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Childcare...when and who?

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Five months into placement with 20 month year old. He is doing very well in terms of attachment and settling and he is utterly lovely. I also have a birth Son of 6 who has overall coped very well , with a few wobbles but seems to be doing well. Have found things very difficult on a practical level although that is improving, but the worst is the emotional roller-coaster of making this new dynamic work and keeping head above water but I dont think I am experiencing anything abnormal..... I feel like over all I am doing well and just dealing with the struggles that come from being a single parent of two. I do not have any set breaks from the Children as my eldest has very little contact with Dad due to his mental health issues. I have wonderful family and friends but circumstances changing for a few key members of support network has ment that I am not getting the support or breaks required. Before the Christmas period I was experiencing very low moods and the health visitor is pushing for me to use a Childminder 1/2 days a week so I could have proper breaks and generally be in better shape for both the Children. At the time I was horrified at idea but then began to accept maybe it could be a better option for both of us. However over the last few weeks I have had time to dwell on it, have been feeling better and feel this could be very damaging for my little one. Question - Do you grit your teeth, accept life is going to be very tough for a while but hope that keeping them with you full time will benefit them more in the long run...Or is is impossible to be superhuman and realize you may need help and this means doing something aka Childcare this early on that you never planned to do.....Advice, experience appreciated...!


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When? ideally not especcially early in placement, the first year.

Who? One person who is aware of attachment and willing to promote attachment between you and the child. So when you are there and the child falls for example and comes to her she will stear the child gentle to you.


The truth is that yes being with a child 24/7 is very good for attachment, but if a child is prepositioned to rad for example you are not going t o prevent this by being with the child all the time. I think 2 days is too much, maybe one morning a week if you have to.

Take steps at home to create 'you time',for example put your children early to bed so after 19.30 the evening is yours. You do not have to give a child attention the whole time, have moments during the day where you do your own thing and the child plays close by, Make sure you and the child get enough exercise during the day, go outfor walks, let the child walk as well.

I am a single adopter as well with two adopted children, for me there was never the o pportunity to sent them to child minders because. of their special needs, to be honest I just got on with it, accepted that 'me' time would not be on the books for a long time.

I do realise that you have a birth child what in a way makes the situation more tricky as you are very aware how 'normal attachments' feel, andthat's tricky with a specialneeds child. Every adopted child has adoption related special needs, at least for the first few years, often more r

than one element is tricky, attachment, school, relationships with others outside the family, behavioural issues etc, etc. Maybe instead of looking at childcare so early into placement you need to talk to a professional or other adopters how they. made it work, your expectations, acceptance of the situation, tips how to make things easier. I I do not know you and just pressume that you need practical help, maybe you are really depressed and not just a bit down (what is not depression and probably part of most adopters journey) in that case you need medical help in the form of therapy or medication. Best wishes, it will get easier over time!


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Hi, I'm very aware that I'm not going to be very popular saying this but I put my one year old into nursery one day a week from about ten weeks into placement. Maybe we will pay for it in the future, but I genuinely don't believe it did any harm. I am firmly of the belief that if you never leave your child, they will never learn that you will ALWAYS come back. Personally I don't understand the logic of never leaving them - adopted children obviously have a fear of their primary carer suddenly disappearing and never returning. So by proving over and over again that you will return, I believe it is better in the long term for reassurance and attachment. But, each to their own and I have no doubt that many will disagree. Good luck on what ever you do!


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I think there needs to be a balance and each child is different so there’s no one size fits all. I’m assuming you’re not back at work yet - presumably if you are returning to work then you’re going to have to consider childcare options anyway? Would an understanding child minder be a better option than 1/2 days in nursery. Or half days, at least to start with. In my experience, with three kids, our hv really wasn’t that clued up about the different needs of adopted children so unless yours is more knowledgeable then .... I do though get what she says about you needing to be in the best possible physical and mental health to cope. What’s your support network like? Any hands on helpers?


My own personal opinion is that 20 months for any child, birth or adopted, is quite young to be in childcare although I fully understand that it has to happen. I know for sure that my children wouldn’t have coped with being separated from me too early into placement. When my youngest was placed I had a 5 year old, a 2 year old and a 12 month old and a husband who worked away. I still have no idea how I managed it but I know that each child benefitted from having one to one time with me for a long time. Mine didn’t start nursery until they were 2 and a half - minimum of 18 months into placement.


What are your plans moving forward?


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Hi Millymum


I think looking after yourself is super important. As a single adopter it must be hard to get that space and especially with a very young one. I think you are the best person to decide what is best for your children and you should go with your gut so to speak! There are so many different opinions about childcare, some people stay at home and others go back after 3 months off with full time Jobs (the two extremes I know). You have to do what works for you too as well as the kids. There is nothing wrong with using a childminder if you need to. Maybe consider doing two mornings first for example, it doesn't have to be whole days. You are in this for the long haul and so need to make sure you are ok.


