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Taking Vacations & Leaves from Daycare
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I'm curious about the etiquette for child care when a parent's work
situation changes temporarily for a few months.
My son attends a small, in-home day care that we love. I will be
having my second child in April and going on maternity leave for 5
months. During that time I don't really want to send my first-born to
day care full time, because I actually have the time off to spend with
him. However, I realize that child care is the income source for my
provider and that I can't just expect to not send him for a few months
and then be able to go back to full time when I'm ready.
What type of compromise can I expect? Is it reasonable to ask the
sitter to go down to part time with my son to ''hold'' his spot? I'm
sure it will be helpful to send him to day-care for a few hours at a
time. But, I struggle with the decision to be a working mom and I
really see it as a gift that I'll be able to have extra time with him.
Thanks in advance.
There is no set policy regarding this in the day care
field. In my case, my program is full with a wait list. I
can't afford to have any slots that aren't bringing in
income, even temporarily. My decision would be whether or
not to let the parent cut back to part time and finding
another part time child to cover the vacant hours (with no
guarantee of increasing hours later), or replacing their
child with another full time child. It's purely a matter of
Oakland day care provider
I would really think long and hard before you pull your
first born out of daycare. I am on maternity leave with a
baby and have a toddler as well and pulled him only one
day a week and after about 8 weeks was at the end of my
rope with this one day. Keep in mind there were also
other days because of daycare closures and illnesses, but
staying home with two small children by myself was not
pleasant at all. An infant needs constant feeding,
changing, and soothing and a toddler, or at least my
toddler, also had constant demands for entertainment and
attention. It was exhausting and stressful. My friend
who stayed home with two small children actually called
her work to come back early from maternity leave! You may
have an easy toddler in which case maybe it could work,
but juggling two is so much harder than you can even
imagine. And all on almost no sleep because of the
newborn. Your toddler will have more fun at daycare than
hanging out with you tending to a newborn all day and
feeling cranky. I would start very, very small if you do
want to do this arrangement. Like maybe a day or two a
week and if after that you are really wanting more, then
maybe increase it. The way I look at it is my first born
had time as an infant to bond with just me and the second
should get that time too.
I am just about done with my maternity leave with my second
baby, and I'd caution you against pulling your first child
out of daycare. I originally thought I'd spend lots of time
with my first-born during maternity leave, but I'm so busy
with my newborn, it's hard to take care of my son too. He's
at preschool pretty much full time and doesn't really know
that I'm home all day with the baby (he's happy at
I feel guilty sometimes, but my son behaves badly around
the baby and acts up, becomes very demanding, sometimes
aggressive. I end up getting very frustrated when both are
home with me. I lose my temper. I just feel like I'm a
better mom if I don't spend weekdays with both children.
(And I really really don't know how stay-at-home parents do
it. They're my heros.) One more thing: my son had my full
attention his first six months and for 3.5 years all my
attention when I wasn't working, so I felt like I needed to
give my new baby girl special attention her first six
months. Starting January, I'll be spread thin again...
I think it depends on whether your day care provider
routinely does part time care for others or not. In our
case, our provider only did full time. It would not have
been fair to ask her to make an exception as there would be
no way for her to make up the income.
I also found out that it was GREAT to have the full time
care for my oldest. He was just over 2 when the second one
was born and he really appreciated sticking with his regular
routine...and it helped me tremendously to bond with the new
baby and to have time to recuperate myself.
I did take advantage of my ''free'' time by keeping him home
longer in the morning, picking him up earlier and keeping
him home some days...but still paid for the full time care.
If you love your provider (which we did...and reading the
post after yours shows that they are not all great); then be
very careful as you will soon have 2 that need care.
Loved Having the Full time Option
Most family daycares can't afford to hold a spot, but some
can if you are at least paying for part time. When I had
my second, I kept him part time in his day care. My
reasons: my first child had my undivided attention while
an infant and I wanted my secong child to have as much of
that experience as possible too, it provided some
continuity for my first child and was easy for him to go
from full time to part time and back to full time, the day
care provided my first child with some toys and kid
interaction he didn't have at home, and finally, it gave
me a little more quiet time at home when I was exhausted.
glad I kept first in part-time daycare
Hi. I have a 2 year old and a 4 month old, am on maternity
leave, and have kept the older one in daycare (although I do
pick her up earlier than before). I didn't really have a
choice of taking the older one out of daycare since we would
have lost the spot, and I did at first feel guilty about
sending her away when I was at home. However I am really
happy that she stayed in daycare, for a few reasons:
- Getting a new sibling is a big change for a toddler and
taking them out of daycare and returning them to daycare in
the space of a few months is just too much added stress, if
they get picked up earlier then before they do still benefit
from your maternity leave (even if you may have to pay
- The firstborn received undivided attention as an infant,
doesn't the second child deserve at least part of a day
where they get to have their needs met fully? Even with the
older one away part of the day there will be lots of
interrupted feedings, lots of times the little one has to
wait crying in their crib or chair.
