Hi all, I am hoping to hear your thoughts on a problem I am having with our home daycare. I know you can't solve the issue but it would be really good for me to collect some opinions of what others would do in our situation.
DD1 is almost 3 years old (her birthday is in early February). She has been going to the same home daycare since she was 6 months old, and DD2 (5 months) now goes there too. It's a small daycare and licensed for up to 6 children. Both kids go two days a week, and the other three days they are home with me. Until November, there were either 5 or 6 kids every day at the home daycare. Three of the kids were "big kids" - my DD1 and a boy a few months younger than her, and a girl who was a few months older than her. (The other two or three kids are babies/toddlers including my DD2). We have a good relationship with the daycare provider and are very happy with the care she provides. Until recently, DD1 has been very happy there and even had requested to go additional days.
The problem is that one of the other big kids (the girl) left in November and now there is only one other kid (the boy, a few months younger). For the past few months, my DD1 has been having crying outbursts in the mornings before we drop her off saying she doesn't want to go to daycare. She has also been outwardly expressing that she doesn't want to go to daycare randomly hroughout the week, even on days she doesn't go, so it's obviously on her mind. When we ask her, she says it is "not fun", that she doesn't like the toys and it feels like a long day. I honestly think that she's bored and no longer stimulated there, both because the other older girl left and because she's been there for 2.5 years and it's just time for a new, more challenging environment. On one of the days I am home with her she attends a two hour drop off class that is run like a preschool and geared towards kids who aren't old enough to attend preschool in the fall, and she absolutely loves that, and is not nervous at all about the drop off aspect of it, so I don't think her anxiety about daycare is separation related.
We have signed her up for a preschool beginning in the fall, and I could possibly start her at the preschool in June at their "summer camp". But what to do from now until June? Should I just continue to send her to the home daycare, knowing she's safe, well cared for, with her sister but bored, and make a real effort to stimulate her the other three days by signing up for age appropriate classes etc. and doing art projects etc. at home (with obvious financial limitations and the fact that I am also caring for DD2)? Or do I pull her from the home daycare now and send her to a (more expensive but doable) daycare center in town that has availability in the 2-3 year old room where she would be certainly more stimulated? The daycare center would basically be a bridge/transition place for her to go until we can send her to preschool in June/September. Would that be too much change for her? Or is stimulation more important a t this age that it's worth sending her to the center from now until June/September and then switching her to preschool at that point?