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Hello mamas and daddies,

I was just wondering if you guys could give me some stories about your childrens' daycares. How old they are, what the routine is, how they adjusted, what they eat and do there, etc. etc.

My daughter Ayla is going to be starting daycare at 18 months in August for half-days four days per week.

I'm curious to hear stories about what your centres are like, what you like or don't like about them, etc.

Obviously for my own sake, I'd prefer positive ones, but I definitely need to be realistic and should probably be open to not-so-positive ones too. :LOL

Thanks guys, I'm kinda nervous but I know it will be fine.
 

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My DD started daycare at 18 months, too. I was worried it would be a rough transition, but she loves it. She adores being with the other kids, the playground, everything. Her face just lights up when we get there, which makes me feel wonderful!

I was a little worried about meals, because she's a fairly picky eater at home. But she eats everything they put in front of her...even things she's never seen or that I'd never think to give her at home. We're a vegetarian household, so I do have the option of requesting alternate meals for her on days when they have meat.

I'm not sure if you've already found a daycare for your baby. If not, my advice is to take other people's recommendations with a grain of salt. Some of the daycares that have the best reputations or came with the highest recommendations from friends just didn't feel right to me when I visited them. You really have to trust your mama instinct. I went with a very reputable centre, but it wasn't one that had been recommended to me. But when I visited and met the teachers, I just knew it was right for our family.

I was also very lucky to find a place that was very accepting of cloth diapering. Some of the other centres I visited weren't.

It's only been a month, but it's been a really positive experience for us so far. The only drawback is that DD got sick a couple of weeks ago and missed a full week of daycare, and she's now having a bit of a rough time re-adjusting (the first time she's shown separation anxiety).

Good luck to you!
 

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Finding a wonderful daycare is worth it's weight in gold and peace of mind!


DS started daycare at 17 months. It is a family daycare, down the street from us. The care provider is truly a gift. I think she's one of perhaps 20 people in the world who can romp with five 2 and 3 year olds all day and feel energized and excited at the end of it all!

She is wonderful because of so many things, but here are a few:
- her home is truly a home. The kids play all over the house. DS naps in her bed. They read on her couch, etc. There isn't a separate "daycare" space. For me, that's a prime reason to choose a home daycare -- the continuity of a homey feeling. (this is not a vote against centers...I just mean that if the care is in a home, it should feel homey. We visited one home where there was a daycare room and the kids only played there. It was tiny and seemed ridiculous and sad when there was a whole house available for fun.)

- she takes them on adventures all the time. I think DS has seen more of the Boston area than I have. She has carseats (new) in her Explorer and they frequently pile in and go to the beach, the museum, a far away park, etc. DS has even napped for 2+ hours on a blanket on these adventures -- unheard of!

- DS has LOTS of food allergies. Because of them, she's become an avid tester of gluten-free/allergen-free foods and drives all around to find them for him. I have no worries, as a result, about what he eats there.

- she feels like a partner in caring for DS. If something is going on that's unusual, I let her know, and she always asks how I deal with it. She then uses those techniques, believing in the importance of consistency between hom and care.

There's so much more....just go with someone or a place that really gives you the right feel. I am at ease knowing DS is in the care of a wonderful person and that he has a terrific time there. It makes doing my work much easier too!

good luck,
megin
 

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I have a positive story for you too. I pipe in with our daycare any chance I get cause I think its unique and I like for people to know there are centers that are AP-centered.

We go to a Montesorri based daycare. It is infant/toddler, preschool, and just recently K-3rd grade. So we can stay there for many years if we want and get a spot in the preschool automatically which has a long waiting list if your not in the infant/toddler community. They only cloth diaper and do their own laundry. They require whole foods only, no sugary or salty junk food allowed. They also have no cribs, they have little cots, and no CIO. And no pacifiers. No plastic toys, only wood and books, and play structure things to climb on. Sounds like a lot of no-nos now that I am writing this out but basicly its doing all the best practices and not relying on tools that make it easier for the care provider, they truly do whats best for the kids. It is very child oriented and gentle guidance in learning to get along with others, share, potty learn, etc. DD has adjusted really well but she started at 6 months, before stranger anxiety set in, I think it might be different for an older baby. She has gotten some colds but that is to be expected. Good luck with your search, go with your gut feelings as a pp said!
 

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We got so lucky with daycare!
DD is only in 2 mornings/week right now. DH is a SAHD.

