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Discussion Starter #1
<p>Hi Mommas,</p>
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<p>I have another childcare dilemma that I could use some help with.  DS1 is almost 3 years old and has been in a Montessori toddler program since he was 18 months.  DS2 was born in July.  Our current arrangement is that we have a FT nanny who is with DS2 all day and picks DS1 up from his school at 11:30 AM and keeps both boys until I get home in the afternoon.</p>
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<p>Our nanny is fantastic.  She has really turned things around in our home and has gotten DS1 to take his nap without a fuss, helped us with potty learning, etc.  She is pursuing a degree in early childhood education and has worked both in daycare settings and as a nanny previously.  The boys adore her.</p>
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<p>The Montessori school my son attends is also great.  The problem is that we have very little money left over at the end of the month due to these childcare expenses.  We had planned on having an au pair which would have been less expensive, but after two bad au pairs we called it quits and hired a nanny.</p>
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<p>I am considering having both boys stay at home with the nanny starting next summer (a long way off, I know but I am a planner and we have to re-enroll in his school in the Spring).  At that time DS1 will be 3.5 and DS2 will be 1.  I know there are lots of pros to having both kids be at home, but I feel a lot of guilt about not having DS1 in a preschool program.  I have discussed this with the nanny, and she is comfortable stepping up and doing more actvities at museums and libraries with the boys, doing pre-school type activities, etc.</p>
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<p>The alternative would be to put DS2 in daycare and have DS1 to stay at his Montessori school all day.  The cost would be the same as having the nanny.  I feel that it would be better for the brothers to be together at home, even if it means that DS1 has to miss out on a year of preschool...but again, the nagging guilt that I might be depriving DS1 of an educational opportunity/socialization, etc. keeps coming back.</p>
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<p>Any perspective from Moms who have BTDT?  Thanks!</p>
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<p>Kelly</p>
 

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<p>Well, I have not BTDT but subbing in hopes that I will soon be in the financial position to have to face this decision :)</p>
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<p>One factor you have not commented on is transport/logistics.  If you and DH have to ferry 2 kids to 2 places every day, who does the drop offs and the pick ups?  Do you have family/friend childcare support in town in case the kids are sick?  How flex are your jobs to accommodate kid-related appointments?  How often do you and DH work OT?  Where do housework and errands fit in?  Personally I think having a nanny sounds like heaven...I work 4 days a week and DH works 5 but we overlap so they are only in a day home 2 days a week.  We share a car and the day home is a longish bus ride.  The organizational effort and lack of downtime/family time are non ideal...I would go with a nanny in a second if I could afford it!!</p>
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<p>To me the primary concern with childcare is a good fit and a loving caregiver.  It's not easy to find and even things that look good in theory may not work out for reasons you can't predict, like the child just doesn't <em>like</em> the new situation, so I am tempted to tell you not to rock the boat. </p>
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<p>Then again, this could be a case of the grass is always greener...you have what I want :)  I am also coming from the perspective that if the home environment is at all stimulating, then preschool is not all that important.  My own 4yo DD is in preschool but she is only doing one year.  My goal with preschool is to introduce her to a structured environment, since full-day kindy is on the table for next year.  The preschool is a block away and play-based with AP-style discipline so I would feel like a loser if I didn't jump on the opportunity, plus I like the downtime/1:1 time with the baby...but if it didn't fit so perfectly into our lives I think she'd be fine without it.  Our local playgroups and library programs are great and she's practically teaching herself to read by playing games online.  There are loads of opportunities for social learning at the playground or on playdates and believe me she still has plenty to learn about getting along with her mom, dad, and little bro.  We're not Montessori though, so maybe that's why I'm so laid back about it, but I would hardly consider a non-preschooled kid deprived.  Besides, if it doesn't work out, you can always sign him up...but once you let a great nanny go, you may not find another.</p>
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<p>Good luck!</p>
 

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We are just like you! Our FT nanny takes my oldest to Montosorri daily, and picks her up at noon, then spends the afternoon with her. The nanny has the baby all day. For us, her coast is equal to full day preschool for the oldest and daycare for the youngest. So preschool currently is the "extra" $265 a month that the nanny costs us over having both kids in school or both kids stay at home with the nanny. We also have very little every month, and have to use credit or ask family for help with unexpected expenses.<br><br>
We, however, are willing to sacrifice physically (no TV service or nice food), emotionally (no date nights) and even our pride (mom, can you help us out?) to keep the current situation going. Here's why:<br>
- no pick up drop off issues. This is huge. Hours of time back each week is great and much less stress,<br>
- flexibility. We can pay our nanny reasonable overtime in the event of meetings, sudden issues, or mental time awareness lapses. Centers are not so forgiving. ($1/min? Seriously? And $5/min after the first 10 min?? Am I made of money? )<br>
- my oldest adores school. She is a social child, and the structure and interaction at school is helping her grow and learn at a remarkable rate.<br>
- we will not homeschooling, and studies show that preschool does gives kids a leg up, and that advantage keeps them ahead in formal school settings for at least through grade 6. Students successful through grade 6 are less likely to drop out and more likely to go to college than those that struggle in the primary years. So we like the favorable odds preschool provides. A nanny can teach ABCs, but the leg up is actually not about what they learn academically, but more about playing the "school game" and proper behavior. So turn taking, group speaking and listening, structured group games and activities, and even things like circle sitting and repetitive activities. These are hard to teach in a family setting.<br>
- our house stays cleaner, and DH and I stay saner, with a nanny.<br><br>
So there you go. If I had to continue to cut our budget, i would give up my car for a clunker and my cell phone all together before i gave up our nanny/preschool combo.<br>
 

