In a dilemma about childcare

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In a dilemma about childcare

Postby decollette » Sat Oct 29, 2011 2:42 pm

Hi everyone, I am new to the forum and would like to get some perspective on the issues I'm facing right now.
My 18 mo son had been home with me since he was born, and the plan was for me to place him in a childcare when he reaches 18 mths and over the transition period of a few months i would find work.

I found a childcare near my home a few months ago and seeing that the environment is spacious and ideal, i hastily placed a deposit for the enrolment. The thing is, i had recently dropped in and was surprised to see that the toddler class was huge! They looked understaffed to me and i started to have my worries about leaving him there. (spread of viruses with big group, teachers not able to tend to him well etc) ALso, i can seriously feel the stress of him being outside his comfort zone, and also overwhemed by all the activity around him in an enclosed space! The teachers looked in a daze and rather intimidating i would say.

I later chanced upon another cc, also in the vicinity, and felt that it does not have the cold vibes from that cc that i had enrolled him in, the class size is reasonable and teachers seem lively and animated. The person who attended to me answered my queries professionally. Thing is, i had already placed the deposit with the other school and my son will start the half day programme in a few days. I plan to really observe the class and if deem unsuitable, will withdraw him.

However, i have become wary and tired of searching for a good childcare, and also started questioning myself if my 18 mo is too early to be in this environment.He is not able to express himself well yet, and though they say kids are adaptable, i guess im feeling this from a mother's instinct. I also will not deal well with the initial wailing that comes from separation anxiety.

So now i am also contemplating leaving him in the care of a trusted nanny while i go find work.Should i leave him with the nanny, i will sign him up for short playgrp to let him mingle and learn. in short, i feel ready to get back in the workforce again but not sure if i can leave him in a cc environment. It just seems pretty harsh on both of us.

I hope helpful parents here can give me some advice, insight, anything at all. My husband is supportive of any decision i make. i really am stressed out with the whole cc hunting and decision making. Really grateful for your input. Thanks!

decollette
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Re: In a dilemma about childcare

Postby SAHM_TAN » Sat Oct 29, 2011 7:55 pm

It takes time and effort to find a cc that meets individual criteria. I remembered that MCYS set guidelines for teacher, kid ratio for each age group. If you want a smaller ratio, the fees will be higher.

Just follow your instinct, made the decision that you are most comfortable.

As for the deposit, you can try to get some of it back, if not all. I do not know about your money situation, if it's a sum that you can spare, then just treat it as lesson learnt. Money is something that can be earned back later.

All the best.

SAHM_TAN
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Re: In a dilemma about childcare

Postby decollette » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:47 pm

Thanks sahm Tan for the kind words.

MCYS ratio has always been 1:8, and this was what the centre told me as well. However, when i popped in during activity time, what i saw was a big group of playgroup kids with only one teacher, and they are all just sitting around. I had high hopes for this centre cos its a reputable one. Guess i was disappointed with the centre and worried for my child.

I know i will have to forfeit if i dun find it conducive for him. Quite heartpain either way!

decollette
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Re: In a dilemma about childcare

Postby cherrygal » Sun Oct 30, 2011 12:28 am

Your worries and anxiety are typical of first-time parents. I had those worries too when I sent my first kid to a CCC. I was not as fortunate as you though coz I was working full time throughout. My mom helped look after him from birth till he turned 18mths. I had no other choice but to send him to a CCC. Thankfully, I just used the same CCC as my niece so my boy had a familiar face to turn to. I had to change him to another CCC when I moved house the following year. There was the usual dawdling and refusal to go to school episodes but all was fine once he entered the gates of the CCC. He enjoyed himself very much and made many friends possibly because he was a really talkative boy. He still is!

My point is, your "indecisiveness" is partly due to the fact that you have choices. You are in no rush to throw your kid into a centre as you are still not working. You also have a trusted nanny who you think is a good alternative.

I tried a nanny once when my son was about 2 months old. I didn't like the experience and begged my mom to help me till he turned 18 months. I personally wouldn't entrust my kids to a nanny coz 1) nannies aren't that well-educated themselves and wouldn't be able to educate my kids. The kids will end up watching TV most of the time; 2) their hygiene levels are questionable; and 3) most nannies are not trained in safety matters and like to take the kids out of the house for no reason to relieve boredom.

In your case, you want the nanny to take your kid to enrichment classes. That calls for more opportunities for them to go out. She has to be really trusted and reliable to take on such a task coz it involves taking public transport, crossing roads etc. I would prefer the lessons to take place all in one single location to lessen the risks.

Overall, I trust CCCs more, especially for female children. You never know which Tom, Dick or Harry might visit the nanny at her home. It could be some perverted uncle or teenager. The worse thing is, there are no witnesses at her home.

With regards to your deposit, I would advise you to just lie to the supervisor and tell her you changed your mind about looking for a job. Just say you want to take care of your kid yourself. Maybe they might relent and return you your deposit. Sometimes, they could be happier to do that if they have a waiting list.

