and did a 3 day pre-k now at age 4. Our nanny works one day. The other two days, I drop them off and the nanny picks them up. It has worked well for us. Next year, since they don't meet the age requirements for kindergarten, I will do a full drop off pre-K class.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I would check into local churches. I know the Methodist church near me has a mothers day out. If you can't find one that way call the chamber of comerce near you and they might be able to help you find one.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

I know a lot of moms who start by taking little ones to the child care at the gym. They stay and play with their kids once or twice, then move up to leaving for a half hour and gradually increase the length of time they leave them for. Once the kids are used to an hour or two at a time they usually adjust to half day nirsery school quite easily.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

I don't know about TX, but there are some programs (my kid goes to one) that have classes 2 or 3 times a week for 2.5 hrs each time; I think this is a good amount of time for them to interact with other kids and start diminishing their anxiety.
Good luck to you!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

If they have "social anxiety" I would put them in a three year program. Usually two half days a week. I would not wait until they are four. Sounds like they would benefit from two years. Do they ever get to play with other kids?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My daughter was with me ALL THE TIME until she was almost three. Thats when we started PDO, and she adapted quickly. Outside of PDO though getting her babysat was an issue sometimes because it was so rare. She grew out of the little bit of anxiety she had. She is 5 now and LOVES school. You're doing the right thing starting now so they don't have a hard time when regular school begins.



answers from Washington DC on

You're a little late for sign ups. Most areas happen in February, early March. Check various churches in your area. They tend to have MDO and Pre-K programs at reasonable prices. You could probably always get them into a Montessori school, but they are expensive. Are you in Dallas or surrounding areas? I took my daughter to Cottonwood Creek in McKinney right off of 121 and she loved it. The school is absolutely wonderful.



answers from New York on

Both of my kids went to the MDO program at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation on Central near downtown. They were identical to a preschool but just weren't accredited (we've been gone from TX almost 5 years so that might have changed). It was a wonderful program and we sure hated leaving it.

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