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tricksy. I find with my son (6) - he says he doesn't want to do something but then he enjoys it once I'm gone!
But ... is the money spent on aftercare enough to pay somebody to watch them at home while you work? Maybe that's an option. And they probably won't stick with this idea.
I like your "don't have to do anything you don't want to" attitude ... there are too many things in life we DO HAVE to do, so I like a bit of flexibility in other areas! :-D

My heart would probably also win, as they have many, many years of schooling ahead of them, and why put them off now? But what about a compromise of one afternoon a week, and a second afternoon at Mimi's house or a friend?

I'm sure you're going to get loads of great advice; I don't know what I'd do in your position. I just wanted to throw out the option of maybe aftercare only one or two days a week as a compromise. As if you weren't already having a hard time deciding!

Do what works for you - she will adapt and at any time she could make a friend and decide aftercare is the best thing in the world. Kids are so unpredictable that way

Let her come home. On your deathbed are you going to say, "I wish I had forced Kate to stay in aftercare!"? There will be other battles to fight. Tell her that you need to work and if she is to come home she needs to behave so you can get things done and if she can't she can go back to aftercare. Pretty soon your dear ones won't want to be anywhere near you and it will be YOU asking, "can't you come home and spend some time with me Kate?". "Sorry mom, too busy. My friends are waiting!"


Also working from home with young children I get your dilema. My heart would rule over my head right now. School at their age (mine are 3 and 6) is still meant to be fun. If there is something that is distracting from that then something needs to change. I also find I work too late at night because mine finish at 12:30.

As for the food thing, I'm with you they'll eat what they want when they're hungry. The old saying "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink" I find especially true of young children! :-)

This is familiar to me. I hated hated hated aftercare. My Mom was a single Mom though and there was no other option. Until I was 8 and then she let me walk home alone and stay there until she got home a few hours later. We lived in the city, but I survived.

I am of two minds - 1. I hated aftercare and would never have liked it. I loved my time at home and still do. It's part of who I am and I don't regret that. BUT 2. My Mom had the "you don't have to if you don't want to" attitude and I do think sometimes it made me too quick to give up. Then again, I got good at choosing what really mattered to me. When I kind of wanted to quit being a camp counselor when I was 19, she offered to take me away on vacation to Key West and I said no. I had made a commitment and knew everyone hated the first week, so I stuck it out and liked it. So see, even when she tried to rescue me, I didn't let her.

I say let them come home with you. Balancing your own needs too though, of course.

That is a tricky one alright. I would lean more to the heart in my parenting. My youngest son hated to go anywhere without me when he was younger, no parties, playschool etc. He is ten now and has in the last two years got to the stage where he will go mostly anywhere.
Best wishes.

ps Tertia, World Cup related question here. What is the culture behind the buzzing bees sounds(the pipes that everyone blows on at the matches) on the football coverage. Is it a good luck thing or something? Everyone is talking about it over here on Irish and English telly. Personally I couldn't care less but its driving my hubby up the walls!!

I stopped arguing with my daughter about what to wear when she was 3. People laughed at me but it was so not worth it. I say if you can make another plan that works, then go for it. Just make sure that plan includes you getting your work done. What about hiring someone to come to your home 3 days a week?

I like Beret's suggestion: tell Kate she can be home but has to let you work during the aftercare time...if she isn't able to do that, she needs to stay at aftercare. This way, it becomes HER choice which place she wants to be, which usually works better with kids than forcing them to do something they don't want to do.

What AfterGirl said above. Especially if Rose is an option. Hey! Where IS Rose these days?

J from Ireland: It's called a Vuvuzela and I'm sure Tertia will explain more. But here's a score you can play with one


Wait, where is your fabulous nanny Rose in this equation? Is there any reason why they can't come home from school at the regular time and play with Rose? Or is she busy with the baby?

I have a similar dilemma ... I work from home (part time, even). My 3.5 year old goes to preschool 5 days per week. Some days I have her stay all day til 3 pm, other days she comes home at noon. She would much rather come home early BUT I just can't get any work done while she is there. So if I have work, at school she stays. I find my 6 year old similarly not able to leave me alone to do work if she is home with me (on a weekend, say). I don't think it's realistic at their age.

