To Stay at Home Moms with Little Ones in Pre-school/pre-k.

Updated on June 02, 2013
M.S. asks from Palo Alto, CA
22 answers

I am currently working full-time, and will be able to stop working at the end of September. We have an almost 8 year old, and a 4 year old. Our 4 year old will be going to kindergarten in the fall of 2014. She's in pre-school/daycare right now. My question is aimed at stay at home moms who's kids are in pre-school. Our daughter will be in pre-k at her school. Since it's not something that is mandatory by the state (still kind of like daycare). How many days a week do you send your child? I still want her to stay in that learning mode, but also want her home with me as well since this is the last hoorah so to speak before she will be officially starting school. I was thinking of having her go three days a week, or two. Not sure. What do other mothers in this situation do? I am so used to working full-time, that I'm not sure what will be best. As of right now we get home at 6pm, which is tiring. I will be picking my oldest up at 3pm every day from school, so I was thinking leaving there then picking up my little one at that time, or do you all do a half day? Not sure what is best. Hope this makes sense! Thanks ladies!

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So What Happened?

I wanted to clarify: There were some posts noting that the place my child was didn't teach very much. Not the case. My oldest was reading in kindergarten, so they do in fact learn a lot at this school.

Added: 6-3-13 - Thanks everyone for your responses!!! That helps a lot, just to kind of see what other moms do. Still trying to decide, but this really helps!

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answers from Las Vegas on

I did 2 half-days the first year, and then 3 half-days the following two years. I knew that we were going to do half-day kindergarten only, so I thought that was enough. Transition to K went just fine.

If you're going to have her do full-day K, you might want to consider doing something like 3 full-days for pre-K. My son did have an adjustment period going from half-day K to full days in 1st grade. He was very tired by the end of the day and would sometimes cry once we got back to the car at pick-up time.
This transition lasted about 2 months. It didn't affect his school/academic progress at all, however. He just needed time to adjust to the new schedule.

Hope that helps.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I work part-time as a Child Devlopmental Specialist and am home part-time. My children attend the public preschool programs, which are both 1/2 days for 2.5 in the afternoons. My 3yo goes 3 afternoons/week and my 4yo goes 4 afternoons/week. My town has full day K. They attend daycare (not preschool) 2-3 mornings/week while I work. It's a good balance for us. I get time with them at home for activities and outings The biggest thing children learn in preschool that you can't teach them are social skills. They need to be with peers to learn how to work together, solve problems and function in a larger group and a class of other children will teach them this. HTH and Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Los Angeles on

I love that you want to stay home w/your youngest for as long as
I would have her do 3 half days of pre-k to get her used to going to school
and prep her for kindergarten.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I think 2 mornings a week would be PLENTY. She (assumably) has spent 4 years in that setting, so its not like she "needs" the socialization skills, or to learn to share. She probably has all that down pat. What she would probably love is tons of mommy time! We have done preschool with a couple of our 5, and not with others. They are all fairing the same in school, so I don't think preschool is what gets them ready for school. I think its parents. Enjoy your last little bit of time with your baby. The rest flies by.
ETA: I'm not saying she wasn't learning at her school, but what you've described here is daycare, not school. I know there's this whole culture of saying your babies are "going to school", when where they are going is daycare. My SIL does this. Her daughter has been going to "school" since she was 8 weeks old! lol I find it a bit irking to hear moms say that, because sometimes it comes with an air of "I'm doing better by my kids for sending them to school, while you just stay home with yours" (not saying you did this at all). SAHMs are often the epitome of the very best preschool teachers you could ever find. We talk, we teach, we cuddle, we listen. We teach language, vocabulary, cooking, architecture, social skills, reading, writing, and math. And we do it about 15 hours every day! Don't underestimate your ability to join this amazing group of educators! Anyhoo-just saying, you said daycare, so some here might assume you actually meant daycare, not preschool. A few daycares transition little ones into classroom-type settings (Goddard, etc) and I'm sure that's better than just running crazy all day, so maybe that's what you were referring to. Of course, if I was paying $1200/mo for childcare, they better dang-well teach my kid to read, too!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Most preschools have set days/times. For example, our preschool schedule looks like this:
3 year olds: T/TH 8:30-11
4 year olds: M/W/F 8:30-11:30 OR M-F 12:30-3

I would call around to find a schedule you like.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My middle son is starting preK this year and will be going 3x 1/2 days, TuWTh. I think that will be plenty for him, as he is an introvert and a homebody and is always asking me to bring him home after being out for a while.

