Author Topic: Staying home with newborn - reduce daycare for toddler?  (Read 2216 times)

Northern gal

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Staying home with newborn - reduce daycare for toddler?
« on: December 17, 2017, 10:59:27 AM »
I am expecting baby number 2 in January and it looks like I will be a stay at home single mum by then. We already have a son, who will be 17 months when his sister is born.

The "older" child has been attending childcare for 2 days a week for 8 months now. I was initially staunchly opposed to the idea but I can now see he gets a lot of stimulation and fun out of it.

Since I will now be home full time I am reconsidering what to do. Note I have no family where I live.   It seems my options are:

1. Leave things as they are.

Pros:
a breather when I only have one child to look after
I'm still "in" at a child care I like (they have a loooong waiting list)
DS is used to it

Cons:
childcare bugs may mean poor attendance as we head into winter
Bugs may prove more nasty with a newborn in the house. Limited chance to separate kids if I'm by myself


2. Pull DS out and get an au pair instead, attend play groups
Pros:
may be Cheaper and more flexible
"Adult" company for me
Can help with light household duties
Can tailor play groups (Montessori, foreign language)
Provides framework to speak foreign language around kids (I always forget)

Cons:
unskilled, young, may prove to be a pain / third child to look after
night wakings etc may really annoy the au pair (the house is ok sized but you'd still hear comings and goings)

Edit: deleted options 3&4 as I realised I'm doing a work thing of attempting to be Mutually exclusive / collectively exhaustive for no reason.

« Last Edit: December 17, 2017, 06:32:09 PM by Northern gal »

ysette9

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Staying home with newborn - reduce daycare for toddler?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2017, 11:16:01 AM »
I am finishing up my maternity leave right now and have a 3.5 year old. My experience is that the weekends are the very hardest because my toddler is not in daycare. She goes full time and that is the only thing keeping my balancing tenuously on the side of “sane” rather than “bat-shit crazy”. There is absolutely no way I could manage both of them. Other people are stronger and more talented than I am and i expect your baby won’t be as tough as mine, but I think you may be very grateful for that extra care. I also find that toddlers really need to maintain a routine to be happy and introducing a new baby necessarily breaks the routine. Keeping daycare routine is crucial to her keeping her world somewhat in a logical order.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2017, 11:17:51 AM by ysette9 »
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Chrissy

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Re: Staying home with newborn - reduce daycare for toddler?
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2017, 04:01:18 PM »
We're in the same situation, except our toddler is in care full time (Montessori in the mornings/nanny-share afternoons).  You can always pull your toddler out of care if you find things are going well at home, but it's a lot harder to put them back in.

I'm a little surprised that leaving your husband behind to move closer to family is on the table, but not putting your toddler in care full time until the baby is a little older...

ixtap

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Re: Staying home with newborn - reduce daycare for toddler?
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2017, 04:11:42 PM »
Toddlers trend to thrive with routines. Since there will be so many changes going on, it really makes sense from a developmental perspective to keep the toddler on the same school routine especially if the toddler will be going back to school in a few months.

If you choose not to, however, you will not ruin the kid for life. They do adapt.

Northern gal

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Re: Staying home with newborn - reduce daycare for toddler?
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2017, 04:57:13 PM »
I'm a little surprised that leaving your husband behind to move closer to family is on the table, but not putting your toddler in care full time until the baby is a little older...

I feel strongly three days of day care is about the maximum our son could handle. He is one of those kids who "pull themselves together" in care and then needs a few extra hugs and attention when he is home. It sounds like your child is at least three? Ours is barely 1.

If I felt I was struggling so much, I'd think that would be due to sleepless nights or purple crying in the evenings - neither of which daycare would help with.


Northern gal

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Re: Staying home with newborn - reduce daycare for toddler?
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2017, 05:00:06 PM »
Toddlers trend to thrive with routines. Since there will be so many changes going on, it really makes sense from a developmental perspective to keep the toddler on the same school routine especially if the toddler will be going back to school in a few months.

