Learning Without Tears is a great program if you’ve got a kiddo with handwriting problems or if you want to teach your child more about keyboarding.
I’ve noticed my almost 4th grader does not have really great touch-typing skills even though he’d swear up and down that he does.
So with my 6-year-old, I wanted to start him off right. He’s about halfway through Keyboarding Without Tears — it was about $11 for the program — and it’s fun for him to do. We can do it in bite-sized pieces, and the way they’ve designed it is so smart. It’s really heads and tails above the free programs. Keyboarding Without Tears
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Sales of Note…
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And — here are some of our latest threadjacks of interest – working mom questions asked by the commenters!
- If you’re a working parent of an infant with low sleep needs, how do you function at work when you’re in the throes of baby’s sleep regression?
- Should I cut my childcare down to 12 hours a month if I work from home?
- Will my baby have speech delays if we raise her bilingual?
- Has anyone given birth in a teaching hospital?
- My child eats everything, and my friends’ kids do not – how should I handle? In general, what is the best way to handle when your child has some skill/ability and your friend’s child doesn’t have that skill/ability?
- ADHD moms, give me your tips to help with things like behavior in the classroom, attention to detail, etc?
- I think I suffer from mom rage…
- My husband and kids are gone this weekend – how should I enjoy my free time?
- I’m struggling to be compassionate with a SAHM friend who complains she doesn’t have enough hours of childcare.
- If you exclusively formula fed, what tips do you have for in the hospital and coming home?
- Could I take my 4-yo and 8-yo on a 7-8 day trip to Paris, Lyon, and Madrid?
Good morning- yet another Covid WWYD question. I am due with our 2nd in early October, and the plan had been for my 69yo mother (who is active and in good health) to come out to help take care of toddler and us for the first 2 weeks. She lives a 1.5 hour direct flight or 15 hour drive away. She really, really still wants to come and I do trust her social distancing and masking (as much as I trust anyone’s!). Driving would require multiple stops for gas and an overnight; she could get a direct flight on a carrier that is not selling middle seats. She would plan to mask and distance herself from us until she is able to get a rapid Covid test (which we have been successful with in our area).
We don’t have love family and don’t have great options for our toddler when I am in the hospital (other than DH staying home, but I would prefer to have him there).
WWYD? How do we decide between driving and flying if she comes?
I would fly. There was just an article today on CNN about how flying isn’t nearly as dangerous as people think it is. If she could drive through in one day, I think that’s safer, but an overnight in a hotel is no less risky than a flight imo.
Boston Legal Eagle says
Yes, I would also have her fly in. I think airlines have been taking a lot of measures to ensure safety. Driving solo that long seems more dangerous from a purely being on the road that long perspective.
Fly and rapid test. Our in-laws flew back from Florida and did that.
How long did you wait before they took the rapid test? My understanding is that if you fly and then take a test 24 hours later, it won’t actually tell you if you picked up COVID in the airport.
I looked into this when I thought I had been exposed and I think 3 days after exposure is the soonest it shows up.
I vote fly as well.
Definitely fly and rapid test.
Thank you for the feedback!!
If she’s willing, I would encourage her to wear a face shield on the plane as well as a mask. I think face shields protect the wearer more than masks do. Good luck, I hope it all goes smoothly!
This is interesting (and I feel old). What are the rules/expectations on learning to type for kids nowadays? When I was growing up, it was still basically a special skill – you could take a class, but it was optional. I took one in 6th grade, promptly forgot all of it (no chance to practice), then self-taught myself in college. Should I be working on this with my kids (5 and 7) like we do with letters, or just let them pick it up in school? When should I expect them to have this skill?
It was part of our mandatory third (?) grade curriculum, and I didn’t forget it because I was using the computer pretty consistently by that point forward – by high school much of my communication with friends was online (since this was pre-texting). My kid’s future school teaches it in fourth grade. I have no plans to do any teaching at home. I’m sure – just like with reading and other skills – there are parents who teach it at home early, but it’s not necessary.
Yes! It was a basic mandatory part of my 3rd grade curriculum too (I’m 38 so that was in … 1990? 1989?). Public school (and not a well funded district). Apple 2Es :).
I would categorize typing as an essential skill, just like handwriting. Kids should be learning to type in early elementary, as they will probably be expected to turn in typed assignments and take computerized essay exams in the upper elementary grades. Our school system did not teach typing, and I couldn’t find a good on-line instructional program. My daughter “taught” herself, but has a lot of inefficient habits such as pressing the shift key with the same hand that is typing the letter.
I would say your kids are the perfect age to try a program such as the featured one. I wish it had existed when mine was little!
I’m 33. We had a keyboarding class segment in 3rd grade I distinctly recall – we were expected to learn to type at the same time we were also working on cursive. We all had these little keyboard machines and parents volunteered to come teach the classes during the schoolday. One of those skills is still useful….
It was mandatory in 6th grade for us and I was so glad it was. I graduated high school in early 00s and even then all assignments were typed on the computer and I really appreciated being able to type quickly.
My mom has always been a hunt and peck person, with one finger on each hand, and somehow it works for her. She can still type really fast. But I’m glad I learned the “right” way.
Huh. I’m 40 and it was mandatory for us. I agree with avocado — this is as important as writing. My kids’ school teaches keyboarding in elementary school — third grade, maybe?
OK, you guys are just confirming that I am old. :) (When I said I took the class in 6th grade, I meant that it was on a typewriter!)
