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Sending babies/toddlers to preschool: a new trend? - Page 5

post #81 of 124
I really, really love GuildJean's post.

And an hour a week away from my kids? That's not enough time for a mani & a pedi, or to do all my grocery shopping by myself!
post #82 of 124
I think kids should be with mom/dad a lot, but I think that REALLY "in the jungle" as we say, there would be a wider family net the kid would be super comfy with, that would all live together, have the same traditions and values, etc. So moms do need breaks! But it's harder to find good care to get those breaks. What you call the care is just lingusitics I suppose. But also pushing babies (I mean, 12-24mo I've seen) to have a real, set curriculum seems like another matter, and rather silly, as far as I can see. An awesome playschool for messy crafts and playing outside and singing and playing together-- while mom gets to do stuff on her own a couple times a week, whether she's working or not, awesome!
post #83 of 124
Im one of those people that finds it more of a break to have my child with me all the time, that to have to travel and be under pressure to be at a certain place at a certain time etc etc.
Ds2 has a bit of separation anxiety as well. Its no break for me to hear him scream as i try to tear away for something i have to do, where, if only i could take him with me, but i cannot...thats not a break.

However, now he is 2 1/2, and he really loves painting and singing. I dont do the former quite as well as some of these places. Ive found a great program, where i leave him for two hours, only if he is ready. I can come and go.

2 hours isnt much of a break and getting there is a pain, so this is not a break. This is for his benefit only.

I have stayed with him for the first two sessions. But yesterday, i was really hungry, so i said to him 'mommy is going to get lunch, and you will stay here'

He gave me that big sad fearful expression.

I said 'I wont be long, and i will come straight back'

Well, i waited around, and they started their arts and crafts section. I sat next to him, and he said 'Mommy go, lunch'
i replied' OK? Ill right now and get lunch'
"yes,now! go, go mommy'

I went, and got lunch. :-)

I got back, and he was soooooo happy to see me.

if i had more money, i would enroll him twice a week instead of once. But i guess i can make up for it at home.

As for ds1, now 5, he is a total extravert, and i wished i could have enrolled him in something in his 2's for that reason.(something where i could come and go as well) But we managed, and he performs very well, despite never having been to preschool prior to age 3, and then only 3 days a week. That was perfect.

I think anything younger than 2 1/2 is too young, unless you have to. But that is only going by my own kids.
Maya
post #84 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
My perspective is that the importance of the primary caregiver (mother) has been completely overstated since the artificial era of the 1950s nuclear family - a VERY brief period of time.

Well, in my experience, anytime after 10months of age, the baby didnt like to be with anyone but mommy (me). It was nice to play with aunt, grandma, friend, but only if i was around. The child doth protest, and i dont think this is brought on by some kind of commercial campaign. I liked the sound of your argument, but i dont think its right.

Im not part of a nuclear family, im a single mother. Nuthin' nuclear.

When my ds1 was 2, and going to the playground with grandma while i stayed home with a newborn, he just wasnt as happy as when i came along. Yes, he loves grandma, and loves to spend time with her, but he still preferred me, and he was unhappy with any separation.

Just my experience....
post #85 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by contactmaya View Post
Well, in my experience, anytime after 10months of age, the baby didnt like to be with anyone but mommy (me). It was nice to play with aunt, grandma, friend, but only if i was around. The child doth protest, and i dont think this is brought on by some kind of commercial campaign. I liked the sound of your argument, but i dont think its right.

Im not part of a nuclear family, im a single mother. Nuthin' nuclear.

When my ds1 was 2, and going to the playground with grandma while i stayed home with a newborn, he just wasnt as happy as when i came along. Yes, he loves grandma, and loves to spend time with her, but he still preferred me, and he was unhappy with any separation.

Just my experience....
My son went through some periods like that too, but I think a lot of the issue was that that was what he was used to. He wasn't that way with my husband, who was around the house a lot (working from home). And after a week or so he wasn't that way with his nanny, who started working for us when he was about 16 months, for 10 hours a week (I was home to that point).