So if I am not working, or I have a lighter day of work, I let the 3.5 year old come home early. But if I have work, then at school she stays. Yes, I CAN make up work in the evenings (and I often do), but I can only do so much of that before my sleep/marriage/brain suffers and that's not good for anyone.

I think maybe a day or two a week at aftercare, maybe alternating with home with Rose, or with granny, etc?

I would make them go. It's not hours upon hours of torture, and the exposure to food and other kids will do Kate good. You need to get your work done (it's not a want, it's a need), then this will balance out in the end.

Delurking to say that I enjoy reading your blog, and that it sounds like you want to listen to your heart, and so you should! I'm the exact same way about: if you really don't want to, you don't have to. As a child, if I knew I couldn't try something with the freedom to change my mind, I wouldn't try it. Freedom to quit allows greater risk-taking, IMO. And it breaks my heart, too, to think of my child sitting sadly, waiting to go home.

I would make them go. You do not give yourself personally a fair enough shake. You NEED that time. You are a whole and independent person outside of your kids. Yes, you could maybe manage with them home, but you are struggling with time as it is. You should not make you life any harder because they are fighting about this.

What they are doing is part of life. They are big kids and it's reasonable that Kate learns to cope with being places that there is food (especially since she doesn't have to eat it). And also, it doesn't hurt for them to see a little bit that you are a person independent of them and they are not your entire existence. That is a lesson kids sometimes don't pick up on (I observe this in my college students). It isn't a harsh lesson and you aren't ignoring them, but you shouldn't feel the need to make your life harder to cater to their (somewhat whimsical) likes and dislikes all the time nor should they expect you to.

That comes off harsher than I intend it to, but I'm basically trying to say that it's TOTALLY OK to make your kids deal with something they don't love, especially if it means you are taking better care of yourself in the meantime!

If, a few years from now, I heard my little girl was sitting sucking her thumb not talking to anyone and being altogether miserable, my heart would break into a million pieces (like I'm sure yours does) and I would take her out immediately. I don't think taking them out means you did not finish something... I think it means that you perhaps need to find a better aftercare (or something similar) which suits what your kids need better. And in the meantime there is nothing wrong with being at home if they like it. And if your budget allows it, there is also nothing wrong with looking for a small office, b.t.w... it is a huge milestone for any business to move from the garage to their own premises, with the sign... and the business cards... and the office plants... and the couch... and the coffee machine, etc. etc.

What Egg Donor (ret) said--although I think you really really want to follow your heart. On the other hand, as you said, I know you are the first to admit you coddle your children a little bit. I don't think that's terrible, but since they know you love them and are very deeply attached to making them happy, maybe they'd benefit from some of the opposite too--learning that sometimes you need to carve out boundaries and time. Especially because at their age children are very prone to making a fuss to get their way. I work at home myself and it's very demanding, virtually impossible to do when my children (~39 months and 13 months) are there. (I also hire a mother's helper some of the time--otherwise I would get NOTHING done--and it is just. not. the same as having the children actually out of the house. I have to stay cooped up and invisible, and give guidance to the helper, etc. etc.)

They get a lot of you, and it is healthy for all parties, really, to say that there needs to be some time that is sacrosanct for you and your work. Otherwise you are going to rob Peter to pay Paul, as the saying goes: rob yourself of sleep and/or sanity, rob Marko and the kids of your undivided attention when you are supposed to be doing family time, rob the business of the focus it needs, etc. etc.

At first glance I like Anne and Beret's suggestion, but my guess is they are just too young to have that sort of impulse control, and so it would make things worse, in a way, sort of taunting them by demanding discipline they just can't produce. (At least, my son, the older child, would never be able to adhere to that rule, no matter how much he wanted to.)

Maybe, as some suggested, you can compromise by doing aftercare a little bit less, and/or investigating other care options--though preferably out of the home.

