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Transitioning from Nanny to Daycare or Preschool
Berkeley Parents Network >
Transitioning from Nanny to Daycare or Preschool
Our 2.9 year old will be starting preschool fulltime at
the beginning of September. This means we will be saying
goodbye to the nanny who has cared for him and a buddy two
days per week since he was 8 months old. We've done a lot
of talking about his new school, but have yet to explain
that he won't be spending time with his beloved nanny
anymore. Any tips on how to deal with this transition?
Should we start explaining it now? Wait until we're
closer to the start of school? Should we make a big deal
of the last day - a ritual, dinner, exchange of gifts?
What did you do to mark this change? Huge thanks in
Sad to say goodbye
I completely relate to your concern about losing your special nanny! Will
you stay in touch with her? Would it be possible for her to come by and visit
or meet up occasionally? Here's why I ask... We went through this recently.
It broke my heart to think of my son losing this relationship, he absolutely
adored her. So, I told our Nanny how sad we were to lose her (she was
sad, too) and we decided that we still wanted to get together occasionally.
Together, we also decided to wait to tell my son until her last day. We just
didn't see the benefit of telling him in advance. On that day, about an hour
before she left, we told him that she was going to be away for a bit (in our
case she was leaving on vacation, as well) and that we will not see her for
a while. I bought some mini-cupcakes and we had a little going away
celebration. We told him that we'd see her again it just won't be as often
(like yours, our Nanny was 2 days per week). We didn't dwell on any if this,
just explained it and moved on. When it was time for her to go we all
walked to the door together and we said bye bye and did high-fives (also
not making a huge deal of it). A few weeks later I invited her over for coffee
and they played for an hour. He was delighted to see her. We plan to see
her occasionally as she has become a dear friend. Her name comes up in
conversation and we say something like ''we havent seen '''J'' in a while,
maybe she can come visit soon'' and he seems perfectly happy with this.
I am not sure if this helps you but maybe it will give you some ideas. It's so
hard to see a great Nanny go when they have developed a special
relationship with your child (and you)! The best of luck to you.
Another concerned Mama
You should talk to your child about it for a couple of weeks before the transition
actually happens -- but not for too long (kids that age don't understand the
future very well).
But definitely do some kind of ritual. An exchange of gifts might work well. My
son ''wrote'' his daycare provider a letter (short & sweet -- I need you, I miss you,
I love you -- she thought it was very cute). And as we were part of a little family
daycare, with about half the kids ''graduating'' and moving on to preschool at the
same time, we had a ''goodbye'' picnic at the park, which was fun, but also
helpful for everyone to say goodbye.
All of those little rituals helped him move on. It was hard, but only for a few
weeks, and he loved his new school every bit as much as his old daycare.
We will be transitioning our son to daycare in a couple of weeks. He's
been with a nanny since four months and he will be about a year old
when we transition him. The nanny has been wonderful, like another
mother, but it is a stretch financially so we decided we should put
him in the daycare. He's very active and extremely sociable so I know
that he will be fine but I keep freaking out on a daily basis that I
am going to put him in an environment where he won't have an obvious
''mommy-figure'' to love him the way I do. Any advice on how I can
get myself to relax and let go? How can I really be sure that he's
totally ready? What does that even mean?
Been there done that!
I had to go through it two kids. And numerous times with new daycares. We
had some interesting experiences with daycares. I highly suggest, if you
can do not do full days for the first week. Then you get to feel out the
Once you have trust in the provider, your anxieties will go away fast.
Besides once your little one starts crawling, then to walking, they are ready
to socialize, and daycare is really best for them. Also trust me, when they
cry when you leave in the morning, they stop 2 seconds after you leave.
If the provider is good she will know how to distract the child and make it
comfortable for both of you.
Not to make you more anxious, Also I highly recommend dropping in at
random times, I found my son standing up in a high chair with the daycare
lady completely gone out of the room (she had a large window in front)
I hv stories, but all I can say is please please check in at random times, and
your anxieties will really go away!!
Set up a time with the day care provider when you can come
to just sit and watch the interactions of the caregivers and
the children for several hours. Don't take your child or
chat with the caregivers - just sit there quietly, watch,
listen and absorb it. You'll get a sense of how the
children in care there feel, how respectful and nurturing
the caregivers are, etc. After that you will either feel
much more sure of your decision--or realize your anxiety is
justified and you need to look for another place that feels
right to you. If you don't feel good about this decision
your child will know, and it will be much harder for him to
get adjusted to it.
Just because it's daycare doesn't mean there won't be a
''mommy'' figure. The daycare where my son goes is excellent
and the woman who runs the facility has children of her own.
One of her children is the same age as my son. She is
literally a mother and also very loving and mothering with
the children in her care, which makes me feel safe leaving
my son in her care during the day. Not all childcare workers
are that way. They're just at a job and take care of the
children's physical needs but don't seem to ''get'' the more
nurturing aspects of child care. One of the workers at the
daycare was like that and I was relieved when she moved on
even though I felt good about his daycare overall. Make sure
you feel comfortable and happy with the staff of whatever
daycare you leave him at. Ask to sit in at the daycare you
think you will go with a couple of times to see how the
workers interact with the children. Once you feel sure he
is being well cared for the anxiety will go away, or at
least lessen. It's never easy to for me to leave my child in
daycare, but it's a necessity I cannot prevent and much
easier when I trust and like the people who care for my son.
