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jca's avatar

Parents: Did you send your children to daycare/preschool (something other than an informal babysitter) and if so, at what age did they start?

Asked by jca (36059points) August 7th, 2010

My daughter just turned 3 about 3 months ago. She has been at a babysitter since she was 7 months old, when i returned to work. I love this babysitter, she’s great, reliable, clean, easy, all great things. My daughter goes to babysitter’s 3 days a week and 2 days to my mom’s house. I just signed my daughter up for two days a week to a preschool. That would be one day from the babysitter and one day from my mom.

I am just curious when other parents started their children in day care/preschool, or did you use a regular babysitter until kindergarten? or did you keep the child home with you until kindergarten? or did you use the pre-k in lieu of kindergarten?

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15 Answers

JilltheTooth's avatar

I went back to work PT when my daughter was 18 mos old. She was at an in home daycare 3 days a week and loved it. (She’s always been very sociable). When she was 3 she went to preschool 2 mornings a week, just for fun gave me a chance to get stuff done and I think it made the transition to K very smooth for her. We were both really happy with how that worked out.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Our children went to a church-run day care in our neighborhood starting at 8 weeks of age. At age 4, they went to Montessori pre-school.

jerv's avatar

My mother worked for Headstart and I went there when I was 3 since it was basically free and cheaper than a babysitter.
There was a little bit of an issue getting me into Kindergarten when I was 4 since I wasn’t going to turn 5 before the official deadline, but the schools made an exception for me since I had already been to “school” for a year.

john65pennington's avatar

None of the above. my wife was with our children, until they were ready for the first grade. should they have gone to preschool or kindergarten? we don’t think so. both of our children are very successful now. both live in Seattle. daughter is an RN, the other is in the Federal Government.
Both graduated college.

jca's avatar

John – i was conflicted. i went to Montessori School and i learned a lot there. i love my babysitter but i feel like my daughter needs a little more, just a few days a week – some circle time, songs, playing with more kids than the babysitter has. The babysitter has two boys my daughter’s age – i feel like she needs to play with some girls, too. I love the babysitter like a friend so that’s part of why i am torn. I figured two days a week with the babysitter, two days a week at the preschool and one day a week with grandma is a good enough mix, i hope.

BarnacleBill's avatar

No matter what you do, you will feel guilty about it, or someone will make you feel guilty about your choice.

My children all started day care at 8 weeks. All of my children graduated from college, no one has any addiction problems, all have friends and are well-socialized. Every child in my oldest daughter’s infant group went to college; of the 12 kids, 3 went to Ivy League schools. My daughter is 24 and graduated from a two year masters program a year ago. She works at a university, and occasionally educators still ask her if she went to Montessori.

It’s not the setting, but the quality of the setting that matters the most. Low staff turn-over, planned programming, teacher-student ratio are more important than being in a home setting.

JilltheTooth's avatar

If your daughter is 3 she’s probably old enough to ask if she’d like to go to a “playgroup” type thing. Describe the activities, see if she seems excited or trepidatious. You know her the best, you can gauge her reactions. Go with your instincts, you’ll be right.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

My oldest went to the Montessori pre-school (which, imo, is unlike a random daycare in all ways) at the age of 2 and I believe they have done an amazing job with him, truly amazing. My youngest will join his brother when he turns 2 – until they’re 2, we like to have at least one parent stay at home with them.

MissAusten's avatar

Mine were all different, depending on our finances at the time. Our daughter started daycare when she was six weeks old. She was in an exceptional home daycare, and other than having her start later I can’t imagine a better situation for us. The lady who ran that daycare was wonderful.

When my daughter was 14 months old, I changed jobs to be closer to home. I started working as a toddler teacher in a daycare center, so she came to work with me. Her classroom was down the hall. Again, it was a great situation. The center was funded by Pfizer, and only Pfizer employees could enroll their children (other than a certain number of spots for teachers’ children). The daycare was new, clean, had fantastic playgrounds, highly trained teachers, and high standards.

When my son was born, I could take more time off. He started going to the daycare where I worked when he was 3 months old. I could nurse him on my lunch break and still have time to also visit with my daughter. I knew all of their teachers well, and was very happy with the care they gave my kids.

I didn’t work there long after my son was born. He was 10 months old when we moved, and we were expecting our third child. At that time, I was able to stay home with the kids. It was perfect timing, with my daughter starting kindergarten. When my first son turned three, he went to preschool 2 half-days a week. When he was 4, he went three half-days. I did the same thing with my youngest, but a different preschool that was closer to our house. My older son had a harder time getting used to preschool, but after a couple of weeks settled in really well. My youngest, who was always less happy to be away from me, dashed into his classroom and never looked back. Both preschools were similar in the number of teachers and structure of the day. My kids were really happy with them, and so was I.

So, I have one kid who was in some sort of full-time care until she went to school, one who was in daycare for 7 months as an infant and then went to part-time preschool, and one who just did preschool. I don’t think anyone needs to feel guilty about using daycare or working outside the home. As a daycare teacher AND a parent, I can honestly say that children in daycare aren’t being “raised by strangers” and that a high quality care situation can be very beneficial for both children and parents. I also think preschool is important these days, with so much being expected of children in kindergarten. Here, kids are expected to be reading certain sight words by the end of the year. They are expected to know how to behave in a classroom and be ready to participate with a group of their peers. Being in preschool or some kind of regular, structured play group at the least, will make the start of kindergarten easier for a child (not to mention the child’s teacher).

Frenchfry's avatar

Well next year my child goes to preschool. They start at four here at the public school. Does not cost me a dime… I am exctied I get to go back to work. Hopefully the job market will be better by then.

SuperMouse's avatar

I put my children in a child directed, parent participation, NAEYC accredited pre-school when they were three years old. The first year they went two days a week and the second year they went three times weekly. I was fortunate to be able to stay home with all three until they started kindergarten.

perspicacious's avatar

Both of mine went to day school (not day care) at 18 months.

wundayatta's avatar

Both of ours started at daycare at three months. Both have done very well. There have been the usual bumps in the road when they changed to kindergarten and were with a whole new bunch of kids, but each made it through that and became central kids in their classes.

There is, I heard, some research suggesting that kids in day care are slightly better with social skills than those who stay home. I’m not sure how significant that difference is. As others have said, it’s not the setting, but the quality of the care that makes the real differences.

mollypop51797's avatar

All of my kids started with babysitters till they were 3. From ages 3–5 they went to Montessori. Then into school at kindergarten and so on.

BeccaBoo's avatar

My eldest son was 6 months old when I went back to work and he has had babysitters and been to nursery/kindergarten from then on…......

I have to say out of all my children he is the most sociable and confident.

My middle 2 children were later they were nearly 18 months because I could work shifts, so I stayed with them a lot more and they are definitely not as confident.

My baby is on the same par as his brothers and he is going to struggle because he has not been to nursery yet. But that’s going to change in December…...I definitely think they are worth it just for the social side.

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