One big change at a time for 2-year-old

FROM TOTS TO TEENS

August 03, 1993|By Dr. Modena Wilson and Dr. Alain Joffe | Dr. Modena Wilson and Dr. Alain Joffe,Contributing Writers Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Q: My husband and I will both be working full-time days soon. We think we might put our 2-year-old daughter in nursery school. We have found one we really like. Will five days of nursery school be too much for her? Should we take her to a sitter part of the time?

A: Your question is difficult to answer without knowing more about your daughter and what she is accustomed to, but your dilemma is a familiar one. Many young children must be cared for out of their own homes because their parents work.

If your daughter has been spending almost all her time at home with you or her father, going either to a nursery school or a baby sitter's house will be a big change for her.

Many young children seem happiest and most secure when their lives are built around familiar, dependable routines. Unless your daughter is extremely outgoing, we suggest you start with one change, not two. Either a good nursery school or the house of a sitter you really like should be fine for you daughter, but we wouldn't suggest planning to split her care between them if you have a choice.

You seem to be questioning whether your daughter is old enough for a group environment like a nursery school.

Many parents and children find nursery school an excellent dTC choice. Groups for young children are small. There should be plenty of time for child-directed play, individual attention and even for rest.

It is the job of the nursery school teachers, who should have training in early childhood education, to nurture the children exclusively. A sitter may have many other things competing for her attention.

ADr. Wilson is director of general pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center; Dr. Joffe is director of adolescent medicine.

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