My 18 mo has been in a home based daycare since November after we pulled her from a center at the beginning of Covid, when she was 4 months old. We got a call today that we’re at the top of the waitlist for the best center in our area (seriously this place is awesome—they have classroom bunnies for toddlers and older, daily yoga, a kid sized climbing wall, a special music teacher, a beautiful playground, etc.) and they have a spot for us. I’m on the fence, though, about whether to take it. I like the provider we’re currently with and feel bad about leaving even though she would definitely fill the spot, and my daughter seems to do well there. She’s a timid kid (Covid baby) and I worry about the change and the busier atmosphere, but it also could be really good for her. We’re also planning to move to be closer to DH’s work in 2022 or 2023, and might want to change for that (though we wouldn’t NEED to) and I certainly don’t want to change her over and over. It’s just a lot to mull over, and I’m curious what others think especially if you’ve changed daycares before.
nectarine / 2047 posts
DS was at a home daycare that we really loved but when he was around 2.5 he was ready for something else. We couldn’t move him until he was just over 3 and it has been the best move. He’s at a montessori now with yoga, a ton of outside time, a spanish teacher and he has just really thrived. He’s also extremely prepared for kindergarten as well, which I’m not sure he would’ve been as much if we kept him at the home daycare.
persimmon / 1409 posts
@peaches1038: How did your LO do with the transition period? My daughter is timid and in a stranger danger phase and I worry as much as anything about her adjusting to the new setting. She hasn’t been out and about much with Covid and when we take her places now if there are more than a small handful of people around she only wants to be carried or ride in her stroller. Full disclosure, I was also a shy kid and have a very traumatic memory related to being put on a bus to a summer camp where I didn’t know anyone.
cantaloupe / 6085 posts
I’d take it! I think the long term is worth it as you get to preschool age and they can really enjoy all those features. We moved my oldest from nanny to daycare at 18 months. She was super shy (up until kindergarten actually) and she did cry a lot of dropoffs. But she really did ok overall, found one teacher she really loved and bonded with. We ended up moving cross country 9 months later and that teacher and I both cried when we left for the last time! I definitely wouldn’t be afraid of transitions at that age even if it seems rough to start. She’s 9 now and none of the difficult dropoffs (we had years of them, it was abnormally bad I think) are memorable to her.
pomelo / 5257 posts
We were in a very similar position in fall 2020. My daughter got into an amazing preschool and would need to start right at 18 months. I honestly hadn’t expected her to get off the waitlist until the following year. I was really sad to leave our in-home provider—she’d also cared for our son and we LOVE her. But because the waitlist is so crazy and we’d have a tough time getting a spot again, we took it. I’m so glad we did, I know she would have done well with another year at the in-home. But we absolutely love the school, and I’m so happy she’ll get to be there for the next several years now.
FWIW, regarding changing schools—my son (4) has gone to four daycares. It wasn’t ideal, but we moved across country and then he also ended up getting into the same school as my daughter in fall 2020. We were hesitant to switch him, given that he’d be there for one year before kindergarten, but he loves the school. Every time we’ve switched schools, I’ve been so nervous, but he’s always done great!
nectarine / 2047 posts
@karenbme: he did really well. He was a bit older but we always have good success with a lot of prep before transitions. We read books about starting school, watched the daniel Tiger episode about how parents always come back and just generally acted like this was a good and normal event while validating any feelings he had about the move. I notice that if I’m nervous or unsure, he really picks up on those emotions. You could also ask if you could take some pictures of the classroom, playground etc and make a little photo book to look at with her so she is more familiar. I do this and get them at Walgreens, they are about $6. Good luck!
persimmon / 1079 posts
@karenbme: I’d change to the best center. It will be beneficial! All our children attend the best in our area and we don’t regret. They both began at 18 months. A few tears but it will stop after a week or so. Her transition will be fine. She won’t remember the last and will develop and grow in amazing ways. IMO and by experience! When our little one started- we took her to the school and walked her around talking about the new school. She also met her teacher outside(covid). helped a lot!
blogger / nectarine / 2043 posts
@cake2017: second all of this!
grapefruit / 4466 posts
Both my kids are in a center and we really value it, despite the fact that it comes with some inevitable inconveniences. My general experience with transitions is that it's not always easy to predict how kids will react, and the younger they are, the easier they tend to adjust. When we started my daughter at nine months, she'd literally never interacted with anyone besides our immediate family and one babysitter, thanks to covid, and she seemed to have super separation anxiety. Yet she adjusted really quickly and absolutely loves it. My 2.5 year old had a tougher time. He'd been in the center since infancy, yet had no memory of it when we brought him back after six months out due to covid. But he did eventually adjust back, and gains a lot from all the activities and social opportunities.
persimmon / 1409 posts
Thanks, ladies! I think we are going to go with the center. It seems like a fantastic place and if we were staying in our town, the plan was to get her a spot there. If we move and she switches schools in another 18 months I'm sure she'll adapt. We might also talk about negotiating more permanent work from home for DH, which seems like something his company is planning on for at least some of the engineering team, so we feel less pressure to move towns--a 45 minute commute 1 day per week is a lot less of a burden than 5 days per week.