Teach me how to daycare drop off.
December 20, 2016 6:15 AM   Subscribe

How one person can get an almost 6 month old and an 18 month old into daycare.

We just got a foster placement of an almost 6 month old and an 18 month old. We found a daycare for both of them. However, we can't figure out how to get them both inside with only one person. Our temporary solutions is for both me and Mrs. Donovangirl to take them. That is not a workable long term solution.

The 18 month old can walk, but wants to be held all the time. I know a potential answer is just make him walk. But I am not looking forward to him having a meltdown in the parking lot when I am alone with the two of them. Walk from car to door is about 40 yards. No stairs, so strollers may work.

So far the two potential solutions I have thought of are:
1) Snap and go stroller with toddler seat. Seems like this would work - but will baby outgrow snap and go quickly?
2) Hold baby, put 18 month old in umbrella stroller.

I am sure there are other solutions I just can't imagine. We are willing to expend some money on this, but since we are not sure how long the babies are going to be with us it's hard to think of spending a lot. Is there a $100 or so solution to this issue.
posted by donovangirl to Education (33 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Would the baby be ok in an ergo or other carrier on your body? Then the bigger kid could ride in an umbrella stroller.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:18 AM on December 20, 2016 [8 favorites]

Alternatively, snap and go for baby, hold the toddler?
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:19 AM on December 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Dual stroller. You'll want one anyway, beyond just daycare dropoffs if you ever want to leave the house with two under-threes. Strollers are big on Craigslist, look there.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:20 AM on December 20, 2016 [17 favorites]

1. Put toddler in umbrella stroller. If you live in a cold climate, get a stroller muff so you don't have to mess with outerwear.

2. Put baby in baby carrier. I otherwise wouldn't recommend the baby Bjorn, but it's the easiest for putting baby on and should be okay for a short distance.

There may be tears. Stay calm, upbeat, and firm. "It's hard to say goodbye. At the same time, I have to go to work and you will be safe here. I will be back after goodbye circle." Talk to the daycare staff so they will engage immediately while the transition happens.

Also, you are amazing for taking this on!
posted by snickerdoodle at 6:24 AM on December 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Can you call the daycare and arrange to have a caregiver meet you halfway with a toy? Over time, shrink the distance and the problem might solve itself.

The point is that any daycare worth its salt has seen this type of problem (and more) and involving them in the solution will help everyone.
posted by plinth at 6:29 AM on December 20, 2016 [4 favorites]

If you can even get a caregiver to meet you at the door, you can leave one child in the car, carry the other to the caregiver, and go back for the first. If it's 40 yards, you'll never be out of eyeshot of the car. I would be totally fine with this, YMMV.

If you're not comfortable with that, nthing baby in baby carrier, toddler in umbrella stroller. Go for the carrier that's the easiest to get baby in and out of, which is the bjorn style.
posted by telepanda at 6:42 AM on December 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Baby in a Snap-and-go, toddler in an Ergo. I know 18 months seems big for a carrier, but trust me, it will work just fine for 40 yards and much easier than carrying in arms.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 6:43 AM on December 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

A snap-n-go is going to be the easiest solution, I think. Our average sized daughter was in a baby bucket car seat until she was a year old, and we probably could have used it for a bit longer except we got a convertible seat for her first birthday. I see snap-n-go strollers on our local craigslist pretty regularly for around $30-40, so if you can find one used that might make it more palatable even though it’s a solution that may only last 6 months or so. You don't even need one with a toddler seat for this application; you can carry the toddler and push a single stroller for 40 yards, especially if you use a carrier for the toddler.