My experience is a bit different to yours as my ad was nearly 3 when she arrived in April but we dId use childcare quite quickly. She then started nursery 5 mornings per week in the September for various reasons. We are nearly 5 years into placement now so she is in full time school. Was it the right thing to do? Who knows! But we get on well and she is well settled.


Good luck with your decision,

Crazycat.


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I agree that nursery for such a young child is not ideal (and I'm an ex nursery worker)- it may be good for a child with a secure attachment but there are often many changes of staff in nurseries and with the best will in the world it is hard to avoid these - a childminder may be best but would have to be someone with understanding (or who was open to understanding) the attachment needs of your child. I think consistency is really important - that if you are going to return to work at some point you try if possible to use the same person / nursery you intend to use long term and build it up very gradually. Be aware that very young children with attachment issues may very well cope on the surface - my son when in foster care was looked after by a selection of FC extended family and neighbours and also had a childminder 3 days a week - he was happy to go to anyone - but this is not normal behaviour for a 14mth old and in fact damaging, so try to minimise the risk. Of course your own needs are very important and you need to have these met and be strong to cope with everything - it is balancing things out the best you can. I think a half day is a very good idea - try to get HV help in finding the right person - and make good use of the time - FOR YOU. Another thing you could think about is going places with your son's friends and their Mums - park, play places, swimming - where your son feels it is all about him and you have adult company but are still there for the little one and he is having fun too - often another adult around though not specifically looking after the children can make all the difference


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I started my lo with with one morning a week of nursery from about 19 months old, six months into placement. My social worker suggested it in order to give me a bit of a break. She also advised against using a childminder to avoid lo seeing her as another mummy and another home. When I first started looking at nurseries he was going through a bit of a clingy stage and it didn't feel right, so I did wait before starting him for about a month or so and fortunately when he did start he took to it really well. I definitely think it was the right decision for both of us. There's no harm in visiting some nurseries and see what kind of a feel you and lo get. As long as they enjoy being there, I can't see that a few hours a week will affect your attachment.


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I had to return to work 10 months into placement, my LO was a little bit younger than yours at that time so I put him in a nursery part-time (I am not single adopter, but my partner works long hours). I just wanted to add that I think that one day a week could, some times, be more difficult for them compared to say 2-3 short days/mornings/afternoons. This is because a whole week is a long time for them and it breaks the regularity. I agree with visiting a couple of nurseries and get a feeling. There is funding for 15 hours/week from 2yrs onwards, so I would try a few hours and see how he is doing. And if you return to work soon, then there will be somewhere where you can build up. My LO took a couple of months crying when I left him, but now I think he genuinely loves it going there. But as Dobatella said, every child is different


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I'm a single adopter too, although my children were older so no experience of your particular situation. But I do know that you can't as a single person expect to be the equivalent of two pairs of hands. You do need that break.


Interestingly there's a lot of literature supporting Chickenlegs point (above) that well-timed, well-planned and well-supported periods of separation are important for attachment. You don't have to spend every minute together - in a two parent setup you wouldn't, and in a single parent family your "other half" will come from your support network.


As well as all the good points above about childcare are there also possibilities to get a break through for example going out with a group or another parent, or asking someone into your home? These can sometimes break up the intensity of the single-parenting.


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you could try micro moments. I would take my book into the bathroom and read while they played in the bath so on hand if they needed me. i also put them into the garden (safe and contained )while i watched out the patio door with a drink..Use the tv or dvd for short breaks for you. would a relative come to watch the children while you had a bath /


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My point about attachment was not that you shouldn't have a break but that you need consistent reliable childcare if used - ideally one person or place - as the involvement of lots of different people can be confusing but also detrimental for children who have had a shaky start - if one consistent person is used it can be very positive for all especially if you are on your own with all the responsibility - you do need to look after yourself to be able to do the best for your children


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My issue with childminders would be a fairly basic one (and it is MY issue - I am aware that many people use them successfully). My son was suddenly removed from his place of safety and plonked with two strangers (myself and my partner) in a house. And this is now his forever home. I would have huge concerns about effectively placing him with one or two strangers in a house for childcare purposes. Nurseries may not be the best childcare option, but from my point of view they were the furthest away from essentially recreating the experience of introductions and hence avoiding the possibility in his head of yet another "forever home". I think childminders are without a doubt an amazing option for well attached children. But I am 100% confident that all I would have installed in my son is even more confusion and fear.


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That’s a good point chickenlegs. The nursery my LO attends resembles a bit the mother & baby/toddler groups that we attend. So I agree, less confusing here too.


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We went with childminder when I went back to work pure and simply to avoid another change about a year later when he started at school. However while I was off on adoption leave our son went to a pre-school - initially half a day session (3 hours) a week which built up to 3 half-day sessions. This was from 3 months in - and was really beneficial to me in giving me a bit of recharge time - my husband was working full time and had fixed hours so wasn't around much during week. So in many ways similar to nursery although consistent staff with some knowledge around adoption which helped no end. Used he three 2 year old childcare as he was gone 2 when he came to us.


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