We had a one-room computer lab in high school (I graduated in ’98) where you could use a computer with permission, but other than that, I didn’t have any regular access to a computer until college (which was also in a lab). Sounds like there was a huge difference just a few years later.
Yup, I graduated in ‘03 and learned on computers (Mavis Beacon, anyone?) in third grade. It changed fast! My family had Apple desktops before I was born, and I got a laptop in 8th grade, but my family was an early adopter of computers.
Audrey III says
Mavis Beacon!! Me too! I used that (on CDROM) at home for fun b/c my parents wouldn’t count it against my one hour per weekend/summer day of computer time. And then I took typing as a semester long class freshman year of HS (1/2 on typewriters, 1/2 on computers) and I am SO GLAD I did. Helped a lot in law school b/c issue spotters are often about how fast you can type, and I can type extremely fast.
Mavis Beacon for me too! My parents also had the CDROM version at home.
I think this is pretty odd for graduating in 98. I graduated in 2000 and all schools in our district had computer labs. In elementary we played learning games and vintage Oregon Trail on them. In middle school, we were required to take keyboarding. By high school, certain assignments definitely had to be typed. We had computer labs where you could work on those projects as needed. This was a small town (12,000) people in the Midwest.
Class of ’94 here. I learned to type on an IBM Selectric in high school.
It’s entirely possible that you went to a fancier school then I did, even in a small town.
But what you’re describing isn’t far from what I said – we did have keyboarding in middle school (on typewriters), though I don’t think it was necessarily required, and we did have a computer lab in high school (but it would have been pretty easy to graduate without ever using it). The big thing is that a lot of people (most? probably half-ish) didn’t have computers at home or in a regular class, so there was no requirement to use them or learn how.
I mean, I could type as well as anyone by mid-college, so it’s not a big deal. I was just curious about the way things are being taught now. I certainly agree that it’s a necessary skill in the modern world.
I would ask your kid’s teacher and/or parents of older kids. Our district definitely does not teach it. It is one of the many things they expect to be taught at home or picked up by osmosis.
I took keyboarding in high school in 1998 on an electronic typewriter. My high school didnt buy computers for student use until after I graduated.
Even the main office at my school didnt routinely use computers while I was there. We had 1700 students in the high school and did all scheduling using index cards through a process called “Arena” where you had to stand in lines in the gym to pick up cards for the classes you wanted. They introduced computer scheduling the year after I graduated, in 2000. We also still had card catalogs in the library.
I remember learning to touch type in my first year of high school (I’m 42) growing up in Canada. Can’t remember if it was mandatory or not. There was no such expectation when we moved to California when I was 16- actually by then kids were already taking programming classes and expected to already know basic work processing.
It irks me that my kids’ school has them spend so much time on the computer yet does not teach them to touch type. It is like slow torture watching my eight year old hunt and peck. Like inside i’m raging- “The ‘a’ is in the same spot it was five minutes ago!!!!! Why can’t you find it?!?!?!”
I’m 36 and it was part of our curriculum starting in elementary school. I was a good typer by the time I was 10. I think they will pick it up naturally and might have some typing in their computer class special, if they have one. I don’t think you need to teach them yourself.
I learned to type on my mom’s typewriter, and got really good at it when my school’s gifted program had a typing game on floppy disk that my friend and I would race each other on in about 3rd-4th grade. I don’t remember ever learning it as part of the standard curriculum, but it probably was in 3rd grade — maybe they just did it on the days we were pulled out for gifted, and that’s why we did it there? Class of 2001
DH and I found some fun, free, typing games and our kids have played around with them a bit, but until they’re better at reading and spelling, we’re not pushing it too much. I want them to learn to print and write in cursive first!
The pandemic’s effect on working women is real. I went to a meeting last night and 3 of my friends told me they were quitting their jobs. I basically only have 1 working mom friend left (and of course acquaintances, colleagues, etc.). These women are very happy with their decisions, and I am happy for them too. Their husbands make more than enough money. And I understand why you would drop out when you are facing these school choices. Maybe if I had a choice, I would make the same decision. But I feel sad in the sense that this is happening all over the country. Women who are able to drop out of the workforce are dropping out of the workforce. And while I think they would argue that they are getting off the hamster wheel (and they are!), it means a greater vacuum of women in leadership and the pipeline. I’m sick of being the only one in the room.
It’s awful. Women are being impacted in so many ways big and small. Our daycare used to be really 50-50 in terms of moms and dads doing drop off and pickup but when they restricted it to one parent only, it appears virtually all families (including ours) chose the mom. Maybe the dads are picking up the slack in other ways but somehow I doubt it. Obviously this is a trivial thing compared to having to quit completely, but I just feel like everywhere I turn I see examples of this disproportionately impacting women.
YES I noticed this as well!
Do you mean that only one parent is allowed to be there at a time, or that the same parent must do both drop-off and pickup?
Our school’s policy is that each family has to designate one parent, and that parent has to do 100% of the dropoffs and pickups (barring an emergency). Most families (including us) chose the mom. The idea I guess is to limit the number of people who’ve been in the building to a smaller group. Personally, I think it’s kind of a silly policy because if the dad is infected, the mom is likely infected too and vice versa, but whatever.
Ours has the same rule and I think it is kind of silly as well.
But that being said, based on a conversation on the regular site yesterday, the official health stance is people with 3rd degree separation do not need to quarantine which could have implications if you keep the drop off/pick up to just one parent.