A Baby Bjorn carrier is not great for larger babies (like over 6 months). You could get by, but it definitely wouldn’t last the baby until 1 year or be usable for the 18mo. The Infantino carrier is a better bargain that you’ll be able to use for short distances well into toddlerhood. The keywords that you're looking for are "soft structured carrier." Or, again, craigslist... you might be able to find an Ergo or a Becco carrier. I can still carry my 2.5 year old in the Becco I got used for $60.
posted by Kriesa at 6:46 AM on December 20, 2016

In my area you can get a used double stroller for about $60 on Craigslist. It's not perfect for the 6 month old, they may be a bit floppy in there, but it should be fine for short trips. Bonus, you can also carry the lunches, diapers, extra clothes, nap blankets, boots, etc, etc, etc.......
posted by Ausamor at 6:48 AM on December 20, 2016

Also, if you can find a local moms/parents group with an online presence (check MeetUp and Facebook) and ask this question, I’ll bet that you’ll get some free equipment. Especially at this time of year when people are both in a giving mood and looking at an influx of new stuff.
posted by Kriesa at 6:57 AM on December 20, 2016

Do you have an infant car seat with a base? If so, you can take the baby in by carrying them in the car seat while holding the 18 month old on one hip. Or even just leave the toddler in the car, drop the baby off right inside the door in the car seat, and turn around to grab the toddler. A cars seat you can carry around makes these situations much easier.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 7:13 AM on December 20, 2016

I feel like I'm missing something.

Leave toddler in car. Take baby in (in the bucket), place inside door, go back for toddler. Lock the door on the car for the 30 seconds you'd be gone.

I had a lady scream at me for leaving my kids in car while at a gas station. I had used the pay at pump, but after I pumped, but the machine wouldn't take credit card. My older kid was a runner ( at about 2.5 years). Baby was in a bucket. It was safer to leave them in the locked car than risk a errant toddler in a gas station parking lot. She made me feel awful but frankly, I was right.
posted by Ftsqg at 7:17 AM on December 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

Car seat for baby, encourage toddler to walk, but pick up and carry on hip if he's very unhappy. Drop off inside with teachers then walk back to the car and grab supplies/lunches/diapers.

Won't work if it's icy, unfortunately, but wrangling multiple babies is HARD when it's icy out. You could try a double stroller or a stroller with a rider board.

Thank you for doing this!
posted by lydhre at 7:19 AM on December 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Good suggestions here, but getting the 18 month old to walk will solve many of these problems and will likely help you generally in life. It's worth remembering that 1) the walking may not lead to the meltdown you fear - kids often surprise you, 2) meltdowns never seems as bad to outside people as they do to parents of the kids having a meltdown, and 3) it's hard to imagine any place in the world where meltdowns will be more understood than in the parking lot of a daycare.
posted by Betelgeuse at 7:24 AM on December 20, 2016 [6 favorites]

I feel like I'm missing something.

Leave toddler in car. Take baby in (in the bucket), place inside door, go back for toddler. Lock the door on the car for the 30 seconds you'd be gone.

This is the common sense solution, but FYI, people these days are totally crazy about the idea of leaving kids in cars, this might not be feasible. We were advised by our daycare that they had to call the police any time a child was left alone in a car for any length of time (I mean, look at this bullshit), even for something as simple as a quick drop-off.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:29 AM on December 20, 2016 [9 favorites]

I would go with 2) Hold baby, put 18 month old in umbrella stroller to start.

Encouraging the 18 month old to walk as time goes on. (It helps that the toddler will see older kids doing that and will want to be like them. You could even come in for pickup without the stroller, ask, are you OK with walking? and if not go back and get the stroller.)
posted by typecloud at 7:34 AM on December 20, 2016

Nthing what others have said: baby wearing is your friend here.
My other suggestion is to give the 18-month old a job "to be helpful." Give them something to carry and praise them for being so helpful and you can often get more walking. I once got a child that age to walk when given only a Kleenex (I was desperate) to carry. Eventually they start actually being helpful by carrying their own bag.
posted by papergirl at 7:48 AM on December 20, 2016 [8 favorites]

I see this situation all the time when I do drop off with my kid. A stroller is almost always employed, with the older kid on the hip or walking. A "sit and stand" stroller may be a great option for you, with the older kid standing on the back. This would probably have longer usefulness than a double stroller IMHO.
posted by LKWorking at 8:03 AM on December 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

Do you know the kids' height / weight? My friend who has two under two usually carries her older kid in a soft structured carrier (he can walk but this is for when he's fussy or tired) and just carries the baby in his bucket car seat in one hand. But her kids are pretty light (plus she's very athletic).

