Question - I am about to return to work after 15 month leave after having my first baby. I am offered flexible work hours – either two long, 10 hour days or three shorter days. What suits a 15 month old the best in terms of day care – the two long days or the three shorter days? 

Charming mother feeding her adorable son in the kitchen
Whilst the two long days may seem more tempting as then you are really only going to work for two days and then have five days at home with your baby, for a 15 month old that will be in formal daycare the three shorter days will be less exhausting for them. If your baby was being looked after in your own home or at a grandparents house the two days could be a better option.

A ten hour day at work will be for example say 7am to 5pm or 8am to 6pm. Add onto this drop off and driving then you are probably leaving home at 6.30am, or if it is a later start then add in breakfast at home, getting dressed and you can see how quickly you and your baby’s day will start very early. Thinking about the end of the day again and add in pick up time, time spent talking to staff about the day, travel, dinner and bath your baby will be exhausted and most likely crying in the car on the drive home at 5.30 or 6.30pm. It is a big day. Ten hours plus is a long time for your toddler to be at daycare and we find that length of day tiring as an adult.

Once home you are really just quickly going through the routine and putting your baby to sleep. Also I would avoid going out and about the next day and instead opt for a relaxing day at home for you both. Don’t worry too much about dinner on these nights either, instead go for a quick, healthy meal that is easy for your toddler to eat rather than worry about meat and three vegies. Dinner, bath, stories and bed.

The shorter days will also be easier for your toddler to adjust to the routine and change of daycare with an early pick up being ideal.

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