Author Topic: Best ages to be home with kids  (Read 968 times)

c-kat

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 65
Best ages to be home with kids
« on: January 13, 2021, 09:58:38 AM »
Hello,

After my second mat leave I was torn about staying home with my kids or returning to work. I work for the public service and can take a total of 5 years off to care for my kids at any point in my career and it doesn't have to be taken all at once. I decided to go back to work because they offered me part time (3 days a week), so I still spend quite a bit of time with the kids, and because of the pandemic I was able to work from home which meant no commute so more time with the kids. Also, when I was home  before the pandemic started, I was taking the kids to the park, to play groups, library, museums etc. and all those things are closed, so I figured I might as well work and take some time off later when I can take them to these activities rather than just sit at home. Grandam watches them while I work.

I'm now trying to make a plan for when I will stay home with them. My kids are currently 22 months and 4 years.  The 4 year old starts school in September. I'm definitely going to work until then as my work gave me top up pay during my maternity leave and I owe them a year of work, or else have to pay it back.  I could take a year or two after that, once the pandemic is over as my youngest would still be home. I've heard that sometimes it is better to be home when kids are in school and a bit older as they have lots of activities and need your help with school and other issues. Alternatively, I could work during the school year and take summers off. Or do a combination of things. Curious what others experiences have been?  What ages do you think it is best to be home with kids?

skp

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 220
  • Location: oh
Re: Best ages to be home with kids
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2021, 03:43:46 AM »
I'd pick summers off. 

BZB

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 364
  • Location: Houston, Texas
Re: Best ages to be home with kids
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2021, 11:53:20 AM »
I don't know the answer, and there probably is no answer because everyone's situation is different. I have heard the saying, "bigger kids, bigger problems". I have a late elementary school age son, and hope to FIRE by his early teen years. Even though teens don't want to spend so much time with their parents, it doesn't mean they don't need a parent around because they are dealing with teen hormones, dating, college prep, etc. Plus he will probably be in more activities by then and will need to be chauffeured about. But really the FIRE timeline is based on when my money can get me there with my other financial goals. Wish it could be now!

Blue Skies

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 109
Re: Best ages to be home with kids
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2021, 04:19:11 AM »
Summers off would be ideal.  Especially when they are both in school.  Sending them back to daycare full time, or setting up a series of "camps" to span the full break is a pain.  It is great to have that big chunk of time as a family.

formerlydivorcedmom

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 681
  • Location: Texas
Re: Best ages to be home with kids
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2021, 03:48:11 PM »
My husband was a college student/stay-at-home dad when the kids ranged from about 8-12.  It was GREAT.  The kids really appreciated having a parent home after school.  It made such an impression on my son that he wants to be a stay-at-home dad one day when he grows up.

c-kat

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 65
Re: Best ages to be home with kids
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2021, 11:19:39 AM »
My husband was a college student/stay-at-home dad when the kids ranged from about 8-12.  It was GREAT.  The kids really appreciated having a parent home after school.  It made such an impression on my son that he wants to be a stay-at-home dad one day when he grows up.

Thanks! I've been wondering if it would make more sense for me to do this when they are older, as they will remember it more, and also it's a more fun age. Right now my kids are 20 months and 4 and they get into everything and don't stay with 1 task for long. I feel when they are older, I'll be able to do more activities with them.

MaybeBabyMustache

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2790
Re: Best ages to be home with kids
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2021, 11:31:38 AM »
My parents were both educators, so they had all of the breaks + summers off, and worked hours that generally worked well for my schedule. It was great, and if I could find a job like that, I'd definitely consider it.

My kids are almost 14 & 15, and I'd say the middle school/high school years are currently much more important for me personally to be available & around than when they were in elementary school or younger. I work full time, but in hind sight, these are the years that are really mattering (stress, hormones, puberty, COVID, schooling from home, hobbies/activities, friendships, grades, etc.)

jeninco

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1952
  • Location: .... duh?
Re: Best ages to be home with kids
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2021, 02:43:48 PM »
Yep to the last: I am a consultant and have been working from home since my first was born (curtesy of babysitters, preschools, etc. etc. although we have no parents nearby) and I've felt that middle school and high school is the most important time to be both around and mostly doing my own thing. I'm around enough that the kids feel comfortable talking with me when they need to, but I'm doing my own thing enough that they're not responsible for entertaining me.

When my HS senior had his friends over for lunch once/week, it was fascinating to be listening to their conversation from the office (it's a small, acoustically interconnected house), and occasionally wandering through to say stuff like "Miles, I don't think James is OK with you pinching his butt. Did you get his consent before touching his body like that?" (Neither kid was mine in this example.) I figure all teenaged boys could use refreshers in just what consent means...

Anyhow, it was very cool to get to meet my kid's friends and just be the "around" mom. I think the kids appreciated it, too.

obstinate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1088
Re: Best ages to be home with kids
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2021, 02:46:55 PM »
Two and three year olds are pretty freakin cute.

AO1FireTo

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 101
  • Location: Toronto
Re: Best ages to be home with kids
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2021, 07:21:28 PM »
I'll be FIRE when my daughter is just starting middle school.  I'd like to spend a few years doing summer adventures with her.  Road trips, visiting other countries, learning new skills.  I figure 10-14 would be a great age for that. 

Laura33

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2896
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Best ages to be home with kids
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2021, 12:25:16 PM »
I vote for around age 11-12.  At that point, after-school care options are nonexistent, kids are starting to get more seriously into particular after-school activities that often require parental participation, and the opportunities for the kid to go off-track get much more serious.  Basically, kids are treated as if they're old enough to be on their own, but often are not actually prepared to handle that degree of freedom. 

I came to this conclusion with my DD, who was the kid I definitely worried about going off the rails.  But this past year with my now-15-yr-old DS, I'm discovering I really enjoy having him home at the same time.  Not all the time, of course.  ;-)  And I never have worried about him in that manner, and I still don't.  But he's a quiet kid who is at the age where kids often start with withdraw into video games and such (and that risk is magnified by the lack of any other options to hang out with friends or do activities).  And so just physically being there, just the two of us, gives him the chance to poke his head in and connect, even if it's only 2 minutes at a time.  And I can tell he enjoys it, because he pops in between every. single. class. to tell me everything he just did. . . .  ;-)

Also, IMO, the daycare ages were much easier to work through -- I had no idea how good I had it until we got into the school system with it's multitude of holidays, in-service days, half-days, and events that always had me scrambling.  (Plus I am one of those people who enjoys older kids much, much more; the little ones are adorable, of course, but not great conversationalists. ;-))