Don't make them go to aftercare.
Go with your gut - if they don't HAVE to go don't make them just to make a point.

This is so difficult, but I can relate. My children are now grown and we faced that problem when we they were younger. Having been raised with overly strict parents who made us finish every piano lesson and every organized sport that we were signed up for whether we liked it or not, we now have multiple musical instruments, many pieces of sports equipment and many unfinished projects littering our garage.
We thought that we were doing our children a service by allowing them to stop participating in activities that they had begged to join, but actually we only taught them that as soon as thing became difficult or an obstacle was presented that it was okay to quit. What I wish I had done was to actively become involved and help my child through whatever difficulty was presenting itself until it was worked out. Then that sense of accomplishment would have been a much better lesson than that it was okay to quit just because things were not exactly as they had imagined.
I cannot help but wonder as well if she is just not finding it stressful socially. My daughter was a thumb sucker and usually did it during times of great stress and I wonder if she is just finding it stressful to be around new children and a new social situation. Perhaps a talk about that might be a good thing. Maybe that is really what the "it is too long" is all about.

What about an Au-pair, just for those days. She can collect them from school, bring them home for lunch or not and then do some sort of activity with them, take them to Stodels or a play place, park etc. one on one attention, someone fun and it probably won't cost you much more than aftercare! Happy, contented children= happy mommmy! I'm all for finishing something BUT not when it's making them someone different! Just a thought! xxx

They are children, let them stay at home. They have plenty of time to learn that you have to be disciplined, but only a really short time to be children. Discipline is something they learn all day long at school!

It seems like this is the opposite of most people's opinion, but I would tend to make them keep going. The thing is, when children are young and the problems are small (like this one) it is the best time to help teach them lessons. You can do more to help them through it whereas if you wait to teach the lessons later on, the stakes are higher, its more difficult, and the failures are harder to deal with. I think that by having to go to aftercare, which is not a torture just a bit dull for them, then they find ways to deal with it. Being bored is the best thing for children- it inspires their imagination. Maybe Kate will find some new friends, maybe she'll try some new food, but in any case, it seems like the type of situation that will be gently pushing her out of her comfort zone. It seems like that would be good for her.

Let her come home. She doesn't make a show, she is really unhappy there. Split the decision for Adam and Kate - if Adam is happy there, let him stay.

I wouldn't like to see my child unhappy. Life is long and hard enough. IMO, there is no merit in consequence for consequence's sake. A little flexibility is always good in human relations ;-)

And Kate can learn at home to play by herself without disturbing you. That's a valuable lesson, too.

I think I would say they have to go twice a week and maybe one to mimmis if possible. You need the time to get your work done and I think your needs also count here. When they come home they get great quality time so a few extra hours twice a week is not too much. My son doesn't really like having lunch at the kindergarten (he's 5) but I tell him its only twice a week so he goes. Its summer here now and when I go to pick him up he tells me he wants to stay longer. Once he knows he has to go he makes the most of it. I personally wouldn't give in as it is not as you are at home with your feet up watching telly and having a cuppa - you are working, and if you let them come home those days then you are going to have to stay up late etc etc to make up the time. Lots of kids get no choice. Maybe you could put them in on a Monday and a Tuesday - then they get 5 days free - or 1 day with mimi.

can you maybe let them come home, and then just whack in a dvd so you can get a bit more work done? Or does it not work that way with them? I wouldn't make them go if they didn't want to - it does sound like Kate is miserable. It is holidays, can you farm them off to aunts, uncles, grannies just so you can get a little bit more work done? much sympathy - I know how you feel!

This is tricky. I worked from home from my son's birth and when he turned three, decided that (a) as an only child he needs to socialise (b) I needed time to work (c) he needed to get away from mommy's apron strings. He is now 14 and told me the other day how much he hated it. He never let on that he wasn't really enjoying it. I have also only found out now that at one of the places he went they were made to sleep and were sometimes smacked!!! My son stopped sleeping in the afternoon at the age of 1, which makes me wonder how they got him to sleep - drugged him? If I had known these things I would never have made him go, but I also tend to think once you start something, you at least have to stick it some time. I would go with some of the other commentators here - reduce it to one day a week and make it a non-negotiable. You deserve time to do your work, and Max also deserves having some quality time with you alone.