If you choose not to, however, you will not ruin the kid for life. They do adapt.

thanks for the reassurance :)

I agree as to not changing daycare providers, just keeping him home more. I'm not sure whether our son knows Mondays from Tuesday at his age (1). This is not school, it is daycare and runs for most of the year.

Northern gal

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Re: Staying home with newborn - reduce daycare for toddler?
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2017, 05:04:05 PM »
i expect your baby wonít be as tough as mine, but I think you may be very grateful for that extra care.

Our first was pretty much like your second for a while, which is what has me worried for number 2 :)

I agree with the tenor of it's easier to take him out if care if things go well than to put him back in if they don't.


gaja

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Re: Staying home with newborn - reduce daycare for toddler?
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2017, 05:49:14 PM »
It is 16 months between my girls, so quite similar to your kids. We have 1 year parental leave for each kid, so when the youngest was born, the oldest had been in kindergarten for a few months. We kept her in there full time, but it was really good having a low bar for getting her there late, picking her up early, and keeping her home if we felt like it. But as several others here have mentioned; toddlers love routines. It was better for her to be in kindergarten every weekday for a few hours. see the same people, and play with the same toys. The youngest was not the easiest kid, and we had a lot of physical therapy and other stuff to deal with, so it was also much more fun and fulfilling for the oldest to be in kindergarten than to have to fight for mommy's or daddy's attention at home.

Our kindergarten was really good, with loads of people with long experience and/or degrees in child development and pedagogy. Also, the price was very low, since it is heavily subsidized by the state. With the paid parental leave in addition, this left us with the luxury to only consider what was best for the kids. I understand it isn't as easy across the pond, but maybe if you start out your thinking process without considering time or money, and see where that leaves you, it might be easier to find a suitable solution. Try it out, see what fits, and enjoy the luxury of being able to both choose and change your mind.
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Northern gal

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Re: Staying home with newborn - reduce daycare for toddler?
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2017, 06:37:06 PM »
, this left us with the luxury to only consider what was best for the kids. I understand it isn't as easy across the pond, but maybe if you start out your thinking process without considering time or money, and see where that leaves you, it might be easier to find a suitable solution. Try it out, see what fits, and enjoy the luxury of being able to both choose and change your mind.

Thanks, I am not in the US :) and this is pretty much my position (within reason - this is MMM after all :))

Did you have any issues with toddler bringing colds, stomach bugs etc home? Because that's my main worry, and could more than make up for the "luxury" of a few quiet hours a day.

ysette9

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Re: Staying home with newborn - reduce daycare for toddler?
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2017, 06:54:03 PM »
Both of my babies were preemies, the youngest came almost 8 weeks early. I was a little concerned about thrvokdest bringing home bugs from daycare too. But the doctors and nurses didnít seem concerned and we just do our best to not have anyone touch the hands or face of our baby, and make sure people in our lives are vaccinated. You canít avoid those bugs, you can only delay when your kids are exposed. If they donít get them from daycare then they will get sick with everything once they start going to school. I wanted to delay the exposure until my babies were at least at their due dates, and honestly having a sick little baby sucks, but I realized it wasnít a game I could win overall.
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nessness

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Re: Staying home with newborn - reduce daycare for toddler?
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2017, 08:19:00 PM »
If I felt I was struggling so much, I'd think that would be due to sleepless nights or purple crying in the evenings - neither of which daycare would help with.
Don't underestimate the value of being able to nap when the baby naps, or just zone out on the couch with the baby without having to chase after a toddler.

I kept my 2-year-old in full-time daycare during my maternity leave and it was fantastic. I think it was good for her to be away from the baby too - she wasn't jealous much since I could spend focused time with her in the evening and she didn't have to deal with my constantly split attention, and she does better with lots of stimulation and outdoor play, which is tough to do with a newborn.

I understand why you don't want to go up to full time care, but I would highly recommend keeping him in daycare 2-3 days per week.

Aelias

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Re: Staying home with newborn - reduce daycare for toddler?
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2018, 10:36:44 AM »
I would keep your older one in daycare if you can afford it, for many of the reasons already discussed.

