I just read Monica’s post about how she and her husband decided against daycare/pre-school for her 2.5 year-old daughter. I’m really happy for her that she’s found the right thing for her family.
However, this route for us would be like taking the 405 South to Pasadena. In other words: The Wrong Way.
Shnook is a little over 3 now, and we spent an amazing summer together. The four of us went to farms and on boat rides, ran through the sprinklers in our yard, and picked blueberries. Sometimes it was just the three of us (see the longest day ever), or very occasionally the two of us going to a swim lesson at our neighbor’s lakefront.
Let me explain something to you about my toddler: He’s very demanding. I don’t just mean that he’s smart. Every kid is smart. I mean that he never lets me get away with anything. I cannot CANNOT, (believe me, I’ve tried) sit him in front of the TV when I need to get something done. The other night my neighbor’s kids were over, watching Winnie The Pooh. Her kids? Zoned out on the couch. My kids? Running around on the floor chasing each other and screaming.
Don’t get me wrong, he can and will play alone, but not if I need him to do so, like to get his baby brother down for a nap, for example.
Also, unlike preschool teachers, I am generally not crafty. I would much rather have my son participate in building a skeleton out of wood and scrap metal (yeah, they did that last year) than play with the lame dried-out playdough I made last December. There’s plenty of time for him to play with that when he gets home in the afternoons or on the weekends.
While we did do some nature projects in Vermont (stick, leaf and rock collecting, bug examinations, chipmunk observation) there’s less opportunity for that stuff in my Southern California backyard. It all gets pretty old, pretty quickly so it’s best to reserve the outside play time for right before dinner. Let’s not forget, I have another little guy at home, plus work/household crap that I can never do when he’s around. It’s just hard to make activities for him all day long.
I have no concerns about his academic or social abilities, I just think he’ll be much more stimulated in a preschool environment.
Another bonus to preschool for me is that Shnook WON’T nap at home. At preschool? It’s a no-brainer. Everyone else is asleep, so he sleeps too. At least for now.
All this coupled with the fact that I have very fond memories of my own preschool experience. I’m still in touch with several classmates and my teacher, she’s in her eighties now. She’s like family. My mom still has lunch weekly with parents she met at my preschool, so obviously it was a positive experience for her too.
So, I’m glad we found a place for Shnook to spend his mornings and naptimes. I’m glad we have the opportunity to send him. Do I miss him during the day? Yes, so much. But if he stayed home all the time? I think I might want to hang myself by nightfall.
Does your toddler need preschool as much as mine does?