looking for daycare/prek advice for my first child before second one comes

posted 1 month ago in Parenting
Post # 2
796 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

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@Redholix:  firstly, congrats! I was hoping to see you pop up on the boards with good news ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

I’m not based in the US so I can’t answer the specifics of your question, but I’m pondering a similar dilemma at the moment so I can share my thoughts on that! 

At age 3, kids are totally ready for preschool! She will thrive there, I’m sure. Our little one just turned 3 and he likes going to daycare. He goes three full days and two mornings. I’d prefer less as they are long days (7.30am-6pm) but it’s what we have to do as we’re both working full time. One thing, you might want to check toilet training requirements as some pre schools require kids to be potty trained, but you have plenty of time! 

I’m due in April with our second baby and for me it won’t work having both at home. I don’t think I’d be able to give DS the attention and socialisation he needs when I’m also trying to care for a newborn. So he’ll be in preschool probably 4 days a week with one day at home with me and baby so we can go out and do activities. I don’t have family closeby and my husband works late hours so I’m realistic about my ability to cope with two kids alone for days on end! Everyone differs of course, some parents are absolutely fine, but I suffered with post partum depression when DS was a newborn and know my limits! When I have the baby we’re considering swapping DS to a preschool attached to a school rather than daycare. Preschools here are 9am to 3pm which doesn’t work with my job but will do when I’m on maternity leave (I’m taking a year off and then considering going freelance). We also face the same problem of school holidays with preschools that you don’t get with daycare settings, but I’m hoping we can make it work! After my maternity leave, DS will be 4.5 and I think he’ll be starting at school? Not sure… That comes with a whole other set of problems, mainly the hours being 8-3pm which don’t fit with my work hours. Honestly I don’t know how parents manage it without having a total breakdown! Freelancing seems to be the only option in terms of flexibility! But that’s a problem for another day ๐Ÿ˜‚

Post # 3
431 posts
Helper bee

I think finding a daycare for your daughter would be beneficial for her and you. 

I’m currently pregnant with baby #2, my daughter already goes to daycare 3 days a week and I’m really glad I will have those 3 days one on one with baby #2. I also think it will be good for her to keep going to a place she has friends and her routine because once baby comes it will be a huge change for everyone in the household, so I think going to her childcare where everything is still the same will be good for. 

Perhaps you can start looking at places early next year? I wouldn’t wait until May/June because she needs time to adjust and it will be too much both new baby and new daycare. You can also start with 1 day and increase to 2 etc… you have time on your hands so you can take it slowly so she can adjust to the new place and really enjoy going there and once baby #2 comes you will feel confident that she’s happily going to her daycare. 

(I’m not based in the US so not sure about daycare vs preschool and at what age kids go to preschool in US, here preschool is for 5+).

Post # 4
9964 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I very much believe that the socialization from daycare/preschool is critical for development. It teaches things outside the academic – empathy, sharing, how to make friends, conflict resolution, etc. It also helps her build a stronger immune system as she’ll be exposed to more germs (which also means you’ll be dealing with a seemingly endless runny nose…). 

Our school is infant through PreK and is year round, so there are definitely programs that you could get into. Many schools also have a parttime option so you don’t need to commit to a full time program. 

I think that a preschool option would be ideal for your child. You are going to be consumed with the newborn for a while, and this will let her continue developing and learning with her peers. 

Post # 5
3619 posts
Sugar bee

We have a really similar situation! We had our second in late May, when our first was 2.5. She’d never been in daycare in her entire life, always home with us, but we felt like it was getting to be time…like she needs the socialization. Plus just logistically with both of us going back to work after COVID-related furloughs and what not, it wasnt gonna be feasible having her home with us all day anymore.

We got her on some waitlists for preschools and daycare in Feb /March before the baby was due, but nothing suitable was going to pan out before the baby came, so we decided we needed to then wait a couple months after the birth of the baby so she’s not going through two major transitions at the same time. So we had both kids home with us full time all summer, which was intense but doable because I was on mat leave and my husband had the whole summer off, so we could tag-team it. I think it woudl have been much harder if I was home by myself and DH at work during those months, as we have no family nearby or much of a local support network.

