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  1. #1
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    Default Is there a 'good' age to start child care?

    DS is almost 16months. He is very attached to me and wary of strangers.
    If we go to a play group, or someones house for a visit, he will cling to me for about 15 minutes before he feels comfortable enough to start exploring.

    He doesn't like being held by many people apart from us and his grand parents.

    I have never really left him with anyone as mine and my husbands family are not very involved in our lives and are not in a position to look after him.
    So it has been just us for most of the time.

    He did have a short stint in family day care with a wonderful carer, 2 days a week for about three months while I started looking for work. Unfortunately she had to close her centre due to personal reasons. I didn't find a job. He settled well there and seemed to enjoy it.

    I was talking to a friend about whether I was going to try and find a new centre for him and said I was quite happy with him at home at the moment and would wait until he was two. She has older children and said that if I waited until he was two he would be too attached to me and his separation anxiety would be extreme. My Mum has also said that he needs to learn to be away from me and day care would be good for both of us. He is fine being left with my husband. He does have a little cry when I first say goodbye but is fine within minutes.

    Does anyone have any experience with putting their children in care in regards to seperation anxiety at different ages? Do you wish you'd started them sooner/later etc?

  2. #2
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    Separation anxiety is going to happen regardless of when you send your child to childcare. There is absolutely no need to send your child to childcare before the age of 2. In many children that will worsen, not improve separation anxiety. Some children are naturally more anxious than others.

    The age of 3 is a better age to send children to childcare if they are going is my understanding. There is plenty of research suggesting that care with a main caregiver (usually a parent) prior to that is beneficial. Of course, it's not always practical for SO many reasons and every child is different.

    I recommend playgroup as a good thing to do now to help with socialisation, but with you there for extra emotional support. Then, if you don't go down the childcare route you could organise 3yo Kinder and then definitely send your ds to 4yo Kinder prior to starting school.

    My ds was cared for by my dh, my mum and a nanny until he was 3 as I returned to full time work when he was 12 months old. He went to childcare 2 days a week at age 3 and I wish I'd sent him to family day care instead ... he did ok for a few months, then found it all too stressful as the routine changed every day with different carers depending on the time of day/etc. We had no other option and when we seriously wanted to pull him out he only had a few months to go so we persisted.

    He thrived at 4yo Kinder with no tears or issues with separation anxiety at all.

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    Jasper started childcare at 2.5 years, still breast fed almost on demand, still "worn" a lot, still cosleeping, barely been outside of my care at all, including only a few times with grandparents or his daddy, and his first day, no trial as I needed him in asap, I took him in, he started playing and the carer talked to him, I said "okay bubba time for mummy to go" and he started a tantrum wail and grabbed hold of the table firmly.


    .... "no jasper you're staying here mummy is going" he practically shrugged and went on playing.

    So no I don't believe there is an age children NEED to start before.

    My personal feelings for my children having worked in childcare my ideal is not starting until they can talk (or at least communicate) and as a bare minimum I want katelyn walking before she starts. I personally feel better if they meet those milestones before childcare - for MY children.

    Many babies, toddlers, or children starting school experience separation anxiety. And so do many mummas!

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    I don't know how valid it is but I have had a child care worker say she thinks it better to start either before 9 months or after 3 years. I can see that point as seperation anxiety peaks between this time. If I was in your situation I'd be in no hurry at all, and try when he is 3ish if you want to.

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    lochiebearsmum  (09-10-2012)

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    Around 9 months : before bub develops separation anxiety and after they can crawl (so they are not stuck in a bouncer all day if the carers are busy).

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    SpecialPatrolGroup is offline T-rex is cranky until she gets her coffee.
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    My DD was 15 months old and whilst I don't know if it was the ideal age, it was the age she was at when the budget required me to go back to work. She did cry when I dropped her off each morning for a while but then she would have a really fun time with the other kids and she has flourished there.

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    Sorry, I want to clarify that if anyone made another choice - please don't feel judged by what I said! Life doesn't always fit the ideal, it might not be the right decision to any particular family and just because one person I once spoke to thinks that doesn't mean it's correct!!! just trying to say I wouldn't rush or feel pressured by your mum etc if you don't need or want to look into childcare at the moment.

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    Each parent has different reasons for putting their kids in care. If you are happy and your child is happy, then there is no reason that you HAVE to put them into care.
    It is quite worthwhile for a child to have some experience being away from you and happy before they start school but apart from that what's the rush?? You do what YOU believe is best for YOUR child

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    Gee some of what's been said above is just not true!

    From what I've read and all the different parents I've spoken to, in the various situations, it really comes down to the personality of the child - not age - whether they get anxiety or not. My sister works in childcare and her and the other girls that work there all say the same thing.

    DS started going for 3 hrs at 5 months, then gradually built up to 2 days when I started back at work when he was 9 months, and now 3 days at 2 years. He's never cried once when I've left. He's cool, and has a great time. All the kids do, even the ones who cry at first.

    Theres no reason why you can't ease him in - stay and play for a while until he's settled. Or just stay home with him if you prefer.
    Last edited by Baracuda; 03-10-2012 at 21:01.

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    sweetsugardumplin' is offline be the change you want to see in da world
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    Baracuda stranger awareness peaks at around seven/eight/nine months (this is a developmental milestone) and this can exacerbate separation anxiety.

    So age can play a big part, the child's previous experiences of separation and attachments to others, how adults respond to and support the child and yes - the child's personality too.
    Sorry very tired...not very articulate

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