My personal experience with CCCs is great. My kids love school and they learnt a lot, much more than what I could have taught them myself. Believe me, it is really not easy to care for toddlers, cook their lunch and play with them constructively the whole day. I am not working full-time now and I still send my younger kid to a full-time CCC. There's really no point in sending them to a half-day enrichment class then take them home to watch TV the rest of the time. That would be what your nanny will be doing. I am sure you can't expect her to teach your kid English, Chinese, Maths and Art rite?

Decide carefully.

cherrygal
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Re: In a dilemma about childcare

Postby cherrygal » Sun Oct 30, 2011 12:41 am

Forgot to also address your fears about class size etc...

Falling sick is part and parcel of being in a CCC. They build up their immunity this way. Trust in the teachers of whichever centre you choose, and leave everything else to your god.

My only advice is, let go and you will see your kid shine in his newfound independence. Both my kids love school and I am proud of their achievements.

cherrygal
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Re: In a dilemma about childcare

Postby decollette » Sun Oct 30, 2011 5:45 pm

Hi cherrygal, i realised im indeed fortunate to have the option to be a sahm all these while, though its really tiring at times being the main caregiver 24/7. ACtually all along, i believed in the benefits of him being in a good childcare, and few months back, i was sure he would enjoy going to playgroup.

Afterall, its like a big playground with lots of friends. I still do believe they learn alot, either from their peers and thru activities. Your son went in at 18 months? Im starting to think that 2 yo or 21/2 years might be a better age, after some observation. They are better able to express their needs at this age, and starting to enjoy other kids' company? How long did your son take to adjust? And what improvements or positive things did u notice about him shortly after u sent him to childcare?

I have decided to bring him anyway and observe the teachers and practices of this childcare i have enrolled, and see for myself if its a good fit for my child before i decide on the next course of action.

Thanks for sharing with me your positive experience with ccc.

Having my child to deal with frequent illness is kinda heartpain, but i had already started him on supplements n vitamins so i guess i will just have to deal with it in time.










cherrygal wrote:Your worries and anxiety are typical of first-time parents. I had those worries too when I sent my first kid to a CCC. I was not as fortunate as you though coz I was working full time throughout. My mom helped look after him from birth till he turned 18mths. I had no other choice but to send him to a CCC. Thankfully, I just used the same CCC as my niece so my boy had a familiar face to turn to. I had to change him to another CCC when I moved house the following year. There was the usual dawdling and refusal to go to school episodes but all was fine once he entered the gates of the CCC. He enjoyed himself very much and made many friends possibly because he was a really talkative boy. He still is!

My point is, your "indecisiveness" is partly due to the fact that you have choices. You are in no rush to throw your kid into a centre as you are still not working. You also have a trusted nanny who you think is a good alternative.

I tried a nanny once when my son was about 2 months old. I didn't like the experience and begged my mom to help me till he turned 18 months. I personally wouldn't entrust my kids to a nanny coz 1) nannies aren't that well-educated themselves and wouldn't be able to educate my kids. The kids will end up watching TV most of the time; 2) their hygiene levels are questionable; and 3) most nannies are not trained in safety matters and like to take the kids out of the house for no reason to relieve boredom.

In your case, you want the nanny to take your kid to enrichment classes. That calls for more opportunities for them to go out. She has to be really trusted and reliable to take on such a task coz it involves taking public transport, crossing roads etc. I would prefer the lessons to take place all in one single location to lessen the risks.

Overall, I trust CCCs more, especially for female children. You never know which Tom, Dick or Harry might visit the nanny at her home. It could be some perverted uncle or teenager. The worse thing is, there are no witnesses at her home.

With regards to your deposit, I would advise you to just lie to the supervisor and tell her you changed your mind about looking for a job. Just say you want to take care of your kid yourself. Maybe they might relent and return you your deposit. Sometimes, they could be happier to do that if they have a waiting list.

My personal experience with CCCs is great. My kids love school and they learnt a lot, much more than what I could have taught them myself. Believe me, it is really not easy to care for toddlers, cook their lunch and play with them constructively the whole day. I am not working full-time now and I still send my younger kid to a full-time CCC. There's really no point in sending them to a half-day enrichment class then take them home to watch TV the rest of the time. That would be what your nanny will be doing. I am sure you can't expect her to teach your kid English, Chinese, Maths and Art rite?

Decide carefully.

decollette
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Re: In a dilemma about childcare

Postby cherrygal » Sun Oct 30, 2011 11:43 pm

Hi decollette
Yes, my son went in at 18mths (no choice at that time) and my gal at 21mths (coz I had more choices too). The fortunate thing for me was, both of them picked up the English language really fast. My boy began to speak a lot more just after he entered CC while my gal could already speak very well at 16mths, hence expressing herself was no problem. They are both very friendly and cheerful so it was easy for them to make friends. In fact, I need to thank my mom (who looked after both) for teaching them well. An educated caregiver makes a lot of difference.