I have had both my kids in daycare since they were about 3 months (now
4.5yrs and 4 months). Your son will come to love his daycare providers (even
when you don't!); if you are in an institutional daycare, with multiple
teachers, there will probably be a favorite too. The teachers give lots of
hugs, kids climb into their laps, etc. So in a good place, the love is there,
though its not mommy (I don't know how I could stand to be a teacher and
have to say goodbye all the time as the kids grow up, because they really
love the kids). Unless you have a little baby, it can be a tough time in the
beginning, but it doesn't necessarily mean there's anything wrong with the
place. Also, there are ages when the kids will scream when you leave and be
really sad, even if they have been attending for months or years. I really do
feel like the teachers are right and its often harder for the mothers than the
The best thing to do is to give yourself time for the transition, so you can
stay with him and only leave for a little bit at the beginning. Make sure
when you leave you don't draw it out. Stay for a while to make him
comfortable, when you're ready to leave pick a time when the teachers have
a bit of time (so don't leave during meals or when everyone is being
changed); then SAY GOODBYE (no sneaking out) and say that you'll be
coming back, and then don't come back for encore goodbyes. And be
cheerful when you leave. Also don't be surprised that the teachers don't
necessary hang all over your kid while you're visiting and getting him
comfortable. I find they step up to the plate and show a lot of attention
when the parent is gone, but otherwise, they are busy with the other kids
and will leave the two of you to your own devices until you're ready to leave.
So you may need to directly say, ''I'm leaving, can you help me say goodbye''
And also come at unannounced times so you can see how things are going
after you're gone. Also, when you are visiting with your son it can be very
reassuring to see how the teachers behave with the other kids. There will be
moments where there are more kids crying than can be comforted at one
time, but you'll also see that the teachers really are good at getting everyone
calmed down and that they do respond to the crying with love and hugs. So
you'll see through the other kids that it really is okay. They do love the
teachers and they are not traumatized.
It's hard to know if things are working, but they usually do. Give it a month
For one thing, good for you for having a wonderful nanny for
your son for his first year. As a daycare worker, I
recommend that route if you cannot stay at home or have a
trusted family member care for your child. The use of
daycare is a largely unchallenged fact in our society, and
so responses that would urge you not to use daycare probably
wouldn't be posted in BPN. You asked when your child would
be ready, or something to that effect, and my response is
when your child is verbal enough to communicate with you. I
work in a very fine daycare, and many times I see babies who
cannot communicate verbally so their needs are mis-guessed.
A little fellow who was simply thirsty yesterday was judged
as being nervous by another teacher, but when I gave him
water he chugged it down and got a huge smile on his face.
Find out the temper and personality of the teachers who will
be caring for your child, and spend as much time there with
them as you can. Observe how they treat the other children,
not your child, when you are there. Of course they will
cater to your child when you visit, so it is important to
see how the other children are treated. Also, go at a time
when it is very busy, to see the skills of the teachers when
they are stressed. Judge for yourself, and be happy that
your son got a great first year of life! Don't expect your
son's nose to be wiped immediately, or his diaper changed
immediately, or anything to happen immediately, as it's a
fact of life that when many babies are being cared for at
the same time, many needs need to wait.
Good luck to you
I am wondering at what age to make the transition to a child
care setting. I can imagine that there will be a time in
the not too distant future when my daughter could enjoy and
learn from an environment with peer interaction, and with
all the wonderful kinds of activities a child care center
can offer. (I'm oriented toward a program that's more
play-based, so this isn't a question about when to move a
child into a more structured learning environment.)
Some background: I am a single parent of one child in the
blessed position of being able to afford a nanny, due to
financial support from my employer, although it is somewhat
of a stretch financially. Right now that is working out for
us -- I wouldn't categorize the nanny we have as an amazing
nanny, but it's a decent, solid arrangement.
As I think about moving her to child care, I worry most
about losing quality time with my daughter -- the rush of
getting her out the door to make it to work, the time in
drop-off and pick-up, etc. I relish our morning and evening
times together, and I think she thrives on those and they
help center her. I'm aware that these times would be more
harried and hectic if I had to get us both out of the house.
At the same time, I don't want to deprive her of social
interaction and opportunities to get outside of our small,
rather quiet world. My child is not particularly shy, but
she is definitely not used to a lot of social interaction,
especially with other kids. (I've considered a nanny share,
but haven't found any suitable ones in my area, as there are
relatively few families with nannies in my neighborhood.)
So my question to the group is this: At what age did you
make the move from nanny to child care? How did that work
for your child? Any regrets about the timing of that?
