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Part-Time Childcare

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Childcare > Part-Time Childcare


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Do kids have a harder time with part-time daycare?

May 2004

We have been looking for part time daycare for our 20-month-old son for several months now, and have been disappointed to find that most daycares require either fulltime or at the least, 3 days per week attendance. After much frustration with the process, we have found a daycare we really like, that has an opening for us.

The problem is that we really would prefer our son to go 2 days a week, since that is the amount of time we need the daycare for, and we value and want to keep the rest of the time we spend with him during the week. This daycare (and it seems, most that I talk to that will do part time at all) has a 3 day per week minimum. The care provider says that it is because otherwise the kids don't integrate well with the other kids.

My question is this: have you found this to be the case, those of you who have your kids in daycare 2 days a week or less? Is it worth it to do the 3 days, or should we keep looking for a good daycare that will let us do 2 days? Thanks! Jen


One of the little boys at my son's current daycare has only been going two mornings a week -- and I so often come to pick up my son, and see this little boy playing all by himself, while the other kids play together. He seems fine emotionally, but it still seems sad to me. I know that my daycare provider is excellent, and that she would do what she could to help the child integrate... but it does seem like he is not integrating well with the other kids. When I asked her about it, she did attribute it to his only coming twice a week. Karen
Hi, A lot of this may depend on the child's personality - but i'll give you my spiel anyway and see if it helps. At 20 months we started our son in daycare 2 mornings a week (8AM - 1PM) so that he could have some socializing time away from me and I could have time to work out, run errands, etc. He is a pretty easy going boy but is also very attached to his parents. It took him about 1.5 months to get to the point where he was not crying on pick up and drop off, calling the teachers ''mommy'' and having teary moments throughout the day. Several other parents i talked to during this period were telling me that they didn't think he was going to daycare enough etc. I was torn. I didn't want to add hours to his day care and I didn't want him to be miserable, when this was supposed to be fun for him. We started talking to him much more at home about ''school'' and his friends and teachers and the fun things they do. About 2 months after he started, he began to love it and got excited to go. Now it's six months later and he loves his two mornings a week. He is into the school routine and has a fun time with his friends - and his teachers always comment on how social and interactive he is with the other kids - so integration has not been a problem. I am glad I didn't add or subtract any time as it's a perfect schedule for us. So my advice is follow your instincts as to the amount of time you want him to be there, and also give it a little time in the beginning - as it may take him longer to get used to it as he is going less. EB
My son has been in family daycare (full-time) for 2 1/2 years. I spend a lot of time there and have gotten to know all the kids pretty well. I have definitely seen firsthand that kids who go only 2 days a week are more likely to have trouble adjusting. They cry for long periods of time and just generally seem to have a hard time. My provider has seen this enough that she has now stopped accepting kids for less than 3 days a week. She's been doing this a long time, and is very good at what she does, and I trust her instincts on this. When I was temporarily unemployed I reduced my son's time to 4 days a week and even then I could tell that going any less than that would have been difficult for him. It was very hard for him to get back into the routine of going to daycare after 3 days in a row with me.

Of course, every child is different and perhaps some may do just fine with only two days, but I have seen enough kids struggle with it that I would advise against it. If you are set on 2 days perhaps you could call Bananas to see if they know of places that will let you do that. Best of luck! anon


My daughter, now 25 months, has been attending a day care since she was 11 months old, but only one day a week, and two Fridays a month. I think it was tough for her for quite some time, mostly because I was leaving her, but also because it in some ways was like starting over for her each week. I commend you for wanting to spend as much time as possible with your son. That was our primary goal as well, hence as little time at daycare as possible. I would go with the daycare you really like--it can be hard to find a good match. Even though you only need him to go 2 days a week, perhaps you could, when you needed to, use that 3rd day to run errands or have time for yourselves. (That's why my daughter goes 2 Fridays a month in addition to her one day a week.) c's mom

Where to find part-time childcare

June 2002

I am considering putting my 10-month old daughter into daycare one or two days per week but have several concerns. I have been told that children who go to daycare less than three times a week take a long time to settle into the new routine. Has anybody had experience with this frequency of daycare at this age? Also, one of the daycare situations I am considering has the children take their naps at the same time in the afternoon, which would be a switch from my daughter's current schedule of one morning and one late afternoon nap. Is ten-months a good time to transition a baby into the afternoon nap? Any advice would be appreciated. Madeline


If you are going to put your child into daycare for 1-2 days a week I'm assuming that you need a break, or to work. Therefore, my experience was that if the setup is good, loving, and compatible, your baby will do just fine 1-2 days. There is the common feeling that 3x week is easiest on the child but I think you should put your child into care for exactly what you need, and go from there. My child did fine one and then two times a week, and then when she was three something seemed to enjoy herself even better 3x a week. There is no one rule so I'd experiment. Ilona
My son started in part-time daycare at Linda's Family Daycare with no problems when he was six months old. I think he started with two half days per week and later switched to three half days per week. My kids switched from two naps to one nap per day around their first birthdays. Ten months may be a little early, but it probably depends on the baby. Jennifer N.
My son started a part-time nanny-share situation only 2 days a weeek, although he was younger than your daughter when he started (6 months). He was fine with it -- although he is a very calm baby and adapts easily to things. So I think some of it depends on your child's temperament.

About naps: My son is now 12 months old, and still takes 2 naps a day. When he only gets one nap, he has a harder time sleeping at night, and is in general somewhat crabbier than usual. The other two kids that share the nanny with him are a month older than he, and they also still take 2 naps a day most of the time. I think you should (if possible) let your child tell you when she is ready to move from two naps to one a day. Karen


Our son, now 16 months old, began daycare at age 7 months for 10 hours per week, and went to 20 hours per week at age 10 months, when I went back to work regularly. Maybe because he was in a one nanny to 2 boys ratio, or because he was already familiar with the babysitting house [friends], or because he has a relatively outgoing personality, but he took to it and to his babysitter like a fish to water.

The other 3 weekdays [he goes for 2 long days and an occasional 3rd when my work is busy] he's home with me. He is very happy, playful, healthy, and still has an inquisitive friendly personality.

We started him on one nap a day at 11 months, pretty much because we figured it might be the only way we'd get him to sleep before 10 at night. His afternoon nap, at 1 - 2 hours, suits him quite well, and he goes to sleep pretty regularly now at 8 - 8:30 pm. -Jean


Where to find part-time childcare

1999

I was able to find a couple of different sitters over the last year for our baby. Banana's has some referrals, but I found that most wanted more hours than they indicated initially. You might be able to find someone who is already working the other three days a week. You should check Banana's "split share" file. These are called in by parents who are trying to fill in the week for their sitter so that they don't lose them to full time work. The two people I hired were 10/hr. There are people out there who work for less as well as more.


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