Since you are a SAHM, you need to make a conscious effort to speak more to your kid and teach him to express himself. Prepare him well in advance by talking to him about school. I bought an Elmo book about school and spoke to my gal a few weeks before I sent her to the CC. We tried to make it as fun as possible. And as my older kid goes to school, we keep telling her that gor gor likes to go to school as well. If your kid has an older cousin that he likes, tell him that the cousin enjoys school too.

And, don't give up in the first few weeks if he says he hates school. It's just his separation anxiety talking. Once you persist, he will get the hang of it and you will soon see the day where he will actually wave a nice goodbye to you and trot in happily. My kids both took about 2 weeks to do that. Teachers told me that some kids take a month or so to adapt. You just have to tahan the crying when you leave. Just be quick about it. Don't linger. I think I was quite hardhearted when they cried so they adapted faster. Anyway, I usually call the centre later to check if they have stopped crying and kids usually do with so many distractions at the centre.

For my boy, he was able to pick up good language skills right after he entered. For my gal, she has learnt to count very well and can sing many songs. Both picked up habits such as keeping their toys and good manners.

Illness is unavoidable at this age. Just make sure you compensate for it by cooking nutritious food.

cherrygal
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Re: In a dilemma about childcare

Postby decollette » Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:39 pm

I also played him an elmo dvd about school to prepare him. Language wise, we exposed him to reading since many months ago.. and now he will come to us with books and ask us to read to him by saying "pls" And each book he will ask me to re read to him like 3 times so u can imagine.. its funny and tiring at the same time.
To him, a book is a must for him to the point that he will also take our mags and start flipping for a good 15 min by himself while im busy with chores.
At the start of 18 months, i realised a sudden big improvement, as in he will mimic what i say, and start picking up alot of words, which makes me glad.
One thing i notice about him is that he is happy to be with adults (most, but not all) He will happily let them hold him, even if it means he cant see me for a little while. But with kids his age, he mostly ignores their presence, like he is happy to be on his own. Im aware that tolddlers this age play along, and not with kids his age. So i guess going to playgroup will help in his socializing.
Though cheerful,he is slow to warm, unlike yours who is outgoing. I think this definitely will make the transition period abit harder. A friend told me that kids behave differently when their mom/primary caregiver is not around.DUnno how true is this. As in her son is extremely mischievious and hyper at home, but at school he will willingly sit thru classes.

decollette
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Re: In a dilemma about childcare

Postby Carolina » Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:12 pm

Hi decollette,

Am wondering if your son has since started childcare and how is he faring (in other words, just KPing. :P).

Can understand your concerns and difficulty in making decisions. I had the same problems with my son, although I've been a FTWM all along - my kids & maid went to my mom's 2 days a week and my MIL's 2 days a week & I worked from home 1 day a week. Initial plans was to start my older boy in CC only this year when he has to start N1. However, we started having disagreements with my ILs in regards to the care & upbringing methods of my son and, later, my boy showed frequent signs of being bored and his learning curve was stagnating. After much talk with my hubby, I started looking for a CC for my boy when he was around 17/18 months while I was on maternity leave after giving birth to my girl.

Took me a good 6 months before I finally found a CC to my satisfaction, be it curriculum, hygiene, health care, environment, etc. that has an immediate available space as well as is near to my mom's (I was trying to find 1 that's either near my place or my mom's). Started my boy after he turned 2. Think I visited almost 10 CCs in total. Have to say that, until now, I'm still happy with this CC and am planning to put my girl with them as well once she starts showing signs of being ready for more activities in her daily life.

All in all, I say go with what you think is best for your child. Age is just a rough guide as every child's development and readiness is different. For e.g., my son only started showing signs of being ready for CC at around 21 months, but my girl is already starting to show signs of readiness at barely 15 months old. Of course I can't start sending her now given that she's still not 18 months (& therefore can't attend CC) & still taking 2 naps a day. Yet, a certain CC manager insisted that starting anytime later than 18 months is too late.

As for other issues, e.g. your difficulty is leaving your son while he's screaming and crying, should not be factor in. It's part & parcel of parenting, it's our learning journey. It should not become a hindrance to what is best for our children's wellbeing.

Just my 2 cents. :)

Carolina
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Re: In a dilemma about childcare

Postby toddles » Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:04 pm

Enjoyed reading these posts.

I am also in a slight quandary at this point.

Initially, I would say go for the "trusted nanny" option. But after reading cherrygal's post, yes she does have a point. Who is your trusted nanny? A long time neighbour? Personally I thought a nanny would be preferable cos after all it's more one-to-one attention, which I believe they kinda need at that age (before 2 yrs? 2.5 yrs?). Also, much less likely to fall sick. Believe that most cc kids fall sick abt one week every month?

Carolina,
interested to find out which cc you decided on after visiting 10. Can PM me? thanks!

decollette,
there is some childcare policy that you get a full refund if you decide to withdraw yr child within the first two weeks. Not sure if that comprises the registration deposit, but no harm checking. :)

toddles
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