My dd is days away from turning 1. I stayed home with her the first 4 months after she was born and had a really tough time emotionally with the idea of leaving her to go back to work. We couldn't find a daycare in our area that could accommodate a 4 month old, so we ended up going the nanny route. While our nanny is really great with our dd, we are just not 'nanny people' if that makes any sense. It has been nearly 8 months and I still feel like "someone has been sitting in my chair" all of the time. I really miss our home being ours.
Now that my dd is nearly 1, I checked out a daycare nearby today. It was a little overwhelming to see so many little ones in one space, but the ratio is 2 children to 1 caretaker. I have a list of pros and cons, and am leaning towards putting dd in daycare, but I wonder if I'm being selfish. I do want the best for my family.
I'm curious if other parents have made this switch from nanny to daycare and what your experience has been? Are you glad you did it?
Pros of sending dd to daycare:
- Social interaction with other children. Dd currently spends most of her time with adults and a handful of children that the nanny's friends babysit.
- We would save nearly $1k per month, which we could really use.
- I could have the flexibility of working from home when I'd like without having to tip-toe around the nanny.
- Our home would be ours again!
- Wouldn't have the nanny constantly telling me what the latest products are that my lo supposedly "needs"
- All of the "books" work would be handled by the daycare which is really nice
Cons of sending dd to daycare:
- Dd is familiar and comfortable around her nanny, so it might be hard for her to transition
- Dd would't have the luxury of constant 1-on-1 attention
- Breaking the news to the nanny, who we actually care about
Attachment theory suggests that children are best in a one-on-one type of situation through around age 36 months. There are no proven benefits to having a child in day care before age 24 months (on the contrary, it may actually be associated with worse outcomes in the early months -- I was just analyzing data on this from Chile suggesting that). Children that age do not need social interaction -- that is not important until age 3. She is already attached to the nanny, which is awesome -- throwing her into a transition to day care would introduce a lot of stress into her life (another con you don't have listed), at least temporarily.
Of course, not everyone has the flexibility of considering a nanny/babysitter type situation, so if it is necessary, going to a good one is going to be okay. Certainly, if there is really a 2 to 1 ratio (I find that hard to believe!) then that would be a good sign. Some of the corporate day cares are really bad about staff turnover and moving teachers/children from class to class, which is also not great for the children and their need to bond with a secondary caregiver. Someone I know in child development said that children who start day care at a young age (I think less than 1) end up having their little "family" at the day care and do thrive, but transitioning to day care between then and age 1.5-3 can be very difficult if they are not used to it from when they are little.
If you are not comfortable with the nanny situation, have you thought about looking for a SAHM to help care for your little one? This would be similar to a home day care kind of situation, but ideally, there wouldn't be any other kids (other than the SAHM's child/ren). This would give you the freedom to work from home, be in your house during the day, etc., but would still give your DD more individualized attention plus the consistency of always having the same care provider. Of course, the transition might be tough, but if you are really uncomfortable with having a nanny, this would be a good option. The other benefit is that since they are just getting some extra income and not primarily focused on your LO, you can pay a lower rate (where we are, more like $8 instead of $10-15 per hour). We had DS1 with a SAHM who had a daughter his age from ages 24-44 months, and it was the best possible solution. She took them on little outings in the car and of course stroller, and he had some great experiences, formed a strong attachment with her and her daughter, and did great. We had tried him in day care at 24 months and it was extremely stressful for him, he had a terrible transition, and we pulled him after 2 weeks. He had a very smooth transition to being with this care provider!
Anyway, I think we ended up with an awesome scenario -- one-on-one with a nanny until almost 20 months, then shared care with a SAHM from then until 3.5 (our son was a late bloomer -- some will be ready for day care much earlier). We probably could have moved to a SAHM from a bit earlier (our nanny was not the greatest), and sure we dealt with some turnover (one SAHM's hubby lost his job and she had to go back to work), but it was so worth it to find that one person who was with him for a year and a half. Now he is totally thriving in his preschool!
Of course, you also have to keep in mind temperament -- some babies have a much harder time with separation, are much more intense, etc., and may have a more difficult transition to day care. Other babies are easygoing, and might do fine, no matter when they go. You really have to keep that in mind as well.
Anyway, just some thoughts! Good luck with your decision!
DS1 (6) , DS2 (3) , DD is here!
We just made this switch. I went back to work when my ds2 was just shy of 2 and my ds3 was about 4 months old. For the first 6 weeks, they stayed with a friend of mine who is a SAHM, in her home. Then we hired someone to come to our house and she was with us for about 8 months and then she went crazy (there is a thread here somewhere about it, LOL). Then we hired another nanny who was only with us 3 weeks before taking another job. At that point, we decided stability had to play a role and daycare seemed the way to go.
We researched all the daycares in town with the best reputations and decided on our local Montessori school. This is their 4th week attending and it gets better everyday. They both cry when I leave, but by the time I get to work and turn the camera on (their school has video cameras so you can check in on them) they are playing and happy.
I'm not going to say it was a seamless, super easy transition, because it wasn't, but they are fine.
A 2:1 ratio is great! My ds3's room is 1:6 and even with that ratio I observe him getting lots of love and snuggles each day (although, of course, he isn't the sole recipient of these snuggles).
Wife to an amazing man , mommy to 3 wild dudes: ds1 (5/23/05 @ 30 weeks), ds2 (3/5/09) , and ds3 (9/26/10) . Part time librarian, full time mommy, occasional chef and maid.
Separately, the nanny wants to have a talk with us tomorrow and I have this strange feeling that she may have found another job. But I could be completely off. From our conversations, I believe that she has worked with affluent families and we are really on a tight budget so I imagine she misses the luxury of working with a higher income family.
Looks like a spot will be available at the end of this month so thongs seem to be falling into place.
The daycare itself is rather small but the staff seem to be really lovely and collaborative.
It was nice to hear that you went through a similar situation and are happy with the move to daycare.
I'll chime in, even though I never had a nanny for my son (he was kept at home for about the first year - his grandmother watched him but I hate her so that was a bad situation!).
I love my ds being in daycare, and I always have. He loves it (he is HIGHLY social and LOVES being around other children). I have always had my ds in a wonderful daycare, and we have used 3 different ones. (the first was located at my law school, when I graduated we switched to one close to my home, and then when we moved to a different state we found yet another - we never switched because of bad circumstances)
If you like the teachers, and there is a good ratio (1:2 is FANTASTIC!!!), I'm sure it will be fine. I love having my ds close to my work, which is one reason that I love his current daycare - its right across the street from my office, and his other experiences have also been amazing.
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