I am not anticipating sending her before the fall, at the
earliest, but I need to put her on a day care list and let
them know an anticipated start date. It is hard to know how
I'll feel six or nine months from now, so I'm having a hard
time deciding on a date that I feel comfortable with.
-great nest, but what about the rest?
I work part-time and was also able to stretch financially to
have a nanny while my kids were young. Personally, I made
the decision to move each of my two children into a group
childcare arrangement around the age of 2yo. For my son, it
was around 2.6 because it was simply more economical to have
a nanny watch both children when my daughter was an infant.
For my younger daughter, I moved her into a group program
at 22 months. For each child, it seemed to be a pretty
natural break when they starting showing more interest in
interacting with other children, and also when they started
to get impatient and bored with our nanny at home.
Having recently moved back to Berkeley, I can say there are
definitely wonderful childcare options here... but I was
surprised at how limited the full-day care options are. I
ended up going with a fantastic 2yo program in the Berkeley
hills that runs 8:30-1:30, and then finding a part-time
nanny for pick-ups and afternoon care. My son started 5
mornings per week, and my daughter is starting with 2-3
mornings each week. While it's definitely a major change
getting kids ready and out the door in the mornings, I think
the social opportunities make it worthwhile. There are some
great nannies available part-time including some who will do
the driving. Two major benefits of having a nanny still are
that my kids spend some relaxed time at home unwinding, and
I have someone who knows my kids for occasional evenings and
weekends, or if I have to work late sometimes.
Hope that helps!
I moved my child from a nanny-share to a home-based daycare at 19
months. It seemed a good time. My daughter was definitely ready for a bit
more socialization. But the nanny-share was not at my home, so I had to
deal with drop-off and pick-up either way.
If you pick a daycare near your home or work, or on the way to work, you
won't loose too much time with your child in the evenings. But of course the
mornings will be more hectic, as you'll have to get your child dressed and out
the door (and maybe fed, too, depending on whether or not the daycare
provider provides breakfast.)
Perhaps you should just check out recommendations from BPN and visit some
of the daycares that are in the areas that are convenient for you (and whose
schedules will work for you) and get a sense of how you think your child will
fit in there. Each one is different. In addition to recommendations, you'll also
go by your personal vibe about a place. Trust your gut.
And remember, there is no one RIGHT way to do this. Your child will probably
be fine either way.
Hello Mom. We had a nanny for our boy from about 6 months
to 22 months. We planned to keep her longer but she made a
trip to her home country to visit with her grandson. I had
no intention of putting my son in daycare until about 3 yeas
old. However, I am so glad that it happened.
I started out by researching nearby daycares after with
references through friends and BPN. I made alot of
telephone calls to narrow down my options. I visited several
sites and further narrowed my scope. We feel lucky to have
found a wonderful daycare with only ten kids ages 2-5.
They provide two healthy snacks and a hot lunch--always
nutritious and organic. Backyard playtime is the first item
on their schedule. They then have their snack, circle time,
more backyard play, lunch, nap, afternoon snack and book
My son's transition was relatively easy. He cried the first
couple of times for a few minutes but was fine after that.
Every child is different though. Some children cry for
weeks or months after drop off. Some parents like to stay
to help their child along but our provider recommended that
it is easier for them to adjust if we didn't stay. I know
she was right. For those more sensitive children, it may be
much more difficult.
In retrospect, I wish I had put him into daycare earlier
than I did because he became very bored with our nanny. As
wonderful as she was (and she still cares for him on
occasional date nights), she was much better with an infant.
She took him to the park everyday but he loves the
interactions with the other kids. He now has a wonderful
''family'' of friends whose parents offer each other support
and we share birthday parties and playdates outside of
He also plays musical instruments, sings many songs, takes
walks (field trips!), shares personal effects from home on
his ''sharing day'', and arrives home excited.
I am still able to spend plenty of morning time with him and
after school time. I know this might sound petty, but one
of the lesser benefits with my son at school, I don't have
to clean up the house when I return home from work. Perhaps
my utility bills are less expensive as well.
Now, there will be adjustments. Our little guy contracted
alot of colds, viruses, etc. I would have to stay home from
work if he was too sick to go into school. You may have to
voice your concerns with the provider if anything should
arise (i.e. diaper rash, moodiness, etc.) You should feel
free to be able to talk openly with the provider.
Otherwise, daycare has been such a wonderful experience for
Very Happy with Daycare
Between 1 1/2- 2 1/2 is the best time. Generally when they
start walking and talking. Your child will enjoy the
presence of others at that point and often childcare can
provide a greater sense of community than spending time
My son, 26 mths old is in a Nanny share currently. While the
situation is comfortable and easy, my husband and I are not
thrilled with his Nanny. I am having a second baby in March
so the thought is that if we make a change now before the
baby comes, that will be easier for him. Problem is, from
what we can tell most OAK/Berkeley Preschools with a
Montesorri/Reggio Emilia are in full swing now and aren't
taking new students until the Fall of 2011. I am sure we
aren't the first parents to be inbetween caregiver cycles.