Interesting, all the centers around here have just banned parents from the building, so they don’t care which adult is the one dropping off the kid in the parking lot. This seems much more reasonable, to me!
Yeah, I’m glad I get to go to the classroom door. It might not matter so much now that my daughter knows and loves her teachers, but I think the first day would have been really traumatic for both of us if I had to hand her off in a parking lot.
I would feel the same way as you do. It’s tough to be the only, and I hate what this will do to women being represented at work. To be clear, I don’t blame women a bit for stepping back during this impossible situation.
My kids are both in elementary school and I feel like a lone wolf, in terms of being a mom who works full-time. Working from home has given me a greater sense of camaraderie with other moms — in before times, I barely saw them. :(
Boston Legal Eagle says
It makes me so angry that we still in a society that is set up for one working parent and one at home parent. And then when women leave in large numbers, it’s framed as our “choice” when it’s not really a choice at all – what exactly are you supposed to do if you have no childcare available or your work isn’t being flexible? It goes back to that question of how do you change the game while still rising up in the game? When you are the only one in the room of people who don’t know or care about the value of caregiving? And I’m supposed to keep fighting and fighting this, while doing my job and also taking care of kids and others are just working, and it gets exhausting. But I can’t give up – I have to keep hoping that the future will be better for the little girls and boys of today, even if hasn’t been fair for me.
Exactly. I loved Warren’s speech about this at the convention.
Yes – Elizabeth Warren’s speech at the DNC about how child care is part of our essential infrastructure really resonated with me. We are drowning even with our privilege and only one kid. Like the OP, I have several friends who have decided to quit their jobs at least for the next year. I realize they are making the best individual choice under the circumstances but in the aggregate, it is terrible.
More Sleep Would Be Nice says
Your last sentence — “But I can’t give up – I have to keep hoping that the future will be better for the little girls and boys of today, even if hasn’t been fair for me” — really resonates with me. Understanding that progress, even if you don’t benefit from it, is very important is something missing from a lot of Americans.
It is what I see as a big difference between us (Gen Xer and younger) vs. many, many, Baby Boomer, American-Born White women (Not Warren, ofc) who have the attitude that working women need to “stop whining” and that they balanced “the same with a lot less”.
I have noticed a similar pattern. When I was coming up (I’m 40 with 15 years of experience), the senior women lawyers basically told me that they didn’t support flexibility or other tools. If they suffered through it, so should I. They were wonderfully supportive in other ways, like giving me good work and making sure I got credit for things. But they just couldn’t give up this idea that women didn’t need or deserve extra support because they had not gotten it. I suspect that some of the sacrifices they made stung deep (like not seeing their kids enough during their childhoods) and they did not want to face the possibility that maybe they could have had that AND a meaningful career – somehow the idea that you had to choose one or the other made them feel better. I’m taking a new path as a leader.
so much this. high five emoji!
More Sleep Would Be Nice says
You hit the nail on the head! I remember female professors in law school saying the hardest partners to work for when they were coming up were other women, for all the reasons you cited. And I’m a non-practicing attorney in a leadership role and 100% agree, we are the ones who are responsible for taking a new path.
My MIL, who is a huge help to us, was a single mom of 3 in the 80s and 90s, worked a mid-level clinical job, balanced a LOT, and sometimes notes that “well, I couldn’t work from home” or “well I didn’t have family help” and while she doesn’t mean it personally it drives me crazy.
Everything you just said! I’m about 7 years behind you in the pipeline and am proud to say I’ve noticed a difference with some (not all) of the younger female partners at my firm. When you climb the ladder, reach behind you!
Same. No one was less sympathetic about maternity leave issues than older women who ‘had it worse’. I made myself a promise to never forget how that felt and to never do that to younger women. I will probably be too old to have more kids before this country ever passes any kind meaningful family leave and child care policies but I will support them with all I can.
Yes and I have to say I have found myself really really really fighting the urge to think “I’ve figured it out, you need to as well” about some of my staff. but I know that is not the way to be. Just because I’ve adapted to a broken system doesn’t mean I need to keep it broken for people coming up behind me.
Coach Laura says
I’m 60 and thus a boomer, but even before I had my first in 1990, I was a manager who advocated in my male-dominated field/company for my direct reports to be able to work from home (male or female) and take longer maternity leave. I got 12 weeks with #1 and only took 8 with #2 because of a concurrent re-org. After I had kids, I continued to support subordinates who wanted to have flexible schedules and remote work.
At that company, it didn’t work but I went to Bank of America, and was able to work at home for 2-3 days a week for 4 years. My boss was across the country from me as was his boss and we could all work at home. I know a lot of working women my age who don’t apply the “I had it hard, you get to too” but are supportive. Then again, there are some who don’t advocate for their subordinates but they are bad bosses altogether and I wouldn’t work for them.
But I do agree that a change is needed and had hoped it would have taken hold by now. The first company that I mentioned above had almost exclusively SAHW/SAHM wives except one man with an RN wife. They were, almost exclusively, male chauvinists and literally made jokes in public about pumping moms. I hoped that the later boomers and early Xers would be better in finance but that’s not happening. Sad.
I am in-house and I am SO SO SO grateful for the other two female attorneys in my office, both of whom are just over a decade older than me. They both had their children at horribly competitive law firms and have horror stories of fielding phone calls while they were in the hospital giving birth, attending hearings one week pp, and dropping their sick infants off at “sick daycares” because they had to go to work and they are both so supportive of me. As soon as I had my son one of them, who is my supervisor, made sure I got set up for remote work and that I knew I could work remotely if my son was sick, I was sick, or even if daycare was just closed. The other one was enraged to find out I hadn’t received any paid maternity leave (she found out a year after the fact) and told me she would have gone to bat for me if she had known at the time.