- By having some time alone with the infant you can try to
do the bath, one on one interaction and longer relaxed
feedings with the toddler out of the house, thus reducing
the number of times intense jealousy occurs, you can even
try to prepare dinner and do other errands during naps
giving you more time with both children after daycare.
- One forgets very fast how much time and energy a newborn
needs and although it feels like maternity leave equals lots
of free time it really doesn't.
Fortunately, I held onto my full time day care spot for my
two year old son when my second child was born. I also had a
few months off for maternity leave. Before the baby was born
I thought I'd keep the older home at times, but day care was
my salvation. It helped maintain routine for my son. (We are
very attached to our providers.) It provided time for me to
rest and bond with the baby during the day, something I
couldn't have done otherwise. I underestimated the value of
this until my daughter was born! My older son preferred to
be at day care anyway- friends, more stimulation, etc.
Maintaining full time care during my leave was one of the
best things I did after the second child was born.
Like most people said in the last newsletter, its nice to
have daycare to send your toddler to so you can spend quiet
time alone with the baby. Good for you, and good for the
baby. Good for the toddler too if they are happy and
stimulated at daycare. When my 2nd was born, we did reduce
older child's preschool to part time (3 days a week, one of
the options offered by the school) in order to save money
and I did learn to enjoy my days at home with both kids. The
preschool did fill the days we weren't using with another
part time child. After about a year we increased to full
time again. We requested it in advance with the school and
it worked out that they had space. (I guess we were lucky
in that these schedule changes were happening in September
when a lot of schedule changes were happening so we were
able to get what we wanted. It also helped that we requested
the schedule changes well in advance.)
Congratulations and good luck.
After reading the last batch of responses, I wanted to
share my experience. For financial reasons, we did pull my
two year old son out of daycare when I went on maternity
leave with our new baby. We had to give up our spot and
accept that we would need to seek a new situation when I
return to work. I was nervous about being able to manage
the two kids and also about giving up our spot at the
daycare, which we liked. However, it's been great having
the two kids with me. Sure, there are moments when I'm
aggravated by my son's antics, or when they both need me at
once. But these moments are the exception. Mostly I've
loved taking care of the two of them and seeing them
interact. The developing relationship between the two kids
is wonderful to observe and participate in. Oddly, and
contrary to what I expected, I seem to be able to do a lot
more this time -- on my first maternity leave I found it
difficult to even get out of the house. This time I'm
packing them both up and going on all kinds of outings. My
son is a very high-energy toddler, needs a lot of
attention, but he has really risen to the challenge of
sharing my attention, and I think it may be partly because
I am asking more of him (asking him to wait his turn, etc.,
where in the past I always jumped to take care of his needs
right away). He sometimes talks about his daycare, which he
loved, but whenever I ask him if he wants to go there he
says no, so I think he's enjoying this time too. Now that
we are looking for new care, because I'm going back to work
soon, and I see that there are many good options out there,
so I'm confident that both children will be happy in the
Enjoying my brief stint as a SAHM
My 18-month-old son loves his daycare in Pleasant Hill, which we
chose because it was fairly close to my job in Walnut Creek. But
now, I'm going on maternity leave soon and we live in Oakland. I
want my son to be in daycare still because he loves it so much. I
want to switch him to something closer to home but I feel like we
are not very desirable patrons: We want part-time daycare now and
full-time daycare in late August (when I go back to work), and
we're going to have another baby who will need daycare then, too.
What do people do when they go on maternity leave and have an
older child? Keep him/her in daycare full-time? Part-time? Do a
lot of daycares take younger siblings when parents go back to
work? Is it a bad idea to change to a daycare closer to home
right before my son's world is rocked by the addition of another
We left our son in preschool, with his same schedule, upon the
arrival of our baby. He only had to deal with one major change
to his life, rather than two. It also allowed me time alone
with the baby. There were times when I wondered if I should've
kept him home more to bond with her, but they have such a
loving relationship (peppered with sibling rivalry, of course)
that I can't imagine would be that much better had I kept him
As for whether your daycare will accept your baby when you go
back to work, that should be an easy question for them to
answer (most make siblings a priority if there's room). And
since you'll be returning to work, it seems the same rationale
for attending the Pleasant Hill school would apply. It might be
a pain driving from Oakland to PH when you don't ''need'' to, but
who knows? you may find it to be one of the highlights of the
day when the baby falls asleep in the car and you have some
quiet time to yourself (albeit driving).