As an interim idea we have started to take a look at
home-based care with a ''preschool'' feel but haven't found
anything yet. Any superb recommendations would be appreciated.
So, we are kind of stuck and are looking for advice. Try to
petition a preschool we like to take our son early? Go to an
excellent academic-style home based preschool in the interim
8 mths (recommendations welcomed)? Stick with the Nanny
until Fall of 2011?
Thoughts much appreciated!
While I can't help you with finding a preschool that has
openings, as a mom with a girl who transitioned from full
time nanny to preschool I wanted to offer some advice on the
Although each child is different, we eased my daughter into
the preschool situation very slowly...started with just two
half days a week for a few months, moved to 3 half days a
week and then onto 3 full days a week. She is definitely
thriving there now, but I don't think the results would have
been the same if we had just moved her full time into this
new situation. I have a friend who tried to do that to her
son, and it backfired tremendously- now he is home again and
still insecure even with his old nanny back.
So...maybe you can find a preschool that has a 2 half day a
week timeslot available even this time of year? Keep the
nanny for now (though you didn't mention why you weren't
happy?), and see how the preschool transition goes. Some
kids don't do well in a full time preschool until past 3
years of age, though my daughter was 2 when we started the
half days and did great.
Our son is 17 mo old and has been cared for by a nanny/nanny
share since he was 3.5 months old. He has a mild temperament in
general and has been pretty easy-going with transitions. He's
had his first 2 days of daycare this week. This week is the
transition phase, when our nanny is taking him and helping to
get him adjusted to the daycare bit by bit each day. So far, I
have been disappointed by the lack of clear communication by the
daycare staff to explain to me how the transition is going and
what is being done to ease the transition. The first day they
asked our nanny to leave when according to the transition
schedule there was not supposed to be separation until the 2nd
or 3rd day. Our son was a wreck!
Our nanny has reported that he is crying even when she remains
in the room if she gets out of his sight. When he cries the
staff have apparently done nothing to comfort him and so she has
felt that she had to continually intervene in order to reassure
him and calm him down (when she was tryign to keep to the
sidelines). Can somebody please let me know there experience
with day care transition? Is this nonchalant attitude by the
It's completely normal for a 17 month old to cry for after only 2
days of care! I'm a toddler care provider and have had kids who
still cry at drop off after a year! They often then turn around
and have a wonderful day. If you have concerns about what the
childcare providers are doing, ask them specifically, don't rely
on second hand observations. They may have a strategy. Some
children get really angry when you try to hold them while they
are expressing their feelings about the transition. In my program
we honor the child's emotions and don't try to change them, but
acknowledge them. Could they be doing that? Also, the drop off
person should have a predictable routine. Once they say they are
leaving, they should leave and give concrete information, ''Momma
will pick you up after nap''. Don't keep turning around to comfort
a crying child, it raises their anxiety level. Tell them, ''Sue
will pick you up and hug you if you need her.'' Here is a link to
some more toddler separation info:
We transitioned our daughter when she was 11 months to a family owned day care.
She had been home with one of us up until then. The day care had 10 kids total with
2 staff (the owner and a helper), and a lot of other family help at various times.
This is the way we did transition: visited together 2-3 times for 30-60 minutes.
Visited together for an hour, left her for an hour (she cried, the lady held her and
tried to distract her). did that 1-2 times. did 3 days of 4 hour days. then went full
time (8.5 hours, 3 days a week).
She stopped crying after a few visits. The lady always held her when we left and tried
(successfully) to distract her, and we felt she really knew how hard it was both for us
to leave our baby and for our baby to be left.
Of course, even though this place came highly recommended by close friends, it felt
awful to leave her. We felt guilty for not getting a nanny and I cried myself when I
had to leave my daughter! But we did trust the staff and by the end of a few months
we all loved it. It was obvious how much the owner loved the kids.
If you do not feel good about this place you are using, you may want to listen to
that. You may feel differently (better or worse) if you are able to do some of this
transitioning yourself? It's so hard with work schedules, but it could save you
months of not knowing/doing it all over again/angst. Trust your instincts. There are
a lot of good daycares out there.
I am hoping for some advice from parents who have successfully
transitioned older siblings to FT preschool around the same
time a new sibling is born, while trying to hold onto their
original nanny for #2. I am due with #2 in mid-September,
around the same time our oldest (who will be roughly 2.5) has
been accepted to a nearby preschool. Our share-mate is
definitely starting preschool in September so at that point
we're on our own with our nanny. Unfortunately ,we can't
afford to pay her to care for both kids -- we'll need a share
for the new baby (and actully we think nanny shares are great
for socialization so we favor it anyway). We need a solution
that balances two issues: (1) concern about my older child
rebelling against pre-school after baby arrives; (2) a desire
to keep our wonderful nanny during my maternity leave without
breaking the bank. Some Questions: How important is it to
introduce the oldest to pre-school before the baby arrives, so
he doesn't think he's being outsourced in favor of baby #2? My
intuition tells me this is a good idea but perhaps I am
overthinking this. Also, for those who kept their nanny for a
second share, how did you sort that out? If you kept her on
your own for a while, did you negotiate a lower share rate
since it was ''same family''? The last thing I want to do is pay
our nanny less but we simply can't afford the $19/hour share
rate, particilarly when I am off work. Our nanny suggested we
start a new share in October timeframe (even though I am not
going back to work until January). This would still be tough
for us financially (and unnecessary since I'll be home) but I
am seriously considering it since it would allow us to keep
her. I welcome any and all advice on the topic. Thanks in
Could you use your nanny at least part time starting in October?