Aw that’s lovely!
Boston Legal Eagle says
That’s excellent to hear and I hope to do the same as I progress in my career! I hope hope hope that I can look back and watch my future colleagues’ shock when I tell them I got 12-14 weeks of leave (while they get 6 months+ in the future).
Back in the day, my mom dropped out of the workforce when she had kids and her (female) boss would not accommodate the work schedule she needed. This happens to so many women. Once the family adjusts and the pressures of motherhood stay high and your skills are out of date and you no longer feel connected to your career, it can feel impossible to go back. I think many women will not re-enter the workforce after COVID, and if they do, they may do so many years down the line in a different role. It’s a loss for all of us.
I just learned about Project Matriarchs (https://www.projectmatriarchs.com/)-started by college students with the intention of pairing families with college students who can help with care, the overarching goal to keep women in the workforce. Obviously this is a tiny bandaid on a gaping wound, but it made me happy to see. Because yeah, this situation is horrible. I’m on that list of women considering dropping out, and given I don’t have a position with much of a voice and no hope of getting one in my org, I can’t even convince myself to stay and try to make things better right now. It’s just all terrible.
It’s not just about having female role models and compatriots. When men have wives who quit to stay home, they have trouble relating to their colleagues who are working moms, and I think that’s especially true in these pandemic times when having a SAHP means the working parent doesn’t have to do the parenting-teaching-childcare juggle. My main internal client is a guy I’ve never been especially close to, but his wife worked so we always had the common ground of both being in two working parent families and having kids in daycare. When daycare closed in March, his wife immediately quit to stay home, and since then his demands of me have been (in my view) entirely unreasonable. He doesn’t get what it’s like to have to juggle childcare and a fulltime job because now that his wife is SAH he doesn’t have to. So that’s an additional layer of women leaving the workforce that I find really frustrating.
Amen to this. My female boss has never understood what it’s really like to be a working mom, because her husband has always been a SAHD.
Totally this. This really ties in with the comment above about society being set up with one SAHP as the norm.
Anon at 4:04 says
Also–at my husband’s company the norm is two working parents. The culture there is so different. No one ever asks him, “Why doesn’t your wife just do that?” People ask me “Why doesn’t your husband just do that?” all the time. My favorite was the time someone asked “Doesn’t this child have a father?” Yes, she has a father, but we both have jobs and he can’t always drop everything for kid stuff so I can be available for work 24/7.
How does everyone feel about school reopening and daycare? We are in NYC. My older kid is supposed to start kindergarten and her school is planning for a blended learning model with an all remote option. The most she would in school is 3 days a week. I also have a 2 year old. His daycare is reopening and we already paid for September (had to do it to keep our spot).
Both Mr. AIMS and I work full time. He has had more flexibility so far and a bit more than me at the moment but he’s also a litigator and courts in NY are starting to open up more and more with virtually zero notice so he is starting to have to go in and barring things getting significantly worse will probably be super busy this Fall. My job wants me back in the office ASAP and while I have repeatedly explained my schools issue I haven’t gotten any concrete response. I expect I’ll have to be back in the office at least 50 percent of the week. Or I may be able to work out some kind of half day scheme where I come in 5 days but leave at lunch.
I’ve basically been ignoring this all summer but Im now starting to panic. On the one hand I think my kids are better off in school because two working parents and both kids at home means they are just watching TV for way too much of the day. On the other hand, I am terrified about sending them to school, particularly the little one who doesn’t actually need school and was enrolled because we needed day care. How are you all navigating this? I know it’s not rational but right now I feel like I am putting my kids on board the Titanic. I’d esp. love to hear from anyone whose kids are going to school about how it’s going. I am not sure what my question really is, so apologize for the ramble.
My kids have been in school for over a week now, and it is going surprisingly well. I had all the feelings about it, but the school is taking tons of precautions and I think it’s better than the scattered attention they were getting at home while we attempted to work.
2 year olds definitely benefit from daycare. My 2.5 year old went back a few weeks ago and I’ve been astonished at both the (positive) change in her personality and the learning leaps she’s had in that very short timeframe. Her language is markedly improved in just two weeks. Being around other kids and having adults actually focused on them is much better for their development. I’m not someone who thinks preschoolers need to learn anything academic but I certainly feel that doing art and singing songs and playing with MagnaTiles is better than watching a screen or clinging to my leg sobbing while I try to have a work call.
You’re not putting your kids on the Titanic. If they get it they will be fine. The bigger risk is to you and your husband but I’m taking comfort in the fact that young kids don’t spread it as easily. I’m not sure I’d send a high schooler back, simply because of the risks to me and DH.
Anon for this says
Oh man, I’m supervising virtual kindergarten (started this week) and our teacher is wonderful and doing the best she can but it is NOT THE SAME. I’d do whatever you can for in-person at this age if you possibly can.
Also supervising virtual at home doesn’t allow for much work.
And I have no concerns about in person for my Young kid. Follow Emily Oster – she really decides the scare mongering headlines. I would give a lot to be able to send her in person, even just a little!
I would be more worried about the adults’ going in to the office and court than about the kids’ going to school.