I have a 3 year old and 2 1/2 month old. I highly recommend
keeping your son in daycare if you can afford it. We had
various recommendations on how to best adjust our son to his
new sister. The best advice we received was to keep him in his
routine as much as possible. Switching daycares at this time
could be a bit tough for him to handle as he adjusts to his
life being changed with the addition of a sibling. I would
also start at looking for daycare for your upcoming new baby.
I had a difficult time finding anyone licensed to take an
infant, the waitlists go into the summer for the bigger
facilities (I live in the Alameda area). Good luck!
Since your son loves daycare, I would switch him to a place
closer to home and see if he loves the new place just as much as
the old place. He might like it even better! And, since he
loves daycare, I would let him stay in daycare while you're on
maternity leave. If he decides that he liked his Pleasant Hill
daycare more, you can always move him back there when you return
I don't know why you think you are not a desirable patron; a
patron who will soon double her daycare business sounds very
desirable to me.
Don't switch your son's daycare, especially since he loves it
there. You'll want to keep his schedule as normal as you can,
especially after the baby comes because it will be a HUGE
adjustment when #2 comes along. He'll probably be ready to go
back quickly after the baby's born (within a few days), so be
prepared to let him.
mom of a 3 yr old & a 1 yr old
I am wondering what Daycare Vacation policies are out there.
At our daycare, you pay 50% of the tuition for the days you are
gone. I think that's reasonable. However, that only holds
true for 2 weeks. If you go away for more than 2 weeks in the
year, you then pay 100% for the time you are away. Is this
common? What other policies are out there?
Wow, that's super generous. All day cares I know charge 100% all
the time. Doesn't matter if your kid attends or not.
it sounds like you have a great set-up! our daycare charges us
100% all of the time, i.e. if we are gone for 1 week or 4 weeks,
we still have to pay the full monthly fee.
Assuming your child is in a group setting, I think it's typical to pay
full price while you
are on vacation (that's the case where we are). After all, the daycare
providers are not
on vacation. Imagine that your child was 6 and replace ''daycare'' with
You don't get a reduction in tuition for taking your child out for a 2
since school is still in session and teachers must still be paid.
2 weeks at 50%, over that, you pay %100 seems reasonable to me.
If you rent a house, you pay rent when you go on vacation. If you
have a phone, you pay the basic cost whether or not you make
calls. The people who work at your day care need to get paid
whether you go on vacation or not. You are paying for the option
to have your child cared for. You are paying for them not to give
your spot to somebody else. If this is not working for you, maybe
you need a much less formal child-care set up.
Wow. Consider yourself lucky. My daughter has been in three
different daycares and we had to pay 100% tuition at all three
when we were on vacation. The daycare she is in now allows you
to try to sell your vacation days to other parents or swap, but
this is the only daycare that I've heard of that allows it.
I am currently looking for a family daycare for my 7 month old,
and a question has come up. My husband is a teacher and is off
for about 10 weeks over the summer. It seems silly to keep him
in daycare during that time (or maybe on a very limited basis),
plus, my husband wants to be able to spend time with him. Will
we be expected to pay our full rate during the time we take off
in order to hold our spot, or will most providers be willing to
work out something so that we pay a minimal amount to hold the
spot during the summer?
I have been a daycare provider for over ten years. I do require
parents to pay for any vacation time they take in full. I am a
single mother with three young children and my daycare business
income is my bread and butter. If different families paid
suiting to their needs, I would never know how much income I had
to rely on. Also, I find that when parents see that their
child/children are in such a quality environment, getting so much
love and learning, and having so much more than just their
physical needs met, they don't mind (afterall they get paid
vacations). I have had many moms who have taken maternity leaves
and pay regardless if their child attends daycare or not.
Dedicated Daycare Provider
I am a teacher and have two children in childcare. I pay for
childcare for both of them during the summer months.
My youngest is cared for in a home. The woman who cares for him
depends on her pay for her living. I feel it would be unfair for
me to expect her to take a pay cut every summer just because I
choose to not send my son. If she is holding the spot for him
she should get paid for it. One summer she did offer to give me
a cut rate if she could find another child to take the spot
temporarily. I thought that was fair, but no temporary child
My oldest is in preschool. I assumed that their rules would be
simillar to my home daycare provider. (It is... they have a
budget too. Their costs don't go down just because I am not
sending my kid. I would in fact have to unenroll him from the
school. The head teacher was surprised that I didn't do that
just for the summer. Apparently, at the school he is in there
are several teachers who do just that with their kids. And,
chances are that I wouldn't have a problem re-enrolling him once
the school year begins, but starting the school year without
childcare is a risk I am not willing to face.
Truth be told, I have enjoyed having the flexibility that
keeping them ''in'' childcare has provided. I am free to send or
not send them as fits my plans. Sometimes I send one and do
something special with the other. Sometimes I send them both and
get a project done that I can't do when the kids are around. We
spend lots of time together too, but we have more options.
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