I'm not fundamentally opposed to children experiencing some frustration and upset. I'm opposed to them experiencing that in a non-caring environment (CIO, punitive time outs, etc.) I'm opposed to not evaluating whether they are getting more comfortable. There probably are kids who can't adjust for whatever reason. But I also don't think that fussing when something is not routine is a sign that the mother must stay conjoined at the hip.

I know I diverge from some of the AP thinking on this board with this, and that's ok. I'm very into gentle discipline, age-appropriateness, etc. But I am not opposed to letting my child experience some anxiety in the arms of a loving caregiver and learning that - mum comes back.

Separation anxiety peaks around 18 months & is normal and should be listened to in terms of comforting the child and accommodating it when possible - but I also don't think it's a sign that the only answer is to stay together either. A child of that age is aware of object permanence. I think it is okay for a child of that age to be learning that comfort comes from other people (unlike say, a newborn who wants to nurse).
post #86 of 124
I gotta say, maya, my daughter is nothing like your sons then. And yes, she is extremely attached to me, and, in general, I am her "favorite" person. She goes to me for cuddles, playtime, and comfort more than anyone else. But...

...she's been going to daycare since she was 3 months old when I had no choice but to go back to work (although I have very little desire to be a fulltime SAHM). She does occasionally have days when I have to stay a little bit to give her extra hugs and kisses because she needs it, but most of the time, I stand there trying to get her attention for her to *at least* say goodbye to me, but I get nada.

And when we come to pick her up, she runs laughing into our arms. There is no protesting going or coming.

GuildJenn, great post. And along the lines of attachment, your post reminded me of a training I went to on disordered attachment in children with a well-known author. Someone asked about daycare being harmful in the separation from a parent. He basically said, that assuming the quality of care is good of course, that daycare can foster healthy attachment in babies and toddlers (even those with some disordered attachment). He asked how there could be something negative about a child loving and being loved?
post #87 of 124
The thing that I find frustrating about these discussions (here at MDC) is the concept of attachment parenting and what that actually means. It is frustrating for me because I have seen and continue to see an extreme checklist approach to the philosophy which I thinks defeats the very purpose of attachment. Attachment is not born out of minutes and hours, but of bonds created through an attention to needs and creating a connection and bond between the child and parent. As a child who was adopted by a stepmother at age four and who had no prior joined-at-the-hip experience with this woman, I formed a bond with her despite the adverse conditions. I love her and she loves me and despite all the pre-four-year-old stuff that I encountered...I'm not disfunctional and I'm not a serial killer!

I'm not trying to undermine the mother/child connection, but I guess I see it from the point of view that even in adverse situations (something as simple as separation anxiety), the basic questions are "am I loved" and "do I feel secure." In my case, I did feel loved and did feel secure and my needs were met despite the fact that bio-mom wasn't there to meet those needs. Other people met those needs and gave me sense of security and well-being. If you're scared that you will lose the bond, then you must question if that bond was really in secure in the first place. Just my opinion, but I believe that securely bonded children will know that the parent is there for them despite the lack of physical presence. I thought that was what attachment parenting was all about.

We want the best for our children. We are dealt certain cards and we make the best of it. We are human beings with varying experiences, needs and circumstances. It is normal and historical for parents to agonize over their parenting and their children's futures.
post #88 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by grniys View Post
And an hour a week away from my kids? That's not enough time for a mani & a pedi, or to do all my grocery shopping by myself!
I'm sorry I don't think my post was clear. I didn't mean that you should not ever be away from your children for more than an hour a week. What I meant was that I would not feel comfortable leaving my children in an institutionalized setting for more than an hour.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
Well it really depends on whose book you're reading.

My perspective is that the importance of the primary caregiver (mother) has been completely overstated since the artificial era of the 1950s nuclear family - a VERY brief period of time. I honestly think that while AP certainly challenges us to be present for our kids and recognize the importance of a breastfeeding relationship in the first (and beyond) year that the emphasis on the mother as sole caregiver is actually a kind of feminist backlash movement that comes out of the societal trend to isolate mothers and families.