Our older daughter goes to a private school in NYC that is opening full time. We are sending her. We feel comfortable with the school’s safety plan, the numbers in NYC are so low right now, and the benefits of in person learning for lower elementary school outweigh the risks for us given all the current circumstances (your calculus may be different, and that is completely fair). That being said, I think there is a pretty decent chance the school will end up switching to all remote at some point….
My office is WFH for the foreseeable future, my husband may or may not need to start going in a day or two a week in the fall. We have a nanny for our younger daughter who will continue to come, but I am not sure what I would do re daycare if that were not the case.
I am sorry your office is being so inflexible. What do they expect parents to do with so many kids in NYC doing blended or remote school?!
Not OP but also in NYC. I’m a government employee, and am being required to come in “as needed”. I have little to no control over when the “needed” dates are. They tell me that I’m essential, so I have to figure it out or take family leave. Which is rich because it’s another part of the NYC government that’s causing this damn problem. I don’t have the money to quit, and I don’t see how family leave could possibly cover the entire goddamn school year.
I feel your frustration!
I’m curious how this works with leave. We technically have the option but I’m basically non-fungible at my job. So what happens if I have to be back full time and want to take it? Can it be denied? Can I be fired ? I feel like this is sketching I should know but nothing I’ve ever had to consider.
Boston Legal Eagle says
My kids (4 and almost 2) started back at daycare in early July and other than being sent home for 72 hours for a cold (due to younger one’s mild fever), it’s been going great. The daycare is taking all of the safety precautions and we’re in an area with a much lower rate now (as are you). The kids get to play with their friends, do arts and crafts and my older one is even learning sight words and how to write! We kept them home when we had to, but it was miserable for me especially, and I need them out of the house to both do my job and be a better parent. Our schools are also doing a hybrid (one week in, one week out) and I would happily send him to K if he was starting this year. Our employers are being pretty flexible with WFH through the end of the year (maybe longer) and I would have no problems asking to WFH a few days a week as needed for school.
We are both low risk for the virus, and my parents (who we still see) are youngish and lowish risk, given their ages and health. If we were at higher risk, my analysis might be different.
My son has been back for two weeks, but just two days a week because of bubbling restrictions. My husband is also in the office the same days. I’m at home at least until November or December. I’m nervous about it but honestly career wise I couldn’t manage it. It would be easier if he was in full-time, the other 3 days are such an exhausting juggle.
I think day care and school in NYC is as safe as it’s ever going to be
This. I don’t think this virus is going anywhere. All we can hope for is low numbers, and it’s hard to beat NYC’s numbers right now.
Yes. I’m not in NYC, but MoCo is below 3% positivity rate. I feel like it’s good enough that I’m not willing to put my life and my kids’ lives on hold for this anymore. Daycare and in-person elementary school is essential, imho. I’m all about minimizing unnecessary social contact, preferring outdoor stuff, shrinking class sizes, cohorting, avoiding large gatherings, wearing a mask, washing hands, etc, but I don’t want to be a shut-in anymore.
My kids are going back to daycare and in-person (private) school in a couple weeks and I can’t wait. I’m comfortable with the safety measures they’ve implemented, and frankly, we all need this. I’ll continue working from home for the foreseeable future, but at least I’ll have far fewer distractions! I probably would feel differently if anyone in my household were high risk, but we’re not, and *nothing* is zero risk even without a pandemic, so I’m ready to just start living with this new normal.
I’m also in NYC and have an entering kindergartener. And I also have a litigation heavy job and am going in as needed for in person appearances, which are 1-2 days a week right now but will be ramping up in the fall until the inevitable shutdown. I’ve transferred my kid to my local catholic school (~$9k for the year), which has tons of space to socially distance the kids and the resources to upgrade HVAC, get air purifiers, etc. They are requiring kids to wear masks all day.
I don’t feel amazing about it but I also feel like I have no choice. I feel awful and guilty about using money to solve this problem when most families don’t have these options. I’m a single parent, and even though my kid spends some of the time at her dad’s home so I did have some breaks, I had an actual breakdown and stress-hives in June from trying to manage my bored, extraverted kid as well as my demanding job from my home in the middle of a pandemic. Getting her into an outdoor camp (until 3:30 every day) was the only thing that helped both of us. I do not have a spouse to support me, and I have no family in the US.
There are no good options.
Hang in there! It sounds like you’re making all the right choices for your family.
Our girls are back in daycare. It makes me very nervous but they love it. I didn’t think my 18 month needed school but she’s just so tickled every day to have friends and structure and toys that aren’t ours.
We went back to daycare at the beginning of August. It’s been SO wonderful. The school has many precautions, including masks for kids over 2. The kid do so well wearing their masks and are clearly all overjoyed to be back. I was kind of skeptical of how teaching socialization would work with distancing (they only require 3′ instead of 6′ due to their smaller bodies but it’s still a big change), but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many things they can still work on, like taking turns, not speaking out of turn, having a back and forth conversation etc.
Honestly, and I know some of my friends have judged me for this, but it wasn’t a decision we struggled with at all. I despised being a preschool teacher and I felt like I was going to lose my sanity, my job or my marriage (and possibly all of the above) if we didn’t get childcare in place, and a nanny was cost-prohibitive for us. But even given how confident we were about going back, daycare has gone better than I ever could have imagined. I’m just crossing my fingers it sticks and they don’t go virtual again because virtual learning for preschool is even more of a joke than virtual learning for K.