We've been having a college student/babysitter come in 2 mornings/week for about 6 months, so he can get some writing done, but they last about 2-3 months then get stressed or something else happens and they quit. So just last week we started dd in a daycare 2 mornings/week, to start prepping the ground for preschool. We really lucked out--there's a few on our street, and dh sees them at local playgrounds. He'd talked to one of the DCPs often and knew he really liked her, so we called her a few weeks ago, and not only does she have openings, but our very very pt needs will work for her right now! DD is one of three toddlers there--and all three still nurse. And Connie (the dcp) will use cloth or disposable--our choice. (We just bring her whatever we want her to use.) She tries to serve whole grain snacks, and organic fruits & veggies. She's just great.

She doesn't use time-outs. It's in her house--bascially the first floor & back-yard are dc, and the upstairs is her private area.

DD so far is adjusting really well. Of course, she's there on such a pt basis that it's more of an adventure right now than anything, and she's not totally tired of all the toys like she is at our house. She apparently does a really good job on her lunches, too--much better than she usually does at our house!

Sorry, no time for much more. Oh, dd is 27 months. I thought it'd be really rough on her, since she hasn't been away from us much at all, but she seems to be just going along with the flow...
 

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Here's actually a vote for big chain daycares, of all things! :LOL

Our 3yo dd goes to a ChildTime franchise. It is the size of a small school -- six classrooms, and looks like a school inside, with big bulletin boards regularly redecorated, parent-teacher nights, a parents' association, etc. The center takes children from 6 weeks to 5 years old. DD started there when she was almost 2.5, transferring from a home daycare that went terribly bad.

We love this place. The classrooms are spotless, cheerful, decorated by the teachers and the kids in each class according to curricular themes...like right now, they're learning about the animals in the rain forest, so they've made a big river around the whole room out of wavy blue paper, and each week, they add more animals (frogs, fish, turtles, lizards, etc.). They've just started working on the trees so they can hang their monkeys. Every day they follow a schedule that includes plenty of free play time in the room ("house corner," blocks, books, puzzles, etc.), daily art projects, twice a day outside romps (either to their playgrounds or on walks or to a grassy area where they do water play), circle time, gently structured learning about numbers and letters, and each classroom has one Spanish-speaking teacher so they can introduce Spanish vocabulary. DD knows how to count and all her colors in Spanish now!

DD only goes two days a week, and they really make an effort to do their special things on the days she's there -- like, they all made t-shirts for their dads for Father's Day, and they made sure they had them made and done by last Wednesday so she could take hers home in time. She is vegetarian and drinks soy milk, and that is no problem at all there. The teachers are loving and sweet...I've heard horror stories about teachers at big centers being told they are not allowed to hug or kiss children, and that's definitely not the case at this place. DD greets her teachers with a hug each morning.

Until she turned three, we got a daily "My Day" sheet that told us how she'd done on the potty, what she ate for lunch, how long she napped, what she'd worked particularly hard on, and what she seemed to enjoy most. They don't do that for the older kids -- maybe because the kids seem to be able to tell their parents those things themselves.

I never thought I'd love a big place like this, but we really really do. So, don't cross them off your list -- take a peek at one or two. I'm glad we did!
 

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My son started going to a home daycare at 12 weeks old. He was the youngest kid there until a few weeks ago. The others there now are 3mo, 10mo, 15mo, 2yo, and 7yo. Except for the 7yo, who's the sitter's own child and is there all day now that school's out, the other kids are there only 1 or 2 days a week, so it's never >4 kids at a time including her own.

She's a very warm, loving, enthusiastic person who's always telling me how wonderful my kid is! I could tell when I first interviewed her that she has a special fondness for every child--she has photos of them around the room and constantly talks about the endearing traits of various kids, even babies who were w/her for a few months 8 years ago!

She's happy to hold babies as much as they want.
She's very supportive of BFing and encourages me to BF when I drop off and pick up my baby, unless he just ate. She does cloth diapers, as long as I bring a fresh bag every day and take care of the rinsing myself.

Her house is somewhat cluttered but in a very interesting, homey way. Plenty of visual stimulation! She has scads of toys that she rotates from storage into the living room so that the available toys are frequently "new".

They take a walk every day in good weather, and they go to nearby playgrounds and library storytime, but all outings are within walking distance. I like that because I want to minimize time in the car for safety reasons.