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Discussion Starter #4
<p>Thanks for the replies!</p>
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<div>One factor you have not commented on is transport/logistics. </div>
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<p>Absolutely this is an issue.  We could manage 2 drop-offs/pick-ups, but it would not be ideal.</p>
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<p>I realize that the best thing for the baby is to be at home with a nanny.  And it is good for DS2 to be able to nap in his bed, and spend time with his little brother in the afternoons.  But I'm worried about "denying" him the benefits of preschool for a year.</p>
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<div>So preschool currently is the "extra" $265 a month that the nanny costs us over having both kids in school or both kids stay at home with the nanny.</div>
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<p>Unfortunately for us, our Montessori preschool is an extra $800 a month over what the nanny costs us.  It is a great school, but it is hard for me to justify paying $800/month on top of a nanny for 3 hours of preschool a day.  Perhaps we should look for a less expensive preschool?  Or maybe one that will allow our son to attend just 2 or 3 days/week (at a pro-rated cost)?</p>
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<p>We are a frugal family.  Our newest car is 8 years old.  My husband drives a 16 year old car.  When we pull into the parking lot at my son's school, we are surrounded by high-end SUVs, mercedes, etc.  Our childcare costs are our single biggest expense, and I'm OK with that to a point.</p>
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<div>studies show that preschool does gives kids a leg up, and that advantage keeps them ahead in formal school settings for at least through grade 6.</div>
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<p>Yes!  This is the point that is worrying me.  I don't want to do anything to detract from DS1's education and social development. </p>
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<div>To me the primary concern with childcare is a good fit and a loving caregiver.  It's not easy to find</div>
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<p>Yes, it is not easy to find (trust me, I know).  We have a great caregiver, the best that we could hope for.</p>
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<p>So for now, I'm torn.  A nanny is definitely the best for DS2, and for DH and I given logistics.  However, is this worth removing DS1 from preschool for a year?  Should we try to find a less expensive preschool?  Or, is it OK to keep him home for a year, then send him back to a preschool (since we are still 2 years away from his kindergarten start date of 2013).</p>
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$800/month for three hours a day?! That seems high. Ours costs that much for seven hour school. We live in a moderate cost of living area, but I think you should be able to find something cheeper. The benefits seen from preschool apply to kids who only go a few days a week as well as those who go daily. So I would say shop around and try to find something less expensive. I love montosorri, but that seems steep.
 

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<p>I WOHM 4 days a week. DS is in 3rd grade, and DD, age 3 just started a Reggio inspired preschool. THe first few years she was with a nanny(and friend of mine)and another child, my friend's DS. THis worked great for awhile but I'm glad we moved on to preschool this year. DD is really social and loves being around a group of kids. She loves doing art everyday, using large muscle groups(they have a great playground and indoor play area if weather is bad)reading, doing activities at a sensory table, using imaginative play, doing puzzles,etc. She gets to do all the things she loves and is so happy! Not that she wasn't happy with her nanny, whom she loves dearly, but I see her thriving in this environment vs. just playing at home, doing errands with the nanny, and having occasional outtings. I also pay a bit less now and never have to worry about the nanny being late,sick,etc. So currently this is our situation and the age she is in and where she is developmentally, I feel this is right where she belongs. Good luck on finding out what works best for you!</p>
 

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<p>Will you be paying the nanny more for having both boys all day? As an experienced nanny, if I took a job expecting to have 1 child most of the day I'd want to be paid more per hour if I was going to have 2. That is an extra expense to take into consideration.</p>
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<p>Personally, after working in various childcare centers, I'd rather have a child under 2 with a nanny. I think the older guy missing out on preschool for a year, then going back, is better than putting the little one in daycare, and if it saves you money, that would definitely be my choice in this situation.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #8
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
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<div>Will you be paying the nanny more for having both boys all day? As an experienced nanny, if I took a job expecting to have 1 child most of the day I'd want to be paid more per hour if I was going to have 2. That is an extra expense to take into consideration.</div>
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<p>Yes, we'd definitely pay the nanny more for watching 2 kids all day, but likely only around an extra $2 or 3 per hour since she already watches DS1 half of the day and that is included in her current salary.  DS1's preschool is around $15 per hour (at 3 hours a day).  So, it would still be less expensive.</p>
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<p>Right now my mom and DH think that we should keep DS1 home next year with the nanny, but I am just not sure  He really loves going to school, enjoys being with his friends, learning, etc. and I just don't know if I can take that away from him. He is so upset whenever school is closed for holidays, etc.  Would playdates and library storytimes really be able to make up for that?  I'm not sure.</p>
 

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<p>Nanny. All the way. ESPECIALLY if she is willing to step it up and do activities. I just think that its far more beneficial for kids to have the peace of their home and their own rhythms at that age. I think that preschool definitely has its benefits! But it just seems like if you have a great care-giver that is doing awesome things, then take advantage of it!</p>
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<p>We have a 2.5 year old and a 15 month old. We just pulled them out of daycare and got a nanny. (Again, we'd had one before but she left this past summer). It has given me huge piece of mind to not have to get them up and drive them anywhere. And I'm confident the nanny will engage them appropriately.</p>
 

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<p>i would not put the younger one in daycare so that the older one could attend preschool. that's just me though. the nanny can easily do preschool activities at home, and would probably be happy to use what she's learning at school! she might really get into it. looking into a smaller home preschool type situation could work, too. preschool doesn't have to be "high end". as long as the teacher knows what's what, it can easily be done in any kind of setting. i know a lot of people love montessori, but imo plain old play based preschool is just as good. daycare situations are rough on kids under age two ime. after that age i think it gets a little better (depending on the child), and i think 4 is the best age for preschool. this is my 2 cents as a preschool teacher of 11 years :eek:P  .</p>
 
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