I have a nearly 6 month old and think snap n go stroller is the right choice. We have the Chicco KeyFit 30 that snaps into a stroller and she still fits in it fine. She'll hit the height limit (30 inches) in the next couple months I think, but she is pretty tall. A more average size baby could probably get a full year or more in it. If I had an older one too I think I'd snap the baby into her stroller and just carry the other kid on my hip or in a ring sling.
posted by cpatterson at 8:17 AM on December 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

I really hated my double stroller and only used it once or twice for my kids, who are 18 months apart. When I had to wrangle both my kids at the same time, a light umbrella stroller plus a sling were my weapons of choice. One rides, one is carried, sometimes the one who can walk does. This got us everywhere for years.
posted by padraigin at 8:20 AM on December 20, 2016

I feel like I'm missing something.

Leave toddler in car. Take baby in (in the bucket), place inside door, go back for toddler. Lock the door on the car for the 30 seconds you'd be gone.

If it works, great, but what you may be missing is the huge possibility that either the baby or the toddler or both will be distraught about being left, which is not a good way to start a daycare drop off. Neither is letting the toddler have a meltdown about walking, especially if they are living in an area where the parking lot is going to be slushy this time of year.
posted by Kriesa at 8:20 AM on December 20, 2016

The thing about daycare drop off (at least for our family) is that it also entails dropping off a lot of STUFF. Most days our three-year-old heads off to daycare with two big bags in tow, one for lunch/nap blanket/diapers/snack/change of clothes, one for snow pants and outdoor gear in case they go outside to play. I have my hands full just getting him plus his stuff into the building - there's no way I could have managed two little ones plus all their stuff without using a stroller.

When you say Snap and Go stroller, do you mean one of those convertible strollers that the car seat can snap into, but without the car seat it's a regular (bulky) stroller? That's what I would suggest. Once the baby has outgrown the bucket seat, the stroller is still usable in regular stroller mode. Either carry the 18-old or encourage them to walk.

Or, carry the baby in a bucket seat slung over one elbow and push the toddler in an umbrella stroller, if your umbrella stroller has enough cargo space below it for all their gear. I would rely on the bucket seat to keep baby contained and safe until they outgrow it - easier to carry than a baby and you can set it down briefly as needed while you are getting the toddler situated.

Good luck! Either way it's going to be a juggling act for awhile.
posted by beandip at 8:26 AM on December 20, 2016

Double umbrella stroller. Baby is fine in it. We walk to daycare and while we have a fancier version of this, it is what I would choose for just going car into the building.
posted by sulaine at 8:47 AM on December 20, 2016

Leave toddler in car. Take baby in (in the bucket), place inside door, go back for toddler. Lock the door on the car for the 30 seconds you'd be gone.

Some daycares actually have policies about this, stating that if you leave any of your children alone in the car for any length of time, you could be dismissed from the center. I used to work at one that had such a policy and we dismissed a couple families because of it (those families were actually the reason the policy was instituted in the first place because they'd leave their young elementary-aged kids in the car while they did LENGTHY drop offs of the toddlers/babies).

Most of the families who had multiple little ones at the center I used to work for used strollers to bring everyone and everything in. The center even had a little "parking area" for folded up strollers to be used at pick-up.
posted by cooker girl at 8:57 AM on December 20, 2016

If the toddler really won't walk, I would use a double stroller, possibly one with an attachment for the bucket. The City Mini is a good one that folds up easily and is usually available used.