The only bad thing about this place is the cost. We agonized over that when deciding which daycare to use--could we really justify spending more than half my income on daycare? We decided that it's worth it. This is not like choosing a long-distance provider; this is our child's "third parent", and she deserves to be paid well! Having someone we really like, a high caregiver-to-child ratio, and a convenient location (on the way to/from work for both of us) is important to us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
:LOL It's so easy for threads to get lost in this huuuge forum!
 

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I'm as happy with my daycare as I could ever expect to be. It's a center that goes thru K4. They actually have a curriculum, even for the infants, so I never worry about my DS getting good stimulation. They even start teaching sign language to the infants. The teachers love him like he's their own. They support breastfeeding and cloth diapering. It's expensive, but I am very comfortable with the environment and that's important.
 

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I am starting my new job on Monday, but I can tell you what made me choose the center. Like another poster said, the center really felt like a small school or kindergarten, with childrens artwork hanging in the halls and rooms, a schedule of activities, mats instead of cribs, friendly teachers, good ratio of teacher/kids, and my gut instinct told me it would be a great place for the kids. They teach English, Spanish, and sign language, too. They also have the BEST playground I've ever seen~ large, shaded, so many things to climb and swing on, and even a 'water wall' the kids can splash around 2x a week. The center is at the YMCA and they said they will give me a daily report of how my kids are doing. They also provide breakfast/lunch/snacks and I was able to see their weekly menu~ all nutritious food. I think the most important thing is to listen to your inner voice when you visit the place~ do you feel warm about it? When I found the YMCA and had such a good experience with the tour and meeting the teachers, it was the biggest relief. I hope the transition goes well for my kids~ I think once the big change is over they will really enjoy it there.
 

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well i went thru 4 in home daycares, one nanny in 4 months before my dd finally settled down in the preschool. it wasnt the dcs were bad but my dd just did not like it. for a couple she did not like the personality of the caregivers. the other two took on too many kids and couldnt supervise them v. well. the nanny was doing too much academics with my 2 year old. so finally as a last resort i tried the preschool that had a seat available. oh boy!!! my dd so took to that. mainly two reasons. one she loved the teachers who had a smile even at the end of the day. second the ps was not like home and so it didnt remind her of home. also she loved intereacting with the 4/5 year olds. seh loved the time she could spend with them playing outdoors. she just loved the business and interaction of the big group. she is not too much into art activities, but the school does awesome science experiments with the kids and she loves that.

i must say i did not think my dd would do well in the environment she ultimately chose. i was going more for one on one treatment, holding, small mixed group which really my dd did not want.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by fiddledebi
Here's actually a vote for big chain daycares, of all things! :LOL

Until she turned three, we got a daily "My Day" sheet that told us how she'd done on the potty, what she ate for lunch, how long she napped, what she'd worked particularly hard on, and what she seemed to enjoy most. They don't do that for the older kids -- maybe because the kids seem to be able to tell their parents those things themselves.

I never thought I'd love a big place like this, but we really really do. So, don't cross them off your list -- take a peek at one or two. I'm glad we did!

Yeah, that for us, too, except ours is TutorTime and my son is 22 months.


We get daily sheets like that as well, which I totally love, especially since my son isn't quite verbal enough to tell us how his day went.

We're actually going through a transition to the "Twaddler" room right now - and my son is totally loving it - the kids are more his age and he is SO happy when I pick him up - talkative, active, silly.

He's been going since he was about 13 months, for 3- 6hour days a week. I think he has learned so much and become so much more vocal than he ever would have at home with me, so I'm very satisfied.

The other thing I love is the security (must have a card to get in), and the fact that I can drop in and watch the video monitors or call anytime to see how he's doing.

Admittedly, we have a couple of problems here and there, mostly dealing with staff turnover, but I'm overall very satisfied.
 