And I actually think this is very very much a consumer-driven trend because a solitary mother is much more likely to spend on consumer goods to entertain baby, to make her sacrifice worthwhile (from electronic toys to expensive Waldorf-type goodies), to keep her home immaculate, etc.
That's really interesting because because I see our culture as pushing women to leave their children with professional caregivers who are supposed to be more qualified to raise our children so that the mother must return to the workforce to "contribute to society." I also see it as consumer-driven because two incomes has become the norm in order to be able to afford our lavish lifestyles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
In the past young babies would likely have been cared for by in poor people's cases the extended family - aunts, grandmothers, older siblings - and by servants in the upper classes. Going back further I think Sarah Hrdy makes a really good case for alloparenting in primates.
I absolutely believe that the extended family and the village is the ideal way to raise children. But I don't believe taking our children to preschool mimics this very well. I see schools as a holding place for them to do "children's activities" and keep them out of the way for adults to do "adult activities." This is supposed to prepare them for the real world better than actually living in the real world.

Bringing this back to the original thread topic, I just don't see it as a good thing to begin separating the adult and child world even earlier than we already do.
post #89 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post
The thing that I find frustrating about these discussions (here at MDC) is the concept of attachment parenting and what that actually means. It is frustrating for me because I have seen and continue to see an extreme checklist approach to the philosophy which I thinks defeats the very purpose of attachment. Attachment is not born out of minutes and hours, but of bonds created through an attention to needs and creating a connection and bond between the child and parent. As a child who was adopted by a stepmother at age four and who had no prior joined-at-the-hip experience with this woman, I formed a bond with her despite the adverse conditions. I love her and she loves me and despite all the pre-four-year-old stuff that I encountered...I'm not disfunctional and I'm not a serial killer!

I'm not trying to undermine the mother/child connection, but I guess I see it from the point of view that even in adverse situations (something as simple as separation anxiety), the basic questions are "am I loved" and "do I feel secure." In my case, I did feel loved and did feel secure and my needs were met despite the fact that bio-mom wasn't there to meet those needs. Other people met those needs and gave me sense of security and well-being. If you're scared that you will lose the bond, then you must question if that bond was really in secure in the first place. Just my opinion, but I believe that securely bonded children will know that the parent is there for them despite the lack of physical presence. I thought that was what attachment parenting was all about.

We want the best for our children. We are dealt certain cards and we make the best of it. We are human beings with varying experiences, needs and circumstances. It is normal and historical for parents to agonize over their parenting and their children's futures.
This is really a great post. There seems to be this undercurrent of thought on this board about how if you aren't do X, Y, and Z exactly as prescribed in the attachment parents handbook, you are doing it wrong and will damage your children forever.

There's also this subtle judgement that is always flowing underneath the top layer of "Oh, whatever works for your family, but I WOULD NEVER" which is not particularly helpful.
post #90 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karamom View Post
That's really interesting because because I see our culture as pushing women to leave their children with professional caregivers who are supposed to be more qualified to raise our children so that the mother must return to the workforce to "contribute to society." I also see it as consumer-driven because two incomes has become the norm in order to be able to afford our lavish lifestyles.
Actually, if you really dig into the research on the need for two incomes you'll find most people in the US, anyway, are not striving for a "lavish" lifestyle. It's actually mostly about being able to afford real estate in good school districts. From Salon's Q&A with Elizabeth Warren:

"Being a parent is the best predictor that a person will file for bankruptcy. Are parents more profligate than nonparents? What's wrong with this family? Since they're going bankrupt four times more often than their parents did a generation ago, I thought that this would be a story of overconsumption -- too many trips to the mall, too many designer toddler outfits, too many Gameboys.

The data show, however, that today's families are actually

spending less on consumption [emphasis mine] that their parents spent a generation ago: 22 percent less on clothing, 21 percent less on food, including eating out, 44 percent less on appliances, less on furniture, less on floor coverings.

And I have to tell you, that finding stopped me dead in my tracks. It's counter to every conventional wisdom out there....