Maybe you could find a family that wants to share with you
full-time and another family that could ''sublet'' some of your
days from you--ie, someone else who needs part time care and who
won't be too sad about being pushed out once your baby needs
full-time care, either because they are moving, starting day-care
midyear, etc. If I have learned one thing from the BPN child care
digest, it is that there are a million possibilities.
I am a mom of an 18-month old girl. I recently have been wanting
to switch her care from her nanny (sheb1109>Rough transition for 17-mo-old to daycares had for over a year) to
a home daycare situation. There are many reasons for the switch,
for one, I have the feeling that the nanny is usually looking
out for herself. I hate this feeling, but sometimes I feel that
she puts her needs before my childb1109>Rough transition for 17-mo-old to daycares (ie spending all day in the
park when it is cold outside rather than be in the house,
because it is nicer for her to interact with others, however,
what may be best for the child is not to be outside for the
whole day!) I have tried to bring up this issue, but it
sometimes seems to fall back on what the nanny wants, and I am
not home anyway to remind her etc. I know my child is happy with
the nanny, but I am not. Do I make the switch to a place that I
really like and trust, even if it will be hard for my child? Has
anyone been in this position before? On top of this, there is
the chance that I might want to switch my child into a preschool
come September (else I will need to wait until she is over 3
next September), so my child would just be in this new daycare
for 6 or 7 months. Is it still worth it? Is this too much change
in a short period? Have other parents made these changes
smoothly? Or will my child adapt to these new appropriate
environments if they are both nurturing and age-appropriate?
To change or Not?
I don't know whether it's right to switch to daycare now. But I do have an opinion about the specific issue of going to the park on cold days. I am a stay-at-home mom, and I take my daughter to the park most days it isn't raining. She is my own child, and I couldn't be more devoted to her well-being. The main reason is we go outside so much is that she loves it. She often gets crabby in the house with only me all day. Chatting with the other adults there is just a side benefit for me -- I really go for her emjoyment. Many other parents have said the same about their kids. If they are are bundled up well, they usually don't mind a little cold weather -- it's not like we live in Minnesota, after all -- and they love being outdoors around the other kids, even if they don't quite play cooperatively yet. I see many loving, attentive nannies at the parks we frequent, and the kids usually seem happy to be there. Now, there's probably a lot else going on in your situation, but on that one point, I think you are OK.
It isn't going to be easy on your or your child to go through two major childcare changes in the next 6-7 months. If you choose carefully, perhaps you will only need to transition once, from nanny to daycare..then stay with that daycare.
Don't just put your child in anywhere to avoid having future dealings with this nanny. Or, You may have to have a chat with your nanny - put things in writing and get her to sign it. Get angry if need be. Remind her that she is working for you not the other way round.
Give her an outing time limit - call the house to see that she is back within the alotted time. Ask her to provide alternatives to staying out all day. Ask her to explain exactly why she doesn't like being in the house. Could she take your child to Gymboree or something if she needs to be out longer than a walk in the park might take? You sound as if you have put up with this and now the nanny is comfortable doing it - you need to create some discomfort and get her back on track. If she is unwilling, start looking for alternatives - but make changing daycare two times a last resort.
Your child comes first
You should feel 100% comfortable and happy with a nanny. At the very least she should pay attantion to your expectations of how she spends her day with your child. You are paying her to do so.
If you do not believe in her you should change.
Kids are so open (at least my 2 1/2 year old is) and I have found that they adjust to changes better than we think. A daycare situation will be fun for your child and will introduce him to lots of friends and new ways to interact and explore the world.
My son has a nanny 2 days a week and 1 day he's with my sister and occasionally he goes to a drop in daycare center. AND he spends every weekend with his father. So many changes and he's the most social, funny, happy, and well adjusted child I know.
Go for it. Most kids really like being around other kids.
Our wonderful nanny has watched our daughter since she was four
months old. She will be 2 years and 2 months in September and
we are stressing about schools, childcare, etc. My husband and
I both work full time and would like our daughter to go to
school part time. We can't afford both a nanny and school.
What do people do? Has anyone been able to find a nanny
situation where the nanny works part time picking up kids from
school? We know there are others in our situation. How have
you handled this?
