9-6 and Childcare

I have two children who are pre-k. My wife and I both have no immediate family in the state, and we both work until 6. At the moment we have a nanny, which is very expensive, but in looking for preschools it seems like there is no alternative.

Most preschools require the children to be picked up by 6, I guess presuming that working till 5 is the standard, or they are unable to staff until say, 6:30. In the entertainment industry in LA the standard clock out is 6:00, which accounts for a large percentage of the jobs in the area. I’ve never had a job that was 8-5, and it is common to work a little late trying to get something finished up. It’s not always possible to drop everything simply because it’s supposed to be quitting time.

So what do people do? Do you and your spouse both work too late to meet the preschool deadline, without a grandparent or other family available? Do you have a child under two who is not potty trained (cutting out a large swath of available child care places)?

How do you handle half-day kindergarten, especially if your child ends up in the afternoon session?

Can you hire a sitter to pick up the kid and take her to your home? Maybe even get dinner started for you? It would be cheaper than all day individual care and still give your daughter the socialization of daycare.

Places around here stopped demanding toilet training about 10 years ago, so I can’t help there, sorry. It’s certainly *possible *to train before 2, but I wouldn’t advise it unless it was the kid’s idea.

In my area most daycares go until 6:30. I do have friends who have identified teachers in their schools willing to take the kids home with them and provide “after-care.”

Most companies will allow parents to come early and leave early, or skip lunch to meet the childcare schedule. There is also the option of laying extra and having the daycare schoolbus drop the kids off at the office. (This means a LOT of commute time for the kids though.)

Then there’s the au pair option. Au Pairs are usually going to college on the area, and so provide after care and occaisional weekend backup, along with light housework.

Good luck!

That was what we did. I started at 7 am for years to be to daycare by 6:30 (and I was usually there by 5.

With half day K, our daycare provided a bus to and from school that the kids would take.

At my kids’ preschool, I see more than a few kids being picked up by nannies/babysitters. I don’t know how expensive or difficult it would be to hire someone for just an hour or so a day, to pick up from school and wait at your house for a short while, but it might be worth looking into.

My husband and I alternate late/early days. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I get to work at 7 so I can leave work by 4 and get to daycare by 5. On those days, my husband drops our son off so he doesn’t have to get to daycare so early in the morning. (We want him to be able to take his time getting ready and the breakfast they serve there is not at all healthy, so we fill him up on the good stuff before he hits the door.)

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I drop our son off by 8 or 8:30 and get to work usually by 9 and stick around until about 6. My husband leaves home early so he can leave work early to get our son.

It’s kind of a complicated schedule, but it allows us to make sure our son is in daycare usually just from 8:30 until 4:30 or 5 instead of dropping him really early and picking him up when daycare closes, which is around 6. I’m not sure if that hour or so a day makes a difference to him, but it does to us.

The upsides to this are that our son gets to spend more time at home with one of us than he would otherwise and it also reduces the guilt we would feel were he at daycare longer.

The downsides are that my husband and I have to each stick to a fairly rigid schedule ourselves and that means that we either need prior notice if, for example, a late or early meeting is scheduled or if one of us will travel.

That said, the schedule we have works for us - we’ve been doing it for 3 years now.

The standard around here (DC metro) is 6, or at least it was when we were last using daycare. We worked this by having one of us be the drop-off parent, and the other being the pick-up parent (I’d go in to work early so I could do the pickup by 6, Typo Knig would drop off in the morning, then work later).

Of course, being DC metro, a lot of work days start very early, meaning people are off in time for a 6 PM pickup or even earlier.

It’s definitely tough to manage daycare and any sort of career.

My wife stopped working for 7 years.

I had another thought about this just now.

You might want to find out if your daycare will have a “lead” teacher and teacher’s assistants. The way our daycare works is the lead teacher and primary teacher’s assistant are generally there from 8 am to 3 pm. The people who come in after that are sort of like the after-school sitters.

One of the reasons my husband and I chose a “day off/day on” schedule was because sometimes I need to work late, but at the same time, the lead teacher, who knows more about my kid than the after-school sitters, is more likely to speak with me in depth about my son than to my husband. This is pretty typical with all the rooms in our daycare - the lead teachers tend to speak to the mom more for whatever reason.

If that’s true in your daycare, and parent-teacher conferences aren’t the norm, that might be something you take into consideration when hammering out your schedule.