Today's families are in financial trouble, because they're spending so much more on big fixed expenses -- mortgage, health insurance, car, preschool, after-school care and college. " http://dir.salon.com/tech/feature/20...nts/index.html


Quote:
Originally Posted by Karamom View Post
I absolutely believe that the extended family and the village is the ideal way to raise children. But I don't believe taking our children to preschool mimics this very well. I see schools as a holding place for them to do "children's activities" and keep them out of the way for adults to do "adult activities." This is supposed to prepare them for the real world better than actually living in the real world.

Bringing this back to the original thread topic, I just don't see it as a good thing to begin separating the adult and child world even earlier than we already do.
I have to wonder if you've been in a good preschool. Have you?

It's true it doesn't mimic time with a variety of adult - but so does most time with adults. Because ADULTS don't work communally to harvest the farm or all get together to make candles or whatever anymore. And the idea that they used to spend more time with kids - ehn.

First, the research doesn't support it. Second, my own experience doesn't.

This is exactly why I found Hold Onto Your Kids kind of ridiculous, frankly. I grew up in the 70s when stay-at-home moms were so much the norm that people PROTESTED that the school was considering opening a lunch programme for those evil, evil moms that wouldn't have a hot meal on the table for their kids.

And let me tell you - our moms, overall, were not there listening to our every word and seeking attachment with us. They just weren't.

Adult and child spheres were way WAY WAY more separate than they are today. WAY. And all the data suggests that is true - that parents spend more time interacting with their kids -- even working parents -- than parents did a generation ago.

I watch Mad Men (which is set a little earlier) and I laugh, because that's what it was like. The moms were continually telling us to go outside and get out of their hair, or go to our rooms. I mean sure - they loved us. They were there at home. But they were not exactly - connected. Bullying was mostly seen as a kid problem and so on.

I suspect this was also true of my grandparents' generation where children were to be "seen and not heard" and "little pitchers have big ears" and all that.

I am really really suspicious of this golden era of stay at home mothering. And I'm suspicious of the idea that family caring was somehow gloriously better. I think it was different - I'd characterize it as "less competent, more love."

ETA: I would say we were much more peer oriented at that time. I never told my parents I was being bullied. In my teens, pre cell-phone, I would frequently not be in touch all day. I was just home for dinner.

And my own parents were even more so. My grandmother used to lock her kids out of the house on weekends so they wouldn't bother her. My dad's parents didn't really know he was dating until he was basically engaged. My grandfather often recalled that his father, a farmer, only ever really had one conversation with him that wasn't ordering him around. My other grandmother was sent to work on an aunt's family farm at 13 and saw her parents only a few times after that.
post #91 of 124

well now?

friends, it seems that we, as mothers and fathers, are defending our positions as right and true ways. but families have many ways of doing and living.

we live in china. i, a mother of a two year old daughter, employ an ayi ('aunt' or nanny) for 12 hours a week. i use this time to work in gainful employ, as well as work on my own artistic projects. sometimes i go to a nice coffeeshoppe and have a nice latte all to myself.

sometimes i choose to let our daughter have time with another caring adult, so i can simply sit and think. as a wife, mother, and woman. i indulge, on occasion. in the ability to take careful stock of my life, my family, and renew my energy for all that i do.

i do not find any guilt in this. i am also privileged by living in a culture that has options such as an 'ayi' (surrogate aunt). the 'nuclear family', by my understanding, is a modern and western invention. in many societies, presently and throughout history, parents and children benefit by the support of the extended family. in cultures where the extended family is no longer the norm, i will not be quick to condemn a parents' choice (or necessity) to avail themselves of options such as day-care.

i say this from the perspective of a radical unschooler, nomad mama....but i realize that other mamas are faced with different circumstances. some of us have the resources to stay at home. some don't. some of us believe that a preschool is an appropriate setting for their child. others do not. wherein lies the conundrum?

i feel that mums and dads need to be full people - not reduce themselves to a role as merely 'parent'. please do not misunderstand....'parent' is a grand title. but to be good and effective guides and inspirations to our children, we must continue to grow and develop as people. as mothers and fathers. as women and men (or fathers/fathers etc as the case may be). as people. we must continue to be dynamic, expanding human beings if we want to raise aware and integrated children.

