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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a SAHM, and DS1 is 2.5 (he'll be 3 in Nov.). We have decided to enroll him in preschool starting this summer. It's the first time he'll be in a daycare/school situation, so I'm trying to figure out how many days he should go. DS2 is 2 months old and I'm finding it really hard to spend the time I should to give DS1 attention, new experiences, stimulating projects at home, kids to play with, etc. I think he'll love all the activity at school. And, if you remember, this is the kid who has started attempting to hit the baby. He needs my love and attention but lacks the patience and control to deal with all the waiting while I tend to baby things.<br><br>
There is a school we visited that we really like, but the only spot they have open for this fall is for someone to go 3 full days a week (M/W/F 9ish-4pm, could pick him up later than that if we need to). I had imagined DS going a few half days, or maybe 2 full days. But I really don't know how much is good. Other than us wondering if we have the budget for it... anyone have any advice on this? How does your child do with full days of preschool? Are two days a week too little, not enough of a routine?<br>
Is it silly to send him to so much preschool when I am home and theoretically could be taking care of him?<br><br>
Thanks for any thoughts.<br><br>
Oh, edited to add - we need to make a decision regarding this school on Monday!
 

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I would try and look for something that is 2 or 3 days per week, for a few hours each time (half days). I personally would not be comfortable with having such a little one go full days like that (while I was at home, if I was working well that's a different IMO).<br><br>
My oldest went 2 days for 2hrs. each time when he was 3, and then 3 days for 2 1/2hrs. each time when he was 4. He was always very social and this worked out well for us.
 

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I would look for a 2 day 1/2 day preschool. We made the choice to be a SAHM w/ Nathan and last fall I enrolled him into a 2 ( 1/2 day) montessori program. "I" dont want him away longer than that at this point. Next fall he will do the 3 morning program. Sending him away for long periods may creat more issues for you ( baby gets to stay w/ mommy.... I have to "GO" to school) It may not but personally I would keep looking for a shorter day for him.
 

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I agree with PP - that is a very long day for a little guy. My daughter was staying for three full days as a four year old, and was a mess of tears by day's end. A few mornings a week is nice!
 

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IMO, that is too long of a school day for a 3 year old. (But I also think full day kindergarten is too long for a 5 year old, just my opinion.) If I were you I'd look for a preschool that was just a few hours for 2 days a week and see how that goes.
 

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I agree that is just too long of a time for a not even 3 year old/newly 3. I understand about not being able to provide a stimulating enviroment for your DS, I struggled with the same issue when my DD2 was born and then was ill for a lengthy time. My DD1 was 4 and 2 ams a week for a half day was more then enough for her, she didn't like pre-school so she only went for 2 months until she decided that was enough. Good luck on your search.
 

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Do you know what the full day entails? My oldest ds went to a preschool that was 'full day' since he was 2.5, and he loved it... (I was home with ds#2 when ds#1 was 3, so I felt weird about being home and him being in school, but looking back, it was a great place for him to be--we still have good friends from this place (both my son and me <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> ) He loves to visit his old school...<br><br>
A full day consisted of a homemade hot lunch and a very long nap-- I think a 2 hour nap... So yes, he was there from 9pm until 3:30ish, but he was sleeping for 2 hours of this time, so... and then after nap they would play outside in a wonderful yard complete with redwoods...<br><br>
Each child is different, and as I look for a program for my ds#2, I'm looking for a little different situation (we also can't really afford the preschool that ds#1 went to now, and they might not have an opening for us soon enough).... I am looking at 2 days per week from 9--12noon, but this is largely due to financial/availability constraints. I like the option of having him in school during the afternoon...<br><br>
But you don't have to have your son there for the full day--I would often pick my son up between 3 and 3:30--even though he would then miss the afternoon circle time... And it was often very difficult to get him to leave!
 

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Since you're feeling under stress, the benefit of the full day for you would be that you would get maximum relief with the least overhead of getting him ready, taking him there, picking him up ...<br><br>
My kids are too closely spaced (15 months) to really have on point advice to offer. But what I did was when my newborn was 2 months old, I had a babysitter come a couple of mornings a week to play with the toddler, take her to the park, so forth. When that babysitter moved, I found another mom with kids at school all day to stay with them one morning a week about 9-2 and I would get my work done. When my youngest was 1, she started taking both of them out of my house for that same period -- to her house, the library, park, so forth.<br><br>
On other days, we have Mommy and Me gymnastics 2 mornings a week, and we swim many afternoons after nap (more now that summer is coming). And Friends Coming Over is great! We host and visit a lot.<br><br>
The downside of preschool / daycare, when I researched it for myself, was that the kids who do this prior to kindergarten are statistically more likely to have behavioral issues in school that persist into elementary school, than children staying at home with mom. I think it's best that my kids not be socialized by other little ones. YMMV.
 

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Full days are LONG for little kids - I would try for a half day program if you could.<br><br>
BUT I would recommend a 3x a week, 1/2 day program. 2 days a week is often not enough to get them in the routine of things.<br><br>
My kids have been in daycare 3x a week since they were 2 1/2 and 16 months respectively. They've done fine and thrived, but it's a long day for them. (I WOH so it's really not an option to do less). I think for a 2-3 year old, 1/2 days are ideal.
 

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Follow your instincts.<br><br>
My ds's and this fall my daughter (who just turned three) have/will attend a 3 y/o preschool that is 2 days a week for 2 1/2 hours a day. It focuses entirely on fun and social skills.<br><br>
That said, there is an adjustment that comes along with a new baby. How ds #1 is acting toward baby now could be totally different by this fall. Plus, you're making the adjustment to #2. I would, in your shoes, put ds on a waiting list for a shorter day one, and try to find some things like storyhour at the library, or a local playgroup that you can do with the boys, but he'll be involved with things.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the replies. I'm surprised at how many of you feel a full day is too much at this age. I'm certainly taking it to heart in making this decision. I'm going to keep looking (hopefully seeing another place tomorrow that offers half days!) and at least get on a wait list for another place just in case the full-days center is the only option right now. I suspect that ds will thrive on the various activities they offer throughout the day, and the structure, etc. But I guess I just won't know until he starts somewhere!
 

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None of the playschools here are full days, not even the academic preschool.<br><br>
In the academic preschool they go for 2.5hours 4 days a week for 3 & 4yo's.<br><br>
In all the other playschools 3yo's go once a week for 2hours, 4yo's go twice a week for 2hours.
 

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I don't know any preschools around here that are full day for 2 year olds.<br><br>
Sounds more like daycare. Especially since it starts in the summer.<br><br>
My little guys didn't go to preschool at 2, we started at 2 hours a day, 2 days a week at three years old and 4 hours a day, 3 days a week at four years. That four hours was too long for me, but it was the only option our synagogue offered for fours.<br><br>
Something to consider is that in a full day program you are paying for (a) someone feeding your little guy lunch; (b) your little guy napping. Are those things he could do at home?<br><br>
I agree also that with your baby so little, your older one might feel "sent away" if you enroll him for so long like that.<br><br>
Maybe another possibility is to get a "mother's helper" for a few hours a week to focus on your older guy if you feel he's not getting the attention he needs.<br><br>
Good luck!
 
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