Daycare does not always feel like the ideal choice.
That first day, dropping your child off with strangers to watch them for a majority of their time awake during the day can be tough. Ok, so maybe they are not exactly strangers, we’ve met them, interviewed them and tested out a few days before the “real” day, but they are not you. How will they know when my baby wants to eat or sleep, or will they hold her when she cries? How will I know if she likes it or is it stressing her out being with someone who is not me?
After a few weeks, I realized that the daycare staff can, in fact, handle my daughter.
They know when to feed her, and when she needs a nap, and she’s happy when I show up to get her. It’s like they have done this before. I’m glad I didn’t go with my back-up plan of leaving her at home with our Great Dane. These are experienced professionals who have all had training, either through education or years of experience, and I made a great decision.
Now I’ve come to realize some of the great things that happen because she goes to daycare.
Here are my top 5 favorite things about my daughter’s daycare:
- My daughter gets to socialize, without me there hovering. When I go to group activities with her, I’m always so worried she might hit or push another child. She doesn’t have a violence problem but it has happened that someone was in her space and since she can’t communicate verbally, the only way she has to get them a more comfortable distance away is physically. Kids need to explore boundaries and communication. At daycare she has more flexibility to do this without my constant fear of what is happening.
- I get reminded by a (somewhat) unbiased third party that my daughter is normal and displaying normal behaviors. I get reminded that all kids go through these stages of exploring what is appropriate, and she doesn’t have a problem.
- She surprises me with new things she learns. One day, when she was probably 10 months old, we were playing and one of her musical toys started singing “The Wheels on the Bus” and she immediately got excited and started making the motion of the wheels. I had not taught her this. In fact, although we do sing songs, I didn’t realize she was old enough to learn the motions or remember the motions that go along with the lyrics. I can only assume this was something she learned at daycare.
- I have assistance in transitions. I sometimes get really nervous when we are approaching time for a transition like, from formula to milk, or bottle to sippy cup. Sending her to a daycare that helps with these transitions and takes some of the stress off me. She gets reinforcement from multiple sources and it seems to help.
- I found a reliable and trustworthy babysitter for evenings or weekends. When possible we use family. Especially on weekends or when we are going away for a night. However since both our families live an hour away, weeknights can be difficult. Luckily, my daughter has taken especially well to one of the girls at daycare and she has watched her for an evening. It’s nice to have someone we know my daughter trusts and is comfortable with.
I don’t know if I feel like I am missing out, but the weekend can be such a short time to try to fit in everything I want to do with her. You can always try to find the bad side, but overall, our family has had a really positive experience with daycare.