With a 6 month old and an 18 month old, you kind of need a double stroller for general purposes anyway.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 9:00 AM on December 20, 2016

1. While baby is still in car, put toddler in umbrella stroller with brake on.
2. Put bags that need transporting into the umbrella stroller.
3. Your keys are, ideally, on a spiral wristband so you can have them on your nondominant hand but not taking up your ability to grasp with that hand.
4. When everything is ready and all that's left is to grab baby and lock car, then grab baby; hold in one arm; use keys on wristband to lock car. Push stroller with hand that is not carrying baby.
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:27 PM on December 20, 2016

Fwiw, we bought a Beco carrier for our 18mo old. It holds kids until they're quite big, and you can get an infant insert, and we're pretty happy with it. In your situation you might try a simple ring sling (for toddler or baby) as they're easier to operate and it's only a short distance.

We bought the Beco because we had a stretch between about 20-24 mo where he wanted held and carried all the time. ALL the time! He would no sooner get in his stroller than walk - he'd flip right out. YMMV, but this too should pass.

I do fingers and toes recc #3 too. Total lifesaver!
posted by jrobin276 at 12:31 PM on December 20, 2016

The Onya carrier is sized appropriately for an 18-month-old with plenty of room to grow. It's a bit overkill for such a short distance but we use ours all the time for our toddler.
posted by teremala at 3:44 PM on December 20, 2016

If the 18 month old wants to be carried all the time, something like a Beco or Ergo carrier is great... if they've just been placed with you, why not let them have some adjustment time before getting tough about it (assuming your back can hold up).
We just got back from an epic month long trip to India and mostly let our 4 yo ride in the umbrella stroller and 1 yo in our Ergo carrier ... even though 4 years old is (in my opinion) old to be in a stroller. Whatever works!
posted by dotparker at 4:42 PM on December 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, as someone who works in CPS, advising a foster parent to leave one child in the car while taking the other in is incredibly bad advice that could traumatized these kids and end badly for OP. We don't know anything about these children and what they've been exposed to, and in most states you risk having cops knock on your door for leaving children this young unattended, even for just a few minutes (and of course it's very easy to have those few minutes stretch out...). I'd do one on each hip, or one in a stroller and one in a hip. If she needs to be held right now, I think it's a great kindness to meet that need and hold her all you can :). And bless you!
posted by purenitrous at 8:53 PM on December 20, 2016

Don't know about your state, but leaving a kid in the car is illegal in California.

I'd put the 18 month old on my back in an Ergo and carry the baby in arms. But then I'm a seasoned babywearer...it does take some practice. Still find it easier than wrangling all that stroller/car seat gear.

Making the 18 month old walk sounds like a good idea but mine would just drop to the floor kicking and screaming and then what?
posted by The Toad at 9:29 PM on December 20, 2016

First of all, thank you very much for becoming foster parents. It's a very important thing you are doing.

Secondly, I want to reiterate what others have said about not leaving any foster children in cars unattended. Even if it's okay in your state law wise or accepted practice among parents, it may be a violation of agency rules and/or family and children services (or whatever it's called in your state) for foster children to be left unattended in cars.

Third, as someone who had two kids a little bit further apart in age than this but not by much, I did the baby-in-a-carrier, toddler-in-an-umbrella stroller thing here and there.

I'd suggest getting the toddler out and in the stroller first and then getting the baby in the carrier and moving along to daycare. It'll take a little bit, but you'll be a pro at it in two weeks -- I promise! And the daycare providers should be understanding of the toddler being nervous and needy and have techniques to deal with that.

And if you happen to be in the North Shore or Boston area of MA, I have an umbrella stroller you can take off my hands. It's a little beat up, but it'll do for now until you can get something better.
posted by zizzle at 4:06 AM on December 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Umbrella stroller + infantino carrier! With the holidays, today was the first day I attempted drop off on my own. And it worked. Thanks for all the great advice!
posted by donovangirl at 7:01 AM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

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