Our public schools opened yesterday for in-person instruction and I asked a few friends with older kids about it, and they said the same thing: that they’re impressed by the precautions, and that even with the masks and distancing and all the other weirdness, the kids are overjoyed to be back. I would send an elementary kid to school if I had one.
My area isn’t what I’d call a hotspot but has many more cases per capita and a higher positivity rate than NYC, fwiw.
We’re sending my 14-month old back to daycare next week! I’ll report back on how it goes. I’m very excited but also nervous about anyone getting sick. I just started a new job and really need the baby out of the house in order to get anything done.
We sent ours back to daycare a few weeks ago, but I posted yesterday he still managed to get a cold. That was definitely a reality check for me that “germs find a way” as one of the other posters said. The daycare is doing amazing with masks, handwashing, sanitizer, distancing, etc and still, he got a cold.
Like others though, I still believe the overall COVID risk to be low, and the negative impacts to my health, career, marriage, etc to be more detrimental than keeping him home full time. Even if we had a nanny I was going crazy having him IN the house all the time.
What I am struggling with right now is preschool. The public integrated preschool is cancelled this year unless your child has an IEP in place. The other two moms at daycare both enrolled their kiddos in a local private preschool part time (they will be in the same class). I could do that class as well, which is less convenient for drop off and pickup, BUT would limit our germ circle significantly (there are only a half dozen other kids enrolled). Otherwise there are several other more convenient private options, but that’s more exposure. I feel like at this point keeping him out of school entirely is moot if the other two are going from a germ perspective, though I am not especially worried about his “learning” (he’s 3).
I guess I just rambled in response but this is all to say nothing is easy and whatever choice you make will be hard and have trade offs.
I understand your anxiety, but something to keep in mind is that young kids are excellent spreaders of colds, flu, norovirus and most other viruses, but appear to not be good spreaders of COVID. So the fact that a cold went around a daycare classrom doesn’t mean COVID would go around the same way. Of course nothing is guaranteed, but I wouldn’t read too much into the fact that he was able to pick up a cold.
Thank you :) This whole thing is just such a mindf*ck. I do not envy parents of school-aged children at all.
I feel ya. There are no good options…except moving to New Zealand ;)
This is not the latest data available. We’re still learning a lot, but it appears that we didn’t see much spread due to children in the early days of the pandemic because schools/daycares were closed, not because they actually don’t spread COVID. I don’t want to cause undue panic, and of course people still may decide it’s worth the risk, but just want to share the best information we have as of today. Link below.
A lot of the data to support this argument comes from other countries, so the fact that schools were closed in the US doesn’t render this data meaningless. For example, Iceland never shut K-5 schools and they found only two instances of a child infecting someone. And there are more sophisticated ways of tracking transmission than just “how many kids are infected.” Even if a relatively small number of children are getting infected because schools were closed, you can look at those children who do get sick, and see what happens to their family members. South Korea traced the household contacts of a bunch of infected kids and in the 0-9 age group, only 5% of the household contacts tested positive – that’s pretty reassuring to me that I have only a 1 in 20 chance of getting it even if my kid tests positive.
It’s been known for a long time that kids don’t have lower viral loads, that’s not new info. High viral loads doesn’t automatically mean high rates of transmission. I think the tracing data is much more compelling than the data about viral loads, because the tracing data is telling us what is ACTUALLY happening, not what theoretically could happen.
From a common sense perspective it makes no sense that kids don’t spread COVID. So much of our early “knowledge” is being overturned by new data. The schools that have opened throughout the country so far are the guinea pigs and we shall see!
Obviously you make the best choice of the options available, though. We prob would have sent my son to K (also near NYC) but now I’m pregnant and we are back to being super cautious/whole family at home.
It actually makes some common sense that kids spread it less. Kids are far more likely than adults to be asymptomatic, and in general asymptomatic people don’t spread viruses as well because they aren’t coughing and sneezing all over the place. Kids who have cold/flu/stomach flu usually are NOT asymptomatic and are getting their bodily fluids everywhere, so COVID being different is actually pretty logical to me.
But Covid is most contagious before symptoms appear (through normal breathing/laughing/touching your mouth or nose), and even asymptomatic people can be spreaders.
It is not unusual for respiratory viruses to be mild or asymptomatic. Even with the flu, I’ve seen estimates that 50% or more of cases are asymptomatic. But those people can still spread it.
You’re conflating pre-symptomatic (people who will be symptomatic soon) with asympomatic (people who never develop symptoms). The former is generally much more contagious. It appears that among adults at least, truly asymptomatic transmission is possible but rare, and logically that makes sense to me – we all expel droplets by talking, but sick people who are coughing and sneezing expel orders of magnitude more. People can certainly be asymptomatic with flu and colds but I think most parents’ experience (certainly my experience) is that whenever my kid gets a cold or a stomach flu or whatever, there was an obviously symptomatic child in the class. I’ve never had a cold or a stomach flu just appear out of nowhere and say, “Hmm well I guess Susie must have come to school with an asymptomatic case of the flu.”
I’m not denying that there have been instances of children transmitting COVID or that there will be more as more schools reopen. I’m just saying I don’t think it goes against common sense to say that a snotty, coughing kid is more likely to spread whatever bug they have than a kid who outwardly appears healthy and never develops symptoms. Because kids are so much more likely to be asymptomatic with COVID than with other viruses, it is not surprising to me that they would spread it less than they do other illnesses.
