Having a two-week Christmas break plus another week of snow days added on to it made me realize how much I’m glad my little ones are in a part-time preschool. Sure, after it was all over with, I needed a bit of a break, but I think my kids needed a break from me even more.
For example, my two-year-old goes to preschool one morning a week. That’s only three and a half hours per week. That’s means I’m with her the other 164 and a half hours each week. But for that brief window of time she gets to be around other kids her age and in a classroom with different adults telling her what to do, instead of it just being me. I get the morning to do things that are much easier for me to do without having children in tow, like go to the doctor’s office, get my haircut, or watch Sportscenter, uninterrupted.
It’s something I would highly recommend to any stay-at-home parent.
Many stay-at-home parents don’t even consider daycare for a preschooler as an option for a couple of different reasons.
First of all, some stay at home parents don’t reach out to find child care for their kids because they think it’s selfish. Just because you stay home with your kids, there’s no need to be a martyr about it. Being home full-time can be exhausting, demanding, relentless, and so on. Its OK to need a break or to ask for help. This is one thing I’ve gotten better at over the last few years. If you’re offering help, I’ll take it. Just like when my wife told me she wanted to try giving birth without and epidural, I said, “You know they don’t give out any special awards for that type of thing.” Same goes for being home with your kids. No one is going to show up at your door and give you a gold star just because you are home with your kids all-day everyday.
People also get deterred about part-time preschool because they think it’s too expensive. It’s true some schools are ridiculously expensive. Like most of you, I’d rather put money away for my kids’ college funds than spend it on someone teaching my child how to finger paint, but there are also affordable preschools out there too. My daughter’s preschool is only $60 per month. For our family, it is worth that to get her out and around other kids while giving me a chance to get things done at the same time. Also, many preschools offer discounts rates based income and some are willing to work out deals where you could volunteer once a month to get a discounted or free rate, which operates much like a cooperative preschool.
There you have it. No more excuses. Ask around. Where are people you know sending their kids to preschool? The internet is your friend, you can do tons of research on preschools without having to leave your house. If a little break is what you want, or need, it can be done.