as long as we have taken our child's wishes and temperament into consideration, and as long as we are striving, consciously, for the best awareness of our family, i do not see why anyone can proclaim one path against another. stay at home, day care.....what matters, in my idea, is that we are connected with the particular needs of our children, not some 'good parenting' pecking-game.
post #92 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post

I watch Mad Men (which is set a little earlier) and I laugh, because that's what it was like. The moms were continually telling us to go outside and get out of their hair, or go to our rooms. I mean sure - they loved us. They were there at home. But they were not exactly - connected. Bullying was mostly seen as a kid problem and so on.

I suspect this was also true of my grandparents' generation where children were to be "seen and not heard" and "little pitchers have big ears" and all that.

I am really really suspicious of this golden era of stay at home mothering. And I'm suspicious of the idea that family caring was somehow gloriously better. I think it was different - I'd characterize it as "less competent, more love."

ETA: I would say we were much more peer oriented at that time. I never told my parents I was being bullied. In my teens, pre cell-phone, I would frequently not be in touch all day. I was just home for dinner.

And my own parents were even more so. My grandmother used to lock her kids out of the house on weekends so they wouldn't bother her. My dad's parents didn't really know he was dating until he was basically engaged. My grandfather often recalled that his father, a farmer, only ever really had one conversation with him that wasn't ordering him around. My other grandmother was sent to work on an aunt's family farm at 13 and saw her parents only a few times after that.
As much as I enjoy watching Mad Men because I think the production is well done, I find it hard to watch the family scenes with children for this reason. They've really captured what it was like.

Your point about children being sent away to work is important too. It wasn't at all unusual for children to be "sent out" to work at very tender ages. Not pre-schoolers, which is what this thread is about, however there also were a lot of neglected babies and toddlers left with minimal care while their parents were out bringing in the sheaves.

There's a strong sense of nostalgia for a mythical halcyon past where a small nuclear family group bonded together and provided for each other. In fact, for much of history, lives were pretty desperate and a lot of burdens were placed on the very young to manage their own survival. It isn't a recent phenomenon either. Children worked in fields, as domestic servants, in mines, as pages to knights in Medieval times, in the Navy and the Army, long before they were ever sent into factories after the Industrial Revolution. There may have been a very small portion of wealthy families who could afford to keep their children at home and educate them. When we are comparing trends in child-rearing today, it's important to keep an accurate historical view in mind.
post #93 of 124
[QUOTE=Karamom;15877406]I'm sorry I don't think my post was clear. I didn't mean that you should not ever be away from your children for more than an hour a week. What I meant was that I would not feel comfortable leaving my children in an institutionalized setting for more than an hour.

Karamom--so you do spend more than one hour away from your children?

Who do you leave them with? In my case, I have NO babysitter, no family no friends to take dd. Then what? I am not allowed to go out because I have no family to care for DD?

Or, is it okay that I have hired two preschool teachers that are loving and caring to watch DD for 7 hours a week?
post #94 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karamom View Post
I absolutely believe that the extended family and the village is the ideal way to raise children. But I don't believe taking our children to preschool mimics this very well. I see schools as a holding place for them to do "children's activities" and keep them out of the way for adults to do "adult activities." This is supposed to prepare them for the real world better than actually living in the real world.
.
Have you been to a good preschool? Because ours enriched our lives considerably. We were part of a true community. I know standards vary, but I can't believe ours is the only child-care center like that?

And back to the original question - we attended a child-care center that was a converted home. One side was referred to as the "toddler" side, and the other was referred to as the "preschool" side, and it's generally 3.5 and up.

I've seen places that call themselves things like "Kiddie Academy" that boast the "learning environment", but I don't check those out because they are not my style.
post #95 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karamom View Post
I think if you need a break it would be better to leave them with daddy or grandma or a good friend for a bit so they still get that interaction with the adult world. I apologize if I have offended anyone but it really makes me cringe sending children to daycare, preschool, even elementary school. Now flame away.
I don't think I am in a rare position in that I don't have lots of relatives and friends chomping at the bit to take care of my children for me. Yes, they sometimes help out when needed. But no, I could not use them for regular breaks (and most of them work full-time, anyway). And while I do sometimes go out while DH watches them, it would be nice to get some time with my DH as well, and have some breaks when he is at work.