I have a 5 year old who started kindergarten in person on Monday. He has some special needs–sensory issues, low social/emotional IQ, impulsivity, aggressive behavior. DH is a SAHD, so we really don’t have concerns about childcare. However, we decided that Kiddo needs in person instruction, practice interacting with peers, and the assistance of someone trained to work with these issues. So he’s attending an in-person special education program at a private school. In four days, this kid has blossomed. He comes home happy and excited. At dinner he’s telling us what he did at school (last year, he refused to even talk about stuff like what he had for lunch and whether they had PE at preschool). He is getting check marks for listening, being nice, making good choices, being careful, and working hard. His teachers seem to like him and not just in that “we like all our kids” way, and kids know, and he’s so much more confident.
Aww I’m so happy for him and you!
This is lovely!
Honestly, we got a nanny for 2 year old (half time, because it’s twice the price of daycare). My poor kiddo was home from school constantly last year for minor illnesses (he seems to be more prone than my elementary schooler ever was) and the distribution of random periodic 72 hours at home For every minor illness coupled with possibility of longer stretches for exposures coupled with actual danger of exposures given we want to keep seeing some higher risk family members seemed more unworkable to us than reliable care mornings only. So now we have a morning nanny and kiddo naps literally all afternoon. School starts September 1 for elementary schooler and we are still working out how to handle that…
Thanks all! You are making me feel better about this. I think the gray areas are always the hardest. I really hope this works out for all of us! What a year.
We’re keeping our 3 and 1 year old home. I’m working VERY part-time though and my role kind of allows for us to work odd hours. I don’t think your 2 year old needs daycare at all if you or another loving caregiver are willing to engage with him rather than screens all day. Certainly agree with others though that if you don’t have any other care and both work full-time, he/she will be better off in daycare.
Guys, talk to me about third babies. We are pretty decided that we would like a third child, but are worried about the costs over time. For those who have three children, were there a lot of surprise costs or was it mostly limited to the obvious (childcare, college savings, extra mouth to feed, etc)? I suppose I worry that it will be so much harder that I’d have to both scale back at work AND hire extra help. But this may be clouded by the fact that we have a 2 and 4 year old in the middle of a pandemic and are judging it by how overwhelmed we often feel in 2020. Thanks for any thoughts you might have to share — and I’d also love to hear about whether it’s harder to go from 1 to 2 or 2 to 3!
Having 3 isn’t that much different than having 2, TBH… I think going from 1 to 2 was much harder because you had to learn how to split your time and energy. Aside from extra tuitions (one extra college, one extra daycare), I’ll say that the big place we’ve noticed the costs of having 3 versus 2 is in travel. (Lol, remember travel, guys? That was fun.)
Hotel room for 4 people? No problem, two queen sized beds. Once your kids are a bit older though, with 3 kids you need to often spring for a second hotel room or a larger room than you otherwise would have gotten. In terms of rental cars, we’re having to get a larger vehicle than just the baseline rental car to fit 3 carseats. I notice that familes with 3 kids are much more willing to drive than to fly, largely because of the costs of plane fare for everyone + having to rent a bigger car start to tip the scales towards ‘let’s just drive’.
I’ll also say, you do tend to need more paid sitters rather than asking a family member to just watch the kids. 1 kid? No problem for Grandma to watch them. 3 kids? That’s… a big ask.
With all that, I love my 3 kid life (and honestly? wouldn’t be shocked if we ended up with 4.)
Thank you for this! Glad you’re enjoying your babies!
100% agree with all of this. My husband vetoed 4, but I would have been fine with it. If you’re in a car-centric location, you “need” a minivan with 3 kids, too. I gave up on the sedan when I was pregnant with #3, and will never look back.
My kids are all pretty close in age and I feel like that kept the cost down a bit. You often get a sibling discount for things like childcare and activities, and you get a ton of use out of everything from clothes to toys to baby gear because it passes from one kid to the next without ever being un-useful long enough that you purge and need to re-buy.
I am one of 3, and the other thing to think about (to me are inconsequential if you are thinking about a third but definitely “weird” things I noticed in my childhood) are at restaurants you always wait longer because you need a 6-top instead of a 4-top, and tickets to things or family vacation packages, etc. often come in the family-four-pack. As a result, we often got to bring a friend with to things because family passes were often bundled in groups of 2 or 4, which meant as a family of 5 we had an extra ticket.
I’m one and done but my two best friends each have three. One of them says each transition was easier than the one before it, the other friend felt like 1->2 was harder than 0->1 but they both agreed that 2->3 was easier than adding either the first kid or the second kid.
Lag Liv has a great post on the third baby decision.
Personally, I thought going from 2 < 3 was harder than 1 < 2 but easier than 0 <1. That might be partly temperament (my oldest is super chill) and age difference (my kids are 2.5 and 2 years apart, so my next youngest was a little younger when the baby was born), but it was mostly because it was much much harder to for us to handle 3 kids at once, which meant solo time became a lot harder. That said, I thought it was all mostly manageable until they started extracurricular activities (see below).
Cost wise, I definitely agree on the sitter (no one wants to watch all three kids, especially until the youngest was about 4) and travel. Also, two kids are always getting slotted together, which either limits or expands horizons depending on what you force the second kid to do. This past fall we had two kids in soccer and one in dance, and Saturdays were barely manageable with both of us and actually impossible when my husband had to travel, so there was a lot of carpooling/Grandma helping out etc. (I’m ok with carpooling for practices but I really prefer that one parent *goes* to the games. Also, carpooling is one thing, but if no one is home when the kid gets dropped off, it doesn’t really matter that he has a ride.) None of the schedules match (like, they could all do soccer, but practices are in different places at different times, or worse, at the same time.). The nanny is more expensive because she’s watching 3 kids (and coordinating 3 different schedules). Plus, volunteering in the class (if you do that) – 3 kids means 3 times as much time (or less time in each).