My oldest son is a mega extrovert, so he was doing 5 full days at the same age.

I would use your child's personality as your guide.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My 4 year old will be in Pre-K 8:00 am to 11:30 am M-F. Gives us the rest of the day to be together. Pre-K may not be mandatory but it prepares children for Kindergarten socially and academically, it gives them such a head start over children who don't go. 5 days a week prepares them for going to school all week, too. In our case Kindergarten will be all day, 7:30 - 2:00, so this will help him in that transition as he gets the interaction with other children his age he needs regularly and keep him in learning mode.

I'm not all gung-ho about being in school as much as possible, don't think that. My plan is actually to send him to public school through Kindergarten, then homeschool.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

My preschooler goes 9-12 MWF. She loves it. It is a play based preschool but they do learn letters, phonics, numbers, days of the week, weather, months, etc. It's all done in a fun way. I have MWF afternoon with her and all day Tuesdays and Thursdays. It's perfect!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

My daughter went 5 days a week because she LOVED preschool. Since it was only about 2 1/2 hours per day we still had all the time to do what we wanted. (Gymnastics, swim class, library etc.)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

My kids went to preschool (not a daycare preschool) at age 4, two days per week, half days. There was also a three day option.

Now, our district has optional public 4K. It is five days, half days.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I prefer full days over half days because I'm not really one for driving back and forth to school that many times in a day. It also depends on the half-day schedule and your daughter's schedule. If your daughter still naps and attends a 1/2 day program, you'll pick her up, eat lunch and maybe by the time she wakes up it will be time to head back to school to pick up the 8-year old.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I'm a part-time working SAHM, now.
But when my kids were in Preschool, I was a SAHM and not working.

Both my kids went to Preschool.
They went part-time, half days.
For my daughter, she then WANTED to, go everyday. So then we did.
She asked, us.
She enjoyed it.
My son enjoyed preschool too, but for him, 3 days a week half days, was sufficient for him.
In either case, I ALSO had my kids home with me, the rest of the day, after they finished Preschool.
Because, my kids went for half-days.
And it was perfectly fine.
They benefited from it. And was prepped for Kindergarten.

My kids are 4 years apart.
And my kids did half-days at preschool.
So, when my youngest was in Preschool, my oldest was in Elementary school already. So, I'd pick up my son from Preschool at 12:00, come home, and we'd hang out or whatever, and then... go and pick up my daughter from Elementary school at 2:00.
It was a GOOD routine and schedule.
And once my oldest came home from elementary school, my son, would NAP. My daughter would then do her homework. It was the routine. And it was a good, routine. For me and them.

Preschools, typically charge according to half-days or full-days.
So, getting your preschooler after... 3:00, when your oldest gets out of school, to me does not make sense.
I would, pick up your Preschooler first. Then, pick up your eldest child at elementary school.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

I was a SAHM mom to kids in pre-school. When they were 3 they went two afternoons a week, and when they were 4 they went three afternoons a week. The class was from 1:00pm to 3:30pm. It worked very well for us. We had plenty of time to go out and have fun, but they also had some time away from me. Both boys were as prepared for kindergarten as they needed to be.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

for most day care preschools.. the learning activities are in the am. the afternoon is pretty much playtime... look at the schedule and see what acitivities you want her to attend.. but most places.. do a group time.. with a story song and a lesson.. then a craft.. snack.. outside or gym time.. then free time... .. that is pretty normal... then lunch and nap.. I don't see any reason for a kid to nap at day care if they could be home.

my kids are pretty fried after a full day of preschool day care.. they benefit from the 3 or 4 hours of learning.. and socializing.. but are a bit overwhelmed after a 10 hour day..