But I did want to chime in on the daycare bugs piece.  When our first was born, I stayed home for a bit, and we put him in daycare at 8 mos.  He'd never been sick until then, but within a week of starting, he caught his first cold.  And then the whole family was sick on and off for about 6 weeks.  It was miserable.

Totally different experience with the second child.  I stayed home through my maternity leave while older brother went to daycare.  Our little one got occasional colds here and there, but nothing disastrous.  And then when he went into daycare (at the same place his brother was), there were no new bugs, so no change.  I think because older brother was constantly bringing home the "flora" of daycare, little one was able to adapt gradually.  And we were all better off for it.

Anyway--just pick what feels right for you.  And then change if it doesn't work. You'll be able to figure it out, and everything will be good.

dphngbr

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Re: Staying home with newborn - reduce daycare for toddler?
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2018, 01:30:59 PM »
I'll jump in on the au pair option.  Au pairs have been a godsend for us, but it's going to be very different from having a child in daycare.  It's like hiring an employee and a roommate at the same time, and requires a good amount of interviewing, planning, and time spent training from the host family.  Also, I think Australians have more flexibility with au pair hours and pay than Americans do, but even so I'd be surprised if having an au pair was cheaper than having a child in daycare 2 days a week once you factored in other costs, like room and board, extra car insurance, cell phone (we provide one), etc. 

That said, au pairs have been a huge benefit to us (ages 6, 4, 1.5 and one due in January too), since my husband and I both work irregular hours.  Having a third, reliable person that knows and loves our kids (and can DRIVE) has been amazing since we don't have family close by either.  The cultural exchange has been really fun, and it's been a kick to keep in touch with these awesome young people after they leave our family. 

Screening does take time and effort.  Au pairs vary a lot in experience, but all of them should meet minimum experience requirements with children.  (2 out of 3 of our APs have been European preschool educators with university degrees -- i.e., WAY more experienced than me!) What takes longer to suss out is what their lifestyle is like, maturity, and what their expectations of the experience are  (and what yours are too.)  Being upfront with any challenges in your life -- like the challenges of living with a newborn, house rules, etc. -- goes a long way in finding someone that will click with your family too.  You'd be surprised at what many candidates decide they can deal with, so long as they know it's expected in advance. 

One more thing:  I would double check what your country's rules are regarding infant au pair care -- in the US, au pairs are not allowed to care for infants under 3 months on their own (though they can be in the house with them, so long as another caregiver is present.) 

Good luck, and congratulations!

mm1970

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Re: Staying home with newborn - reduce daycare for toddler?
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2018, 06:12:39 PM »
, this left us with the luxury to only consider what was best for the kids. I understand it isn't as easy across the pond, but maybe if you start out your thinking process without considering time or money, and see where that leaves you, it might be easier to find a suitable solution. Try it out, see what fits, and enjoy the luxury of being able to both choose and change your mind.

Thanks, I am not in the US :) and this is pretty much my position (within reason - this is MMM after all :))

Did you have any issues with toddler bringing colds, stomach bugs etc home? Because that's my main worry, and could more than make up for the "luxury" of a few quiet hours a day.
Yes, ages 2 to 4 was the worst for kids bringing home bugs. 

Carrie

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Re: Staying home with newborn - reduce daycare for toddler?
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2018, 06:37:00 PM »
I feel like I'm missing a lot of back story, financial situation, etc.
Having and caring for two children at the same time is possible. I pulled my kid out of mother's morning out when I had my new born because I couldn't justify the cost, as I'd not be working for a while. I did not have a nsnny, or day care, or any paid help during this time and we all survived.  How do you know you won't be able to care for both kids at the same time?

Northern gal

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Re: Staying home with newborn - reduce daycare for toddler?
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2018, 02:41:55 PM »
I'll jump in on the au pair option.  Au pairs have been a godsend for us, but it's going to be very different from having a child in daycare.  It's like hiring an employee and a roommate at the same time, and requires a good amount of interviewing, planning, and time spent training from the host family.  Also, I think Australians have more flexibility with au pair hours and pay than Americans do, but even so I'd be surprised if having an au pair was cheaper than having a child in daycare 2 days a week once you factored in other costs, like room and board, extra car insurance, cell phone (we provide one), etc. 