At the end of a day, it’s an exercise in time/schedule management, so totally doable (especially if you can spend money on simplifying your life in other respects), but I was not expecting the huge time suck to continue.
Anon for this says
We are one month back at daycare and baby (8 months) has picked up his first cold and almost-ear infection (fluid but no actual infection…yet). Ped said he qualifies for a covid test, so we are waiting for our callback. No fever, inconsistent cough…
Please send positive vibes… in normal times our older kiddo got 6ish ear infections/colds her first two years in daycare. This just sucks.
I just went thru this. It was terrible waiting – very anxious. I was convinced it was Covid just because we have been so careful that how could it be something less contagious? But it turned out to be the common cold and everyone is mostly back to normal a week later. Good luck!!
Do i need a baby monitor? says
We’re expecting our first baby in a few months, and I’m on the fence about a baby monitor.
– we’re in an old rental house that is pretty but was redone with NO interior insulation. I haven’t tested it yet obviously, but would bet all of my dollars that we could hear a crying baby from any room in the house. Her nursery is next to our bedroom, and our bedroom (where she’ll sleep at first) is directly above the living room.
– I’m a little concerned that if we get a video monitor, we’ll just stare at it instead of sleeping/chilling out/eating/etc. when the baby is sleeping.
Did anyone else opt out of a monitor? Am I nuts for considering it?
I don’t think you’re nuts for considering it. My daughter’s room is right next to my room so I can hear her, and when she cries (like really cries, not just fusses) it definitely wakes me from sleep, so I don’t feel like I *need* one. That said, it’s been useful. Especially as babies get older, it can be very useful to see what they’re doing without going in the room. For example, if my daughter was standing up in the crib and crying there was almost no chance she was going to settle herself back down, but if she was lying down and crying she would often self-soothe, so it was useful to know if she was standing or not. I say don’t buy one right away and then buy it later if you decide you want one? I don’t think you’ll stare at it too much. I mean you might glance and it from time to time and go “awww” but even for brand new parents, it’s not *that* interesting that you would just stare at it for an hour straight. ;)
This is a great point. Are they crying because kids, or because their arm is stuck. That said, totally think it’s reasonable to hold off and see how it goes. Side note, some of the newer ones are in fact great resolution and some of the funniest videos we have are from when we turned on the camera and recorded baby goofing around in the crib, especially as they got older.
Yes +1 to this. Even now mine is 2.5–I don’t need the monitor to hear him cry, it can be useful to help determine whether my intervention is necessary.
We had an audio monitor and never used it much. Baby slept in our bedroom for the first six months and didn’t nap during the day unless she was being held, worn, or pushed in the stroller. Our house was small enough that when she got older and slept in her own room, we always heard her crying.
Same. Audio only. Happy with that choice. We got a really simple one that was easy to travel with.
Anon Laywer says
You’re not nuts and it doesn’t sound at all unsafe not to have one. I have great interior insulation and I can still basically here her from everywhere. You’re just so attuned to that sound. However, I like having a video baby monitor now that my baby is a little older because if she’s crying, I can usually get a better sense of whether she’s moving towards sleep or, like, has gotten her legs stuck in the crib slats again and so I need to go up and rescue her.
Also you will 100% stare at your baby while she sleeps but probably mostly in person not on the monitor. :-). The night vision on the monitor isn’t so good that it’s fun to watch if there’s no movement going on. And If anything the monitor reduces the temptation to go in and poke her (and poking a baby hard enough so they move but not hard enough so they wake up is dicey business). At nine months I still sneak in to see her in person before I go to bed most nights.
We are a very pro-ferber family and I think the video monitor was important for CIO to make sure she was okay, just crying. Also, we’ve trained her to wait in the crib not crying in the AM (to varying degrees of success) and so we check to see that she’s awake instead of waiting to make her cry to let us know she’s awake. That said, we didn’t get one that worked on our phone on purpose so we would never check remotely.
Yeah, our kid needed to fuss himself down some and the monitor was helpful in training us not to pop in/run upstairs at every peep. I feel like we could turn the video on or off. Or we’d have the video on and the volume down (indicator lights still worked) if he was just fussing loudly.
Definitely was nice to have, especially if we wanted to be outside during a nap or something
I remember thinking that I had to have every possible thing the baby might ever need, plus a year’s supply of groceries, on hand before I went into labor because I would never be able to go anywhere or buy anything ever again. That turned out not to be true. Maybe you can’t go anywhere because pandemic, but you can still order on line.
You are not at all nuts to try going without a monitor, knowing that you can always order one later if not having one turns out to make you worry too much.
I’d just get a super basic audio monitor. That’s what we’ve always used even in a small house.
What about a basic audio monitor? That’s what we have, and it’s handy because we can go sit on the porch or weed in the yard or whatever because the range is long enough. It’s also nice to have for trips where the house or hotel configuration may be different. But, it’s also not something you need the first day and can easily borrow if a need arises so you can wait and decide later, too.
We never used baby monitors. We did have a night nurse for 3 months though, so she was in the baby’s room at night during those months obviously.