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

It totally depends on you and whether you want to teach yourself or let her learn mainly at school. My first went to preschool to socialize three days per week. My second didn't get to go at all because we had budget issues when he was that age. He is now 5 and reading because I have taught him. He also does basic math and some writing ad has started piano and he's in Tae Kwon Do. We do a little reading and writing most days. Not every day. I homeschooled my oldest for first grade this year, so he absorbed a lot from sitting in on that as well. My youngest is now three and also not in preschool. She learns right along with them. She's doing well writing some letters and answering questiona after stories...she has some workbooks just because she likes them, but I usually just let her play. My oldest didn't learn much in preschool at all so we switched her to a K4 private school. It was nice that she learned stuff there, but I could have taught her at home too. My younger two are actually ahead of where she was at the time. Either way, your daughter can learn. She doesn't NEED preschool at all, but part time would be fun for her as well as educational. My daughter liked three days a week, but I often pulled her if we wanted to go do something fun on our own. If I had it to again, I probably would have just saved the money and kept her home. But she did like it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Our kids go full days m-f the whole school year. It's too bad your school doesn't focus on learning much. Some of our kids were reading by the time they got out of Pre-K. At least 2 of my friends kids were at least. My grandson went to pre-school at Head Start when he was 3 then local public school for Pre-K, all were full day m-f programs.

Most schools that focus on teaching the kids what they need to know for kindergarten do have full day programs.
The reason we all sort of got that they weren't "learning" much was your statement.

"Our daughter will be in pre-k at her school. Since it's not something that is mandatory by the state (still kind of like daycare)".

That's what we read. Your pre-school isn't a local elementary school pre-K but a setting in a child care center. They usually don't do nearly as well as a public school pre-k. I'd send her to the local school pre-K program and send her as many days as they do class.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

When my son was four - a year before he started kinder - he went to school three days a week from 8:45 - 11:30. Most of his friends with stay at home moms had a similar schedule - three half days a week. It works well for them and still gives you time to spend with them for other fun activities.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My 3 year old goes to Preschool 4 days a week for half days. 8am to 11am. We get Wednesdays off.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

At 3y/o my kids went 2 days a week, from 9-11:30a and at 4y/o they went 3 days a week, from 9-11:30a...and that was plenty for me, they could have gone longer but they are my 'babies' and have the next 13+ years to go to school full time! Ha!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Gadsden on

I've been a SAHM as long as I've had children (stopped working the day I had my first). I didn't want to send mine to school until I HAD to....but decided to send my now about to be 1st grader to preK when she was 4. She went 3 half days per week (I wanted 2 but it wasn't an option at the school and with the teacher I wanted). She LOVED it and had done fabulously well in kindergarten. I will send my second child to the same program this fall! Fingers crossed that is goes as well!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

We live in the Caribbean right now, here the schools use the British system. My son started pre-school at 3 years old and loved it. He went five days a week as required by the school. His pre-K class is in a primary school which goes all the way through to 6th grade. It was a huge adjustment for us (his parents) but he was fine. He's home everyday by 2:00pm. My husband and I both work full time so his grandma picks him up most days and babysits until we get home. I felt like I was missing out on too much time with him so I've recently adjusted my work schedule so I could be home with him after school at least two days out of the week. That is working out great. It takes a bit of adjusting but it really is up to you and your child. See how she's adjusting to school and how you're adjusting to having her gone, then try to figure out what you want her to learn and how fast then see if the school is providing that. If not then have her with you more often than not. If so then ship her off to school! GOOD LUCK!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Keep her home as much as possible. Thats my vote. Teach her reading at home if you want her to learn. But thats just me. I skipped preschool, and pre K and am opting for a hybrid home school for my 5 year old because I want that close relationship and time at home with family.

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