Home Daycare vs. Center for 21 month old - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 09-18-2004, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am returning back to work after being a SAHM for 3 1/2 years. I'm putting my almost 4 year-old into a pre-school and I really feel he'll get the most there.

However, his 21 month old sister I'm not so sure about. This preschool does infant care as well and it's nice and bright and cheery. But, do you think she's too young for a structured daycare center environment?

My neighbor is starting a home daycare in October. It really sounds like fun -- but on top of my above question, I want to ask you all what you think. First of all -- it's her and her friend who are diong it and they plan on taking the kids to the library every Tuesday for story time and to the Science Center every Thursday. They are both experienced pre-school teachers so they are planning lots of fun activities too. They will provide food and the normal stuff. All this for $200 per week -- which to me seems WAY high. Around here, daycare centers charge about $125-$150 for her age group. Are home daycares normally more expensive than centers? Does this sound like a normal price?

So, to sum up my rambling questions:

1 -- Which environment do like best for YOUR toddler (pre pre-schooler?).

2 -- Should I worry about someone driving my toddler to these activities -- they would be very fun and it's something I do with my kids, but what about someone else?

3 -- Are home daycares normally more expensive and does $200 sounds like a lot?

Any other advice for a nervous mom returning back to work would be awesome!!

Thanks!

Laura
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#2 of 9 Old 09-18-2004, 12:46 PM
 
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#3 of 9 Old 09-18-2004, 09:00 PM
 
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I pay $800/month for my son... but in a dc.. usually they're not that different in $$$$ around here.

With that said.... I think I would pay almost anything to feel good about my ds being there. This center is way more expensive than others around but it's incredible.

there are great dc's.. great home based... you got to go with your gut on this. It's not about money or type... definitely go with the people who you trust the most.
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#4 of 9 Old 09-20-2004, 03:54 PM
 
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Personally I usually have preferred a center for my kids. Around here, home child care is generally not more $ than centers.

I'm not really comfortable with people transporting & keeping track of groups of kids that young. Make sure to ask what kind of insurance coverage they carry-- a lot of homeowners & auto insurance policies will NOT cover accidents related to business use (ie, a regular policy may not pay if your child is hurt while at their home or in their car). They may not even be aware that that is the case if they haven't read their policies closely.
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#5 of 9 Old 09-20-2004, 04:44 PM
 
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Both have their advantages...the center means your children would be going to the same place, no extra trips anywhere. Personally, I put my oldest in a home daycare because she was a really close friend and we held the same views on raising children. She was a lot cheaper than a center but I don't know if they are all like this. The thing with the lady that watched mine was that she was great to work with, I didn't have to deal with an administration. But, she was by herself and sometimes she seemed overwhelmed. One time, her mother passed early in the morning and she wasn't able to catch me before I left so I was late to work trying to find somewhere to take my son. In a center, you wouldn't have to worry about that. I wasn't upset about it and I had a cool boss so it wasn't much of a problem but I wonder if the other moms had to deal with flack. Whichever makes you more comfortable.
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#6 of 9 Old 09-22-2004, 04:45 PM
 
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I had my 15 month old signed up for a daycare in the area, and backed out at the last minute. I just got a really bad vibe about the whole thing. I have no idea why, as the place was really nice, the teachers seemed intellegent and kind, and the program seemed really good. But I just had this aweful feeling in the pit of my stomache about leaving her there.

We decided to go with a sitter that lives about 2 minutes from me. I felt much better about that decision. She has one other little girl that she watches (a 17 month old), and is the mother of 6 year old twins, so I know she can handle two toddlers at once. We pay her $120 a week, but that revolves around my husband's school schedule, so it's not a full week of sitting. She provides all of the food, and happily uses our cloth diapers (something the daycare refused to do).

My daughter is super shy, and has major stranger anxiety. Maybe that's why I felt aweful about leaving her in a place with 30 other kids. This way, she's kind of weaned into the situation, and we can put her into a daycare in the future if we want. She's gotten much less shy since she's been there. She's even let a few family members she rarely sees hold her...something that's been forbidden in the past because she panicks and freaks out. The other little girl there is very outgoing, and asks total strangers to pick her up when they're out for walks, so that must be where she's getting it from. Anyway, I've gone off on a tangent here.

We have my daughter on a waiting list for the daycare that's on campus where I work, and as soon as she gets in there (18 months old min.) we'll be switching over. Don't know if I've been much help. :P
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#7 of 9 Old 09-24-2004, 04:48 PM
 
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I don't know, I'm a big advocate of MY daycare center - they are so great! However, I wouldn't expect all daycare centers to be run the same way, so, like other posters have said, you need to figure out what factors are important, and then make sure whatever setting you choose has those factors. My main recommendation would be to do LOTS of observation at random times of the day. That's the best way to really get to know a provider's/providers' style.

If I were to be out looking again, some important things I'd really be on the lookout for would be the adult/child ratio, how they handle discipline, how do they handle crying children, how do they get kids to sleep, food (I actually like providing my own, that way I'm in control of what they eat, I know how much of it they've eaten at the end of the day, etc.), and what kinds of activities they do with the kids.

I personally wouldn't want my dcp driving my children around, because you just never know what could happen. Maybe they can't take field trips or what not, but those are the sort of thing that I'd like to do with them when they're home. My daycare center doesn't have any problem keeping the kids busy and engaged all day, and dd really enjoys her time there so I assume she's not bored!

~ Meredith, mom to dd(Jan '02), ds1(May '04) and ds2 (June '07) ~ :
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#8 of 9 Old 09-24-2004, 05:54 PM
 
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I have used both in the past (we now tag team), and for me, it depended on the child.

No way in he!! would my youngest ever be able to handle a daycare center. what your neighbor friends want to do sounds wonderful, and i am sure my youngest would have done wonderfully there. My other two went to camp after school, and on vacation days when i had to work, and they had a blast! They had homework help for my older child, and my then 4yo thrived on his teachers orderly classroom and guidance (she was a retired NYC school teacher from the Bronx!). She was perfect for my middle son, and we have a picture of her in my sons picture album! Miss Barbara was a perfect fit.

I don't know about price. I paid $400 a month for 4 days, yup 4 days. This was a private sitter. I made sure i could afford it, as without her, i would never have been able to sleep! (I was working nights and my DH brought the baby there in the mornings).
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#9 of 9 Old 09-26-2004, 08:03 PM
 
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Great advice from everyone.

My experience has also taught me that there is no right solution for everyone. You have to take into consideration your child's personality and the difference between the possibilities you have.

For us, home-daycare has worked best for our two youngest until they were 3-4 years old. I have postponed kindergarden for our youngest until he is four, because we think he needs the safe home environment our excellent day-care mom is able to offer.
But I also know kids who bloom when they start in day-care centres already when they are 2-3.

So, my advice is listen to others, but listen most to your own heart and your own knowledge of your children and your situation.
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