That said, au pairs have been a huge benefit to us (ages 6, 4, 1.5 and one due in January too), since my husband and I both work irregular hours.  Having a third, reliable person that knows and loves our kids (and can DRIVE) has been amazing since we don't have family close by either.  The cultural exchange has been really fun, and it's been a kick to keep in touch with these awesome young people after they leave our family. 

Screening does take time and effort.  Au pairs vary a lot in experience, but all of them should meet minimum experience requirements with children.  (2 out of 3 of our APs have been European preschool educators with university degrees -- i.e., WAY more experienced than me!) What takes longer to suss out is what their lifestyle is like, maturity, and what their expectations of the experience are  (and what yours are too.)  Being upfront with any challenges in your life -- like the challenges of living with a newborn, house rules, etc. -- goes a long way in finding someone that will click with your family too.  You'd be surprised at what many candidates decide they can deal with, so long as they know it's expected in advance. 

One more thing:  I would double check what your country's rules are regarding infant au pair care -- in the US, au pairs are not allowed to care for infants under 3 months on their own (though they can be in the house with them, so long as another caregiver is present.) 

Good luck, and congratulations!

Thank you for responding, that is super encourŗging. I have never heard of "older" more qualified au pairs so that is great to know. You have given me the kick up my bŗckside to go look into it.

Did you go through an agency? Did you use any forums or facebook groups to inform your search (as in how to advertise what to ask etc?)

When I previously looked I received a lot of unsuitable responses from backpackers, maybe I will need to word my ad differently (less beach, more responsibility).

The requirements with regards to newborn babies are the same. I am hoping to start a business from home so that should be ok.

Northern gal

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Re: Staying home with newborn - reduce daycare for toddler?
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2018, 03:03:17 PM »
I would keep your older one in daycare if you can afford it, for many of the reasons already discussed.

But I did want to chime in on the daycare bugs piece.  When our first was born, I stayed home for a bit, and we put him in daycare at 8 mos.  He'd never been sick until then, but within a week of starting, he caught his first cold.  And then the whole family was sick on and off for about 6 weeks.  It was miserable.

Totally different experience with the second child.  I stayed home through my maternity leave while older brother went to daycare.  Our little one got occasional colds here and there, but nothing disastrous.  And then when he went into daycare (at the same place his brother was), there were no new bugs, so no change.  I think because older brother was constantly bringing home the "flora" of daycare, little one was able to adapt gradually.  And we were all better off for it.

Anyway--just pick what feels right for you.  And then change if it doesn't work. You'll be able to figure it out, and everything will be good.

Thanks everyone. My current thinking is to pursue both options (2 days of childcare instead of 3, add a Montessori playgroup for the toddler once a week and try finding a demi pair) and see what works.

There is something called Demi pair where you provide free room and board in exchange for 20 hours a week. Assuming the person is happy to eat what we eat, I would not expect my grocery costs to scale up by much (we have previously had relatives stay with us and I honestly barely noticed any change in groceries). The room costs nothing obviously as I am not currently renting it out or anything.
So it seems like a low risk way of testing the waters, assuming there is no huge difference in the quality of people who would do demi pair vs au pair (working hypothesis to be tested). We have good public transport links so I would not provide a car.

I have made a list of things that the person would need to do and in a way it's not that much. It's probably heavier on the light household duties than the childcare tbh.  Empty the dishwasher, mop the floors, put up the laundry, sweep the paving that sort of thing. Maybe I'm limiting myself out of fear that the person would be slightly irresponsible? I don't know. I guess it's the things I don't enjoy :)

But yes potentially also rock the newborn so I can record a video or write a document while big brother is in child care. Our first child was a shocking cat napper unless in a carrier.

« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 10:18:17 PM by Northern gal »