This must be very difficult for you. If I were in your situation I would compromise with them saying that they need to go to aftercare 3 days a week but that you will fetch them earlier than the 3pm closing time. It will then make them understand that you are willing to change things to make them better, but that there are boundaries... Hope this helps a little.

Tough one for you, but I would trust my heart on this one. It's not as though she is giving up on piano lessons or ballet. Completing the term for something like that is a different story. But they ARE little and there is so much time to learn those lessons of commitment and follow through.
As a child, I loved being home after school, and I suppose I try to recreate that for my own son. Not always easy, also work from home, but feel fortunate to be able to do that for him.

I would make them go, for all of reasons already given. Rooibos tea -- at least she's drinking something that's good for her!

I am of the "They can come home if they can entertain themselves" camp. Tell them you're giving it a trial, and it's up to them to prove that doing things their way can work.

I think you should listen to your heart. It is school holidays, I know less time for mom's who work (me too), but time off for them too. You may find she changes her mind later on, then see how flexible the school is to a few more days.

When school starts then you will have more time for work.

Can you comprimise? Say you have to go one day one week two days the next. That way you can get some work done and have time for marko. But still give the kids some of what they want?

Or I like the idea of hiring someone for the few hours you need to work. Then you both get what you need/want.

Wow! This is tough. I understand the work/family balance issues. Maybe a compromise of they can come home early a few days. I know I was able to get my daughter out of aftercare, after school, but that is from 3 PM to 5 or 6 PM and that was too long of a day for her.

Honestly? I'd take her out. I wasn't sure until the part you wrote about her sucking her thumb and being quiet. If she's miserable or frightened, it's not worth it. It could cause her to be scared of new schools/experiences in the future too.

I had my son in preschool last summer, a different school than his usual one. He cried every day when I dropped him off. Pleaded not to go. I really needed it because I work from home too, but I pulled him out anyway. He was just so miserable there, and I didn't think it was fair to do that to him.

Just sayin.

The fact that she is miserable and doesn't play much with the other kids would seriously break my heart and I would try and make another plan. I know it's tough in terms of you getting some work done and I don't really have any bright ideas. Reciprocal play dates where you have the kids one day and someone else another day? Your mom??? (Guess they already help out a lot for you so that might not be an option). Good luck, as I've said I think the "baby" part of parenting is the easy bit, it's when they start to get older that it starts getting so tough.

You know what?

Just do what you feel is right, because there is NO wrong answer here -- and no matter what you do, you will do them no real harm.

You can let them come home -- no problem with that. Does it mean they will always get what they want in life, just because they got it this time? Nope! Very unlikely!

Or you can keep sending them -- Kate might eventually grow to like it. And even if she never does, she doesn't sound traumatized by it. It sounds merely unpleasant for her, like something she will endure, and then move on.

Aftercare shouldn't be about what they want. It should be about what YOU need. People don't generally send their kids to aftercare because the kids want to go. They send them because they work and need to the kids to go. Here, aftercare is $60 per week. No way would I pay for that if I didn't need it.

You are very lucky you can send food. My son is pretty picky, himself. But, we are not allowed to send any food unless a child has an allergy. I don't think my son ever ate anything except maybe a cookie if they had one.

That really doesn't sound like your Kate. I think something else is going on. You might need to do some more investigating.

My advice is to try talking to the teacher to understand the reason, because I don't think you'll get it from Kate. See if the teacher is good enough to help Kate overcome for problem, with your help. If this gets shrugged of as Kate's whim, get her out of there. Or switch her to something different.