Stressing about school
Hi, We had the same issues when my son was 3.5 and started preschool. He had
been with the same nanny since he was 6months old and we did not want to sever
the relationship. Our solution was to put our son in preschool half days (9-1) and
have the nanny with him in the afternoon. To offset the cost of the nanny we turned
the afternoon into a nanny-SHARE and invited other children the same age to join. It
took some time to find the right share partners, but it did work out. On some days
there are three children and other days 2. Our nanny is able to bring in the same
amount of money because she receives hourly income from all the families, but the
families all pay less. It has worked out for everyone and we have all made some
great new friends. Best of luck to you!
I would look into a nanny share. Since you are happy with your
nanny, you could use Berkeley Parents Network to post a ''Nanny
Share'' ad and ask another family in your neighborhood to consider
your joining your particular arrangement. If your nanny is open
to this, she will earn more, keep a full time job, and your
portion of the bill will be less overall. Hopefully, your nanny
drives and she can drop your child off at preschool and take care
of the other (preferably younger) child during the time that
yours is attending class at either your house or his/her's. Your
nanny will be there for your during school holidays and will be
able to help be there when there are special parent participation
events at the school that you cannot attend due to work conflicts.
We did this. We wanted to hold on to our relationship with our
wonderful nanny once our 3.5-year-old started pre-school. We
hoped that she would be able to care for him in the afternoons
when preschool ended. She had been caring for him full-time since
he was 6 months old. Also we shared with another child part-time
who started the same pre-school at the same time as our son. The
preschool ended at 12:30. We looked for another family that only
needed a nanny in the mornings. It took a long time to find a
family who needed the right days at the right time in the right
location (we posted to the BPN childcare newsletter.) We did find
a family that *almost but not quite* matched. They needed our
nanny 4 days a week till 12:30 but our school, on the other side
of town, ended at 12:30. So she couldn't get there in time to
pick the kids up. So we patched together a system where one of us
parents leaves work at 12:30, meets the kids at preschool, and
waits with them in the playyard till the nanny arrives 20-30
minutes later. Not perfect, but it works, and we still get to
have our nanny!
When our son started preschool, we continued to employ his nanny
to pick him up in the afternoons and care for him until we got
home from work. She also cared for him all day on the one day
per week that he did not (at that time) attend preschool. It
worked beautifully for us, because we didn't have to stress out
about picking our son up on time from school -- basically an
impossibility given our work schedules -- and we liked
maintaining his long-term relationship with his nanny.
We found that the total cost of preschool plus part time nanny
(one on one) was only very slightly less than we had been paying
for full time nanny care (with some shared time). But it
certainly wasn't more!
We made various attempts to find another family or families who
would employ our nanny during the hours we no longer needed her,
and although several good prospects ultimately fell through, our
nanny liked us enough that she was happy to continue with us
rather than quit and try to find a different full time position.
So go ahead and broach the subject with your nanny. She may be
perfectly willing to work ''after school'' for you, particularly
if you can find someone else with whom you can split and/or
share her time.
We recently hired a nanny that we share with another family
full time (5 days a week). Our son seems happy with the nanny,
and the two boys seem happy together, but the situation is not
perfect. We have had trouble communicating with her and the
While our son appears happy, managing this new employee, as
well as the relationship with the other family, is more time
consuming than we had predicted. We are wondering if we should
have looked more seriously at day care situations. We chose a
nanny because we felt our child would receive more
individualized attention. In addition, we had to find someone
on short notice and just assumed that daycares would not be
able to accomodate us. Now I'm wondering if we should have
pursued day care because it seems that going that route less of
our time would be spent on management.
First, I'm trying to get a sense of whether what we're going
through is normal. Do others who are using a nanny share find
the management onerous? Because we're new to this, I can't
tell if what we're experiencing is unique or typical. In
addition, I would like to know if other people started out with
a nanny and decided to switch to daycare, and if so why?
Thanks for your thoughts.
reconsidering our choice
I did not have a share situation but I did transition from
nanny to daycare. I too made the assumption that having a
nanny would provide more attention to my son. There are
several reasons I felt changing to a daycare was better for
My son loves going there and doesn't like to leave. He's
made many friends.
The main teacher of this small home daycare loves the
work she does and it shows.
I don't have to coordinate or schedule anything. I just drop
Nannies are far more expensive.
All around it works for us. I have friends that have done
shares or coop type situations and that has worked well for
them. It's important to pay attention to your instincts.
I have had several nannies and i would agree, even the best of
them seem to take up a lot of time ''managing'' their various
issues. Nanny shares can also take up a lot of time and energy
to administer. To me, this is certainly a valid reason to
choose daycare over a nanny. In hindsight, after having devoted
hundreds of hours to nanny ''stuff'' I wish i had chosen daycare
earlier on. My advice to you is to do a lot of due diligence on
the daycare as well, because based on what i've read on this
digest, daycares can give rise to time-consuming problems as
well, and it can be harder to replace a daycare than a nanny.
I strongly feel that daycares and preschool will help children
grow and learn faster and with greater interest than with a
single adult. In a situation involving 6-12 kids, the children
learn from eachother as well as from the teacher. Some
kids learn faster and can teach other kids how to keep up.