I also think my DD got more interaction and was happier at her Montessori preschool than she generally was spending time with family members who weren't always focused on her.

I love being with my kids. But I love it more when I also have time to focus on myself and my needs. In an ideal world I would have lots of loving family and friends that create a village for my children, retired grandparents that want to spend time with them in the day, etc. But I don't. And, sadly, I'm far from alone in that. DD's Montessori school really felt like family after a little while, and DS will go there when he's 3. And I'm really glad that he will get to be with those wonderful, loving teachers that DD enjoyed so much.
post #96 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by exigently View Post
as long as we have taken our child's wishes and temperament into consideration, and as long as we are striving, consciously, for the best awareness of our family, i do not see why anyone can proclaim one path against another. stay at home, day care.....what matters, in my idea, is that we are connected with the particular needs of our children, not some 'good parenting' pecking-game.
I so agree. And I would also add in "not making decisions in fear."

I did for the first year and half of my son's life and that's one thing I would change going forward. I had a lot of prejudices that were not based on anything but fear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post
There's a strong sense of nostalgia for a mythical halcyon past where a small nuclear family group bonded together and provided for each other. In fact, for much of history, lives were pretty desperate and a lot of burdens were placed on the very young to manage their own survival. It isn't a recent phenomenon either. Children worked in fields, as domestic servants, in mines, as pages to knights in Medieval times, in the Navy and the Army, long before they were ever sent into factories after the Industrial Revolution. There may have been a very small portion of wealthy families who could afford to keep their children at home and educate them. When we are comparing trends in child-rearing today, it's important to keep an accurate historical view in mind.
Totally. If we are talking about books and research and that kind of thing (as opposed to individual decisions which I totally support in almost any direction) I think it is important to try to keep those things in mind, especially if we are talking about mothers, where I do believe there is a push to disempower women economically combined with a kind of "boomer nostalgia machine".
post #97 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

There's a strong sense of nostalgia for a mythical halcyon past where a small nuclear family group bonded together and provided for each other. In fact, for much of history, lives were pretty desperate and a lot of burdens were placed on the very young to manage their own survival. It isn't a recent phenomenon either. Children worked in fields, as domestic servants, in mines, as pages to knights in Medieval times, in the Navy and the Army, long before they were ever sent into factories after the Industrial Revolution. There may have been a very small portion of wealthy families who could afford to keep their children at home and educate them. When we are comparing trends in child-rearing today, it's important to keep an accurate historical view in mind.
I agree. I'm told the book The Way We Never Were is very good. This thread has reminded me to check it out.
post #98 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post
As much as I enjoy watching Mad Men because I think the production is well done, I find it hard to watch the family scenes with children for this reason. They've really captured what it was like.
My mom can't watch Mad Men because it's too painful for her to be reminded of those elements of her childhood.
post #99 of 124
Yesterday when I wrote my posts I was feeling argumentative and in the mood for a debate but reading through this today I am feeling really yucky about this thread. Maybe it's all the pregnancy hormones. I want to expand but I can't at the moment as I have to watch my children. I am planning to come back and write more after they go to bed tonight.
post #100 of 124
Wow. Interesting read.

Just wanted to pipe in that I call my (first and only) 19 mo. DD's daycare a "school" because that's the sign I know. I though it was funny to ask her "are you ready to go to baby school, to learn to be a baby?" Also Daddy is a FT student, so I was hoping it would help her understand when he's not around that "Daddy is at school."

Although I have to WOTH FT, I'll be a SAHM in about nine months, at which time I plan to put DD in some sort of care two mornings a week for my own sanity. She LOVES other children. I might call it school, but if they had her sitting down "learning" in a school-like setting I would pull her out in a heartbeat. But to each his own...that's the wonderful thing about having your own children. You get to make the choices!
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