I had two instances in the past year in which my daughter wanted to quit something, and we solved each case differently. The first one was a ballet class. J loves to dance and wear a tutu, so I was suspicious. My daughter was one of the youngest in the class and a little bit unruly (ok, a lot). The teacher had no idea how to deal with it, she just gave her time outs and basically made her sit throughout half of the lessons. I found out only by accident from an aide, the teacher never asked to talk to me. In that instance I decided that the teacher was not competent enough to deal with my daughter effectively (trying to stay polite here), so I switched my girl to a Yoga class with a very experienced teacher. My girl enjoyed it through the end of the school year.
The second instance was a language course. After a several months of being very happy in this class, my daughter asked me to quit. I emailed her teacher after a couple of weeks. I found out that my daughter was being disruptive. However, the teacher thought she knew the reason: she thought that my daughter, who is very competitive, had felt left behind in learning after missing a few classes due to illness. The teacher was spot on. She wrote a nice praise for my daughter in an email and I explained to my daughter that her teacher knew she was good and did not expect her to know things that were explained when she was ill, etc....That gave my daughter a big boost to her ego, and she improved in her behavior right away. She did not ask me to leave the class any more.
I think if a child shows signs of unease, an experienced teacher (like the second one in my case) can deal with it and work together with the parent to modify the behavior. The parent has to work at it too. However, if a teacher shrugs this off as your child's problem or is unable to help, keeping your daughter there is not good to anyone.
good luck.

Well, with the standard (and sincere) disclaimer of "You should listen to your instincts as a parent," it seems like you'll have the same problem when they go to school next year, right?

So you can either have the conflict now, or you can have the conflict later, but I doubt you can avoid it altogether.

If it were me (and again, see above) I would be tempted to make them go to get it over with BEFORE school starts, because you don't want them to associate school with this concept of "Yes, you have to," or have this confict/adjustment with them when they're actually supposed to be learning lifelong skills, like how to not eat paste and whatnot.

Let them come home. Maybe Rose can take care of them in the afternoon? Is Rose still with you? Or maybe an au pair? There is still a lifetime of "have to do's" ahead of them. They're little and it isn't like this is an extra mural activity that they just want to stop on a whim. Go with your heart!

Came back to add - where is Rose!!! Need a Rose update.

Why are they in aftercare if you have a nanny? Is Rose still there? What is her job description? Does she cook, clean, and take care of the kids five days a week? Seven days a week? A couple of days? Is she just taking care of the baby now or all three? I think you should sit down and analyze your life. Do an overhaul. Take it from someone who has worked for herself for 22 years and raised 3 kids for 10 of those years (and still doing it with 2 of the 3) as a single parent. Exactly how much time do you need to work? Whatever it is, whether it's 9-5 five days a week, or 8 hours a day 3 days a week, make that your work time. It's not time to be interrupted when a kid plops himself in your lap and tells you to play with him or take him to the park. It's work time. Use your allotted work time to work, go to the store, run errands, blog, come and go as you please, whatever you want-all by yourself. When you are off, you're available to everyone else. You can always "call in sick" when your kids are sick, if you're going on vacation, if the child has a function to attend, etc. But other than that, don't make yourself available all day every day. If you take the kids out of aftercare and try to mind them while working, then you are going to go crazy. Been there done that. You end up asking yourself what you accomplished for the day other than running around in circles. When you make your work schedule, pass it to Rose. She's in charge during that time and you're not to be interrupted unless it's an emergency. If it's more work than she's doing now, then adjust her wages accordingly. There's really no need for aftercare because you have a nanny. The best thing you can do for yourself is to make a firm work schedule and make arrangements for someone to watch the kids during that time, which shouldn't be a problem if Rose is still with you.

Crimony! Not really wanting to face this issue. My son is almost 5 1/2 and has always stayed with me. I am a teacher by profession, but chose to stay home once I had him. Now he is school age. I am not ready to send him. I really hope/pray he likes it. Legally he has another year before he has to go, but I could also home-school him. Feeling anxiety.

I say let them stay home. They may not have that choice later on and a lot of changes can take place within a few months or so. It may be a lack of feeling secure. Some things are better not pushed or rushed. They may change their minds.

Keep us posted. Still feeling anxiety.