It's a kind of pack mentality. Since we are social beings we
need to take into consideration that socializing is a key
factor to communication. Not just verbally but, emotionally
as well. Being surrounded by children with all kinds of
emotional needs gives your child an opportunity to express
him/herself freely. Which is an important step towrds
nurturing creative flow. Whether it be writing, art, music or
pretend play (acting)... these are all key elements that help a
child tap into his/her own exploratory capabilities.
Being isolated with a nanny can be detrimental and limiting.
Kids need to have falls, have disagreements and have time
away from adults so they can be themselves with their
peers. Just like moms and dads need to go out alone to
have quality time with each other.
I highly recommend you consider a day care ( I know one
that has openings right now in Berkeley - because we just
left to go to a 'big kid' preschool after 1.5 years there). There
so much to be explored that a nanny and trips to the park
Hope this helps!
Nanny or daycare? There is no universal right answer for any
given family. One thing we have found is that given that the
stakes are so high (the well-being of your child) and people
are (consciously or not) insecure about their choices you will
find that many/most people conclude that whatever they have
chosen is the RIGHT choice. Because if it wasn't - what does
that say about them and their parenting? Remembering that will
help you to take a breath when evaluating the endless choices
ahead of you as you parent.
What we did: We chose daycare. Why? Daycare doesn't get sick.
That was one reason. The hours and availability were constant.
The rules were clear. What else? All daycare is not created
equal. So it isn't daycare or nanny - but which daycare or
which nanny? The quality of childcare in both cases varies
tremendously. We found a fantastic program - one where we felt
the teachers were committed to childare as a profession, were
compassionate, skilled, respected and respectful, made a decent
living and more. We also like what it taught both our children
about relating to others and being in a group. They liked
playing with other children but still had adequate time for
naps and quiet, alone time. We learned from the teachers and
directors as in any given situation they had faced it before
and we were doing it for the first time. It felt like a
partnership. We also felt like both our children got plenty of
individualized attention, comfort and help.
The down-side of daycare? You have to get your child up and out
the door on time with a lunch packed. If they are sick, which
will happen, you need to have alternate arrangements handy.
We have had really good luck with sitters but you are depending
on a daytime nanny to be a lot of things - energetic,
responsible, loving,etc. And, as you mention, there is all the
dynamics of working with her and another family. All childcare
arrangements take time and management. But communication is key
and you need to feel comfortable about that. Could you set up a
regular meeting time to talk in person with the other family
and/or the nanny so that it isn't just when there is a problem
that you are talking? That way a set time could have casual
conversation lead to problem solving without it being
Good luck. All of these decisions and processes regarding your
children feel huge.
-another mom making choices
It sounds like your share situation is not ideal. We currently
have a nanny and are so pleased. The attention our daughter is
getting could not possibly be replicated in day care. Also,
getting to nap at home in her crib is really important as well.
Your son sounds happy which is the ultimate goal - but maybe a
different share situation would be better?
Hi, we had a nanny for the approx. 4 years and she cared for my
first and second child from 9 mo- 3 years old. We joined a
nanny share with friends so we had a lot of confidence in the
the nanny going into it, but I must say that the one down-side
of all those years was the feeling of the burden of employing
someone. The paperwork was stressful (we did both under and
over the table), negotiating vacation, sick time, etc.. it is
the ''not-so-perfect'' part of that childcare choice. So, if you
want reassurance that what you are going thru is normal, I can
say I completely relate. That said, I am grateful for the care
and love that our nanny gave to our kids, especially when they
were so young (you do not say how old your child is). We would
not do things differently because nothing's perfect, and if we
had to deal with a daycare situation, we would have had to stay
home when our child was sick (which in daycare is A LOT), our
kids would likely have cried a lot more being rushed out of the
house to get to daycare and being left there and instead they
were in their comfort zone of their own house and had a nanny
they loved and had their ''nanny-share friends'' come over to
play. If you are having trouble communicating with your nanny,
that can snowball into bigger issues, so make every attempt now
to clear things up-- we had a notebook where we wrote down
expectations and questions so we could communicate (both with
the nanny and with other families) there sometimes when face-to-
face didn't work or was too rushed (like drop-of and pick-up).
Our nanny also used it to keep her daily schedule up to date for
us. We also had a checklist for eating and naptime which we
wanted to know about and our nanny could easily check stuff off
during the day so she didn't have to remember the details for
each child when we asked-- for me anyway that kind of stuff is
hard to remember when days start to run into each other. So
whatever issue you are having trouble communicating on, if you
really want it to work, think of things that might make it
easier for the nanny to communicate with you. Good luck.
your post did not say how old your child is. i found that when
my daughter was an infant and young toddler, having a nanny was
invaluable - lots of great attention on her that really helped
her be a happy and balanced little person. and while it is a
lot of work to have an employee, i always reminded myself how
the time spent handling that was time i did not have to spend
getting my child to a program on time, looking for a sitter for
after school hours, etc. it's not easy but it can be great -
so long as you communicate regularly and openly. your post
didn't say why communication is difficult with your nanny -
personality? language barrier? whatever it is, work on it and
your day to day stress level will get much lower. back to the
age thing - as my child has gotten older, she's doing a share
and next year she'll be going to preschool. i think the 'ideal'
for each child and family varies as the years go on.