Our toddler started half days at daycare when the baby was about 3 months old, and has done great. She goes Mon-Fri from 8-12:30 (then comes home and naps til 3 or 4, which is perfecttttt), and she effing loves it and we feel really good about the decision. She’s almost 3 and not potty trained, which fortunately our center is understanding about and helping her with. (A number of the places we looked at require potty training for 3 year olds, so we crossed those off our list because I am not going to be potty training my strong willed girl on someone else’s schedule.)

She will be moving up to the 3 year old classroom soon so I’m hoping being around a classroom full of potty trained kids might finally get her over that hump but we will see. She’s very strong willed and my instinct is that she’s not going to potty train until she damn well decides to (we have been trying on and off for a friggin year almost)…but that is a subject for another thread lol.

Post # 6
796 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

Oh, something that might sway you is whether she still naps? Our little one dropped all naps at 18 months, so a day with him is a whole day, non stop from 7am to 7pm. I know when I had a newborn, I lived for the short windows he was asleep, and the idea of never having any downtime is….yeah haha. If your little one still has good long naps though, that might help! 

Post # 7
6233 posts
Bee Keeper

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@Redholix:  I’m not going to say one way or the other which I think you should do, because I think it’ll be fine either way. My child was in daycare and continued to do that, it was super helpful that he could go to daycare while I was in labor. However because of Covid, he was home full-time while I was taking care of the newborn… I think he only had about three months before that happened. It worked out just fine, and I potty trained him, so that was a bonus. It sounds like you have a bright little girl, she probably would enjoy learning with other kids. And as far as I could tell, the preschool did have a start date for my son (he had to be four), they still teach the same stuff year round anyway, and they were already teaching him at daycare the things that he’s learning now in preschool, just at a lower level.

If you do choose to take the Daycare route, you’ll want to consider starting before the baby arrives. My reasoning for that is you don’t want your child to think oh the baby came aand mommy got rid of me. you want it to already be a part of her routine, so that it’s just the normal thing that she’s doing each day. That’s how we went about our son getting a new bed and being in his own bedroom… We started way before baby arrived so that it wouldn’t be a new freaky thing and look like we were just getting him out of our way.

Post # 11
3619 posts
Sugar bee

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@Redholix:  The new sibling has definitely been a harder transition for her than going to school was. She’s amazing with the baby and that’s been the case from day 1. So gentle and loving and even maternal. It’s been incredible to witness, because we didn’t instill any of that in her…it’s just innate.

HOWEVER, lots of big feelings coming out at DH and me lol. She was 2.5 when our 2nd was born so I dont know how much of that is the age vs the big life change (probably both), but the defiance and tantrums reached insane levels right around the time the baby came and for the next couple months. So it’s been intense but even with all that, I’m actually glad we could keep her home with us all summer while we all adjusted to the new baby. By the time she started her half day school program, baby was almost  4 months and the novelty had worn off…us being a family of 4 was just normal at that point so we felt she was ready.

She’s also a very social kid so getting her into school has been really beneficial, and she transitioned very easily. I don’t think she’s ever cried at a drop off yet (it’s been over a month). She does cry on Saturday mornings though when we tell her there’s no school and she’s stuck with us all day! lol

Post # 12
8480 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

Our daycare only does their preschool program during the actual school year, and children must be potty trained. I think that’s pretty typical of this area.

For daycare, they don’t need to be potty trained and it’s year round (obviously). Most kids go full time, but I think there is an option for part time once kids are 2+. 

I’d definitely start looking now if you’re interested, as the wait lists seem to be crazy everywhere. I would caution you that your 3 year old will probably bring home literally every illness possible in that first year though.

Post # 13
1458 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

My sister went through this with her second arriving when her first was 2.5. She has lots of family nearby and her DH took 4 weeks off after birth. She was still very thankful that she sent her older one to daycare during that time. It gave her consistency in routine and a space where she could enjoy peers and explore / learn. It took the stress off of my sister to feel like she needed to come up with activities each day and allowed my sister to nap during the day when the newborn was napping.

The other nice thing was that if there were days where she felt rested and wanted to do things with her 2.5 year old, she would just keep her home or pick her up early and they’d go on ‘adventures’ together (e.g. to the park lol…)

I don’t think there is a wrong answer, but many 3 year olds really thrive at preschool because they can work on socio-emotional development with similar aged kids, if you don’t have friends kids or cousins for her to explore that with then I think preschool / daycare is a great option at this age!

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