Kobus & Isabel went to aftercare in Grade 1 for a week or so & then also said they didn't want to go anymore. I could see that they were exausted & grumpy by the time I fetched them (that was around 17:00 at that stage). So I organised with my au pair who was looking after the other 2 to fetch them at 13:00 and look after them till I got home (extra momey, etc.). Luckily from August that year (2004) I started working half day (till 13:00) and was able to fetch them myself at 13:30. They were much happier that way. I still pick up all 4 my kids just after school in the afternoons. We're all happy with this arrangement.

I hear what you are saying about finishing what you started & that applies to all extra mural activities in our home - they have to complete at least one year of an activity that they started, BUT A & K are only 5 years old and how important is it really for them to attend afterschool care? If you could make another plan (extra help [nanny/au pair] or whatever) I would recommend rather bringing them home after school. Life is hard enough as it is. If you could make it easier for them, then do it. If they decide (a couple of years from now maybe) that they would like to attend aftercare again, then let them, but for now, just let them be carefree kids who want to come home after school & play with each other.

I agree with sending them (half day) to holiday school - otherwise you'd all go crazy with this looooong school holiday (5 weeks!). Mine are also already complaining about being boooored & what can they do - Eish!

Good luck! :o)

Is there a way you can try to make aftercare better for Kate? (Sorry if someone suggested this - I haven't read all the comments.) Could you make cupcakes or the like with Kate and have her (and Adam) bring them for everyone? Perhaps the aftercare teacher could make sure to give Kate the important job of giving them to the children, or especially the girls. Could the aftercare teacher invent a job to be done and have Kate do it? Or better yet, have Kate and one other little girl or boy do it together? It seems like Kate needs to have a role and a reason to get to know the other kids that has structure, so she doesn't have the pressure of feeling like she's barging in on other relationships...? It would be great to be able to work through this difficulty because then Kate would learn that things can get better even if they're not good for a while... And maybe if all of that doesn't work, let her stay home?

Perfect for a poll, darling! I wonder if you have her go for a while & see if it a phase. If not, then bring her home, but set the rules that you have work to do - she's old enough to understand "mommy's work time."


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roiboos tea rocks!

as for the rest, i am having the same battle :)

What Melissa said. Kate's smart. She know you'll get a report on her behavior. You need to work during the day so she can live the privileged lucky life that she lives and you need your down time in the evenings. It's only fair to Marko. Remember Marko will be around after the kids leave. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I have a rising 7th grader who's already started a calender marking off days till she goes for her learner's permit--and I think she was in diapers when I started reading your blog.

Our kids certainly think twice about things when they're told they have to pay 1/2 of the cost from their own stash. Man, does it work like a charm!!! And you still get credit for being nice 'cause you've promised to pay 1/2.

I think you need to try it one more week. If that week stinks, then you let them come home. I feel like they're young enough and this is OPTIONAL, so you let them be where they want -- home! Can't blame them, really!

That said, my son is a lot like Kate. He hardly eats and the whole first 2 months of preschool he sat on a chair observing. The teachers didn't force him to join in, which I was grateful for. Finally, we had a Halloween party that mommies could attend, and voila! He suddenly started participating at school! It still took him nearly the whole rest of the year to play with anyone, but baby steps! Still, it sounds like Kate *normally* will play with others, so this isn't just a matter of her getting used to it, but her just not liking it.

I'm wondering -- is there an option to pick them up a bit earlier? I was wondering if maybe if you picked them up at 2:00 for a week, then 2:30 for a week, and then 3:00 that it make Kate happier. In other words, that first week she'd *know* she's going home earlier, so that would allow her to have fun since she's kind fo getting her way. Then the next week she stays a bit longer (she can't tell time yet, right?) and she probably won't even notice that it's longer. By the 3rd week she'll be fully adjusted.

But if that's too much work, I see nothing wrong with her coming home. Again I say this is OPTIONAL! Not regular school, but extra stuff! Kate in particular just may not be ready for that. I'm all for kids sticking with stuff, but when they're this little and this is mostly for parental convenience, I say let the kids do what feels best to them.

The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved

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