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another vote for the big chain center. we use a ymca daycare center. it is infants through kindergarten in an old brick building. it is like ds has started preschool already. i like the same things posted above....the kids artwork decorating the place. the bulletin boards. the 'school' atmosphere. the community feeling

ds started at 3 months and graduated to the wobbler room at 11 1/2 months. in there they have 8am breakfast (we are never there that early), 9:30 snack, 11:30 lunch, noon-2:30ish nap, afternoon snack. they all sleep on cots. they eat at a little table with little chairs (i really felt like he was growing up when i saw that!!!)

they paint, play with playdough, play outside (he LOVES that), read stories and sing songs. there are 8 kids and 2 caregivers. they cloth diaper.

overall i think the socialization is GREAT. we just spent a day with my cousin's son the same age. he's a maniac and was terrorizing my son. they really learn in daycare to be 'gentle' nice kids.

of course there are the hard days when he cries when i leave. but every day that i drop him off and he runs off to play feels great. and they definitely get their extra share of colds and diseases (roseola...hand, foot and mouth...all those kinds of things). but so do the kids that don't go to daycare (just probably not as much)

my biggest beef so far was when i thought they were trying to push him up to the toddler room too young. i protested but they only delayed it two weeks. well he was so much happier once he moved i felt like a lame-o
: of COURSE...they know kids!!!! duh


you have to like the 'feel' of a place. different people like different places.
 

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Ds was in daycare beginning at 6 weeks. Not my ideal at the time but it was a fact of life. In his first year he was cared for by a friend of a friend who was suffering from a bit of empty nest syndrom having her youngest of 6 start school. For most of that year, he was the only child she cared for each day. Towards the end of that year, and just as he was ready, she took on two other kids.

A few months later she moved and I moved him to another in-home situation. This time it was with a friend of mine who had two kids of her own. It was the perfect step up in socialization and interaction for him. He thrived.

He was 2 and a half when she went into premature labor and we had to find other care. This time he moved to a larger group setting but still a home day care. He LOVED it....so much that when his old sitter was ready to take him back, he didn't want to go. It was hard but I knew that it was best for him and it all worked out in the end because she was then able to spend several months in her home country.

Although both kids are home with dad now, ds still goes to Barb's from time to time. She lives just down the street and has become a good friend. We hang out, do bbq's together and such. I never take advantage of her friendship...I always pay her when he goes for a day. From time to time she won't let me pay her though


If and when dh goes back to work and if we need day care, we'll definitely go to her. Are there things that I don't like, yup, but they just aren't THAT big of a deal. The fact that she loves him, is an awesome caregiver to all the kids she has far outweighs the fact that I think she lets them have sweets a little too often (heck - she's the one who has to deal with the sugared up kids, not me :LOL )
 

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I'm just wondering why having a center "feel like a school" is appealing to some of you. While I think that would be better than feeling like, say, a hospital or orphanage, what my partner and I wanted for our INFANT was a place that feels like a home. He doesn't have to be in his OWN home all day, but we think a home-like, family-like setting is most appropriate for a baby. He'll be old enough for school in a few years, but not yet. This is just our opinion; I don't mean to say anyone is wrong...just wondering why you like the "school" setting for babies/toddlers.
 

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EnviroBecca, I hear what you're saying, and maybe part of what was attractive for us about the place being like a school was that our daughter started there at age 2.5, so she wasn't an infant anymore. She had been in a home-based child care environment until then, with a bunch of other babies within a few months of her age, and it was indeed perfect at that point.

As she got older, though, and seemed to want more interesting things to do and explore (as well as some kids who could talk as well or better than she could), the home wasn't working anymore. There were other reasons, having more to do with the specific home and not home daycare in general, and maybe absent those, we wouldn't have looked elsewhere, but having this new place offer her more stimulation seemed right for her at that point in time (and now). She had ended up the oldest kid at her daycare at age 2, and no other kids were talking like she was, so I worried that she might be lonely. They weren't doing anything there to encourage the learning she seemed to crave, like letters and numbers, singing, colors, etc. They had lots of nice wooden toys and climbing equipment, but I didn't notice them doing a lot more than keeping her alive, entertained, and fed. Nothing wrong with that -- but I think she was ready for more.

That said, we're having another baby soon, and I'm not going to put baby in a home-based day care and leave dd where she is -- I want them in the same place for my own convenience, and also so they have the comfort of each other's presence from time to time throughout the day. I've visited the baby rooms in this place, and they're for sure NOT anything like someone's house, but they are gentle and calm rooms. They all have many rocking chairs, soft places for babies to explore, the teacher-to-baby ratio is high, the teachers all carry the babies much of each day, etc. The place has enough staff that "float" that if a room has a child/baby who seems to need more one-on-one attention, there is always someone to take a baby for a walk, give an extra long cuddle, find some way of attending to what that baby needs. I've noticed that there was a specific baby always sitting at the front desk when I brought dd in the morning, and thought maybe that was the daughter of the woman who runs the front desk, since she always seems to be playing closely with her and cuddling, etc., so one day I made some comment about how cool it was to have her baby right there with her...and she said, "Oh no, I don't have any children. Katie here just seems to really like sitting alone with me in the morning and saying hi to everyone, so she stays here until 10 or so."