If you are not really happy with your childcare situation, then
of course you should look into other arrangements! But the
question isn't really nanny share vs. daycare, it's THIS nanny
share vs. some other nanny and/or some other share partner vs. a
non-shared nanny vs. home-based daycare vs. daycare center etc.
We entered into a nanny share arrangement with really very
little planning and without a great deal of ''comparison
shopping'' when my son was 6 months old. We got lucky; the whole
thing worked beautifully for years and the two babies became
kids who entered the same preschool at the same time and
continued to share the same nanny part time. And we're now re-
hiring the same nanny (though with a different share partner)
for our second baby. Now, I won't say the situation
was ''perfect'' -- I doubt there is such a thing. But despite
some differences in parenting style we got along well enough
with the other family, and continue to swap babysitting
sometimes with them. And despite a bit of a language barrier,
we trusted our nanny and didn't have too much trouble
communicating with her -- and she was amazingly reliable and,
well, uncomplicated to deal with, which I gather isn't always
the case. I find that the ''management'' stuff is much more
difficult now that our son is in preschool than it ever was with
the nanny arrangement, but others have a different experience,
and I'm sure it varies among individual situations far more than
it does between types of situation, if you see what I mean.
So listen to your gut. Be glad that you've got your child in a
situation where he is safe and happy so that you can take your
time exploring possible alternatives. You may find that in
fact, what you have is the best available option, and rest
easy. Or you might find something that works much better for
you, and take it. Just be sure to give the nanny and the share
family reasonable notice before departing, and be fair about
things like the nanny's final paycheck.
Fan of nanny shares
For the first year of life it is widely held (from good
research) that one on one care is preferred. It is less clear
from 1 year on what might be best. Temperament and financial
means are critical decision makers thereafter. The advantages
of the nanny/share are not having to get the child out the door
too early, maybe fewer days of illness, more one on one, less
chaos in the child's environment. This can cost about $1000
per month (sharing)- don't know equivalent for daycare. I did
share from 1-3 years and then went total preschool and now
doing preschool plus nanny (to have less preschool). I would
definitely do nanny share again even with the hassles, as it
worked out not to be too strenuous.
I would have posted earlier, but thought more folks would extol the
virtues of nanny share. For the record, we have thoroughly enjoyed the
nanny share experience in large part for all the same reasons folks
came down either on the side of day care or of a single nanny. First,
nanny-management is not a problem for us because three families have
responsibility for how the day is spent instead of one (and then there's
the fact that we have the perfect childcare provider). That has translated
into a day that is full of things we might not have thought of and no
''tension'' with issues we're uncomfortable with. Our shared experiences
allow us to temper our concerns with a dose of reality. Second, our child
gets the social interaction of being in a daycare situation with the
personal attention of being with one care provided. As a result, we think
he's a more socialized child and we feel that he's being given
personalized attention that he wouldn't have in a day care. Third, we
are not sick all the time. While it is inevitable that children will infect
each other (and to some extent that helps to build their immune system),
there are few enough of us that we can establish our own guidelines
about when a runny nose means your kid should stay home, and when
it's OK to put him in the share. In the day care situation, we learned from
friends that some parents, eager to get to work, will pump their sick child
up with Tylenol and dump him off before his nose starts to ooze again;
as a result, the kids and the parents are sick for like, 3 years, since
there's always some icky virus running around. If a kid isn't sneezing on
your kid, he's sneezing on the squeaky toy your kid will pick up in 2
minutes. Don't get me wrong; we love the concept of group care and the
daycare model appeals to us, generally. Similarly, the idea of one-on-
one care (tempered with some social interaction) is somethng in which
we also can see great value. That said, having done the nanny share,
were we to have a second child, we wouldn't go any other way.
Didn't see the original post...but here's my two cents on the
nanny vs. daycare. There are pros and cons to both... but for
me...I guess I like the idea of someone watching the watchers.
My gut was reinforced the other day when I was picking up my
child at daycare and witnessed a nanny leave two pre-school age
kids in her car for 20 minutes while she was picking up her own
child at day care (and hanging out in the center).
I am about to enroll my 2 year old daughter in a daycare
center, two days a week. But I feel very torn about letting the
baby-sitter go. She took care of her at our house for almost
two years. I am worried about my daughter loosing the
one-to-one contact with her, but in the other hand I feel she
needs more contact with other children and a more
structured/stimulating enviroment. Other reasons for the
change are economical and I need more time home alone
to work. One moment I feel I am doing the right thing, one
moment later I feel I am being selfish. I would love to hear
from other parents that felt the same way. Thank you!
Just two thoughts (1) she will have to give up her babysitter at
some point and I think kids this age adjust pretty quickly and
(2) no reason she has to give up all contact because you could
still use the babysitter for occasional nights/weekends. And
one piece of advice -- trust your instincts. You know what is
best for your child and for you.
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