I think that in itself is one of the nice things about a bigger place -- they often have enough staff around to be really flexible. Of course, I know it must all depend on the center and how it's run, but at least our place seems to make its size work to an advantage. The reference to it as "school-like" is definitely in contrast to how I expected a big center to look -- as you said, like a hospital or a factory or something.

Hope that helps!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by EnviroBecca
I'm just wondering why having a center "feel like a school" is appealing to some of you.
It's not that it's so much a school for us, but more the structure and different things they do during the day. My son has learned SO much there - obviously not algebra or anything


but for example, today they talked about and saw how boats move in water, they talked about weather (we had huge storms today) and they spend a lot of time playing but also learning how to get along, basic manners (like during lunch, etc). It's more that I KNOW he's learning more there than with me at home all day because of the more structured atmosphere. To me, a home based dc is like being at home, just with different toys and people.


My son just moved up to the Twaddler room, and for the past three days, everyone has said how much happier he seems with the kids closer to his age and how well he's doing (and he was doing well before!!). The school-type centers seem to advance in skills as they advance in age, and his continued learning is very important to me. NOT that this may not happen in homebased or other, but this is what I know. HTH.
 

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my ds goes to a center that is small, and has only 4 care providers, so there is continuity of care--very important to me.
he started at 24 months, so he's in their "preschool" room (ages 2-5) and he really loves it. i work ft, so he goes from about 8:50 to 5:15 every day.

the routine is as follows:
9am morning snack
11:30 lunch
1-3 nap
3 afternoon snack

they do lots of really fun activities, but don't pressure the children who don't feel like participating. some of the things they do are:
art
science
reading
computer (age appropriate games)
outdoor play

yesterday, they made play-dough, and the kids all had a blast.

they have play kitchens, a dress up area, and lots of blocks and cars. now that it's summer, they take field trips pretty often, to the farmers market, the park, the pool, places like that.

our providers are great with the kids. also, they are happy to use cloth, they are really attentive to the kids, they don't bat an eye at my extended bfing (one of the teachers is still bfing her 22 mo), they serve healthy foods, etc.

i'm really pretty happy with the whole arrangement. best of luck to you and your dc.
 

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My kids actually start daycare for the first time tommorrow. I can tell you why I chose the one I did. First thing was gut reaction. It is a center, it is an old victorian home though and the lady who owns it does live there. It is big, licensed for 75, but they have a low teacher to student ratio. The teachers who have been there have been there a long time, which is important to me. Alot of centers in general can tend to have a high turnover rate, but this one doesn't which speaks well of it. It is very ecclectic and fun. It is organized chaos. But it is beautiful You can just tell by the way it is decorated and set up that it is done with a lot of love. Their website talks all about their philosophies and they are very like mine, and they have little bios and pictures of all their teachers, which I appreciated. My kids are almost 4 and 19 months. They don't take them until they are 18 months so I couldn't have picked here with an infant. We have gone a few times and hung out, which they encourage. So I have sat in there classes. They also encourage the parents to come and hang out even after they start, and they said they have alot of parent involvement. They have one day a year where the parents all come in and help them work on the facility. The food looked awesome too, I think they are going to eat better than at home. So that is my story, mine are going to go three days a week all day. I decided to do that as opposed to five half days. I decided to pick three days in a row, because I used to teach preschool actually and the kids then just get in routine and I think it is easier then spacing the days out. So we are doing W-F.
 

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my boys go to an awsome day care! it is owned by a very picky lady. she is very picky about people she hires
. her assistant is a man (who resimbles Dr.Phil) which i think is great. they have two centers and my boys are in the newer one. i havent been in the older center so i cant speak for it but im sure it is just as good as the one i use. they used to have camras so you could watch your kids online while your at work, but because of those freaks that get pleasure from it they dont do that anymore. now they have camras so that they can see what is going on in either center from home or what ever center they are in at the time (does that make sense?). the lady that is taking care of my boys has been with the center for 14 years! there is hardly no turn over, they must pay good because turn over is usually high at daycares.
 
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