My son has been in daycare since he was 5 months old. And let me tell you, sending him off that first day was frightening for me. I commute over an hour into the city, so I wasn’t even a part of drop-off and was literally miles away from him. That first day, my husband called me to let me know he was safely at school, yet I started to ball when he informed me that our son had a stuffy nose. “Can he breathe?” I sniffled. “I should have used the Nose Frida before I left!” My husband told me to calm down and so I put on my brave face and headed into the office (luckily, my meltdown had happened in the car).
There have been ups and downs in our first year of having our son in daycare and honestly, I often feel guilty – guilty about him being there longer than some of the other children, guilty that we didn’t pack an item needed for his day, guilty that I am sitting in traffic instead of personally getting him settled in his class. But one thing I don’t feel guilty about is the fact that he is there. I think daycare is really good for my son and here’s why.
My son is, at least for now, an only child. And daycare gives him the opportunity to interact with other children. He is learning social skills I simply can’t provide him with at home. And he has a few girlfriends there, to boot. Yeah, he’s just that cute.
The variety of activities that are provided on a daily basis are amazing. I think it is an accomplishment for them to get all those children fed and changed each day. Yet they manage to teach them sign language, read to them, teach them to use utensils and capture it all in a little daily report that is emailed to me, complete with photos (these photos are the only ones of our little guy that are posted to Facebook some weeks). One photo actually showed my son feeding his stuffed animals. Adorable!
Let’s face it, I will never be the type of mom who looks up different characters that can be created with my son’s hand and foot prints. But I do appreciate the various art projects that come home. Maybe someday I will create a book of his first year art projects, which will also act as a progression of his hand and foot size (it could happen, right?). And who doesn’t love a yellow footprint drawn to look like a Minion? Besides, he is learning skills like holding a paintbrush or marker, and in a safe environment… His mommy has NEVER let him hold a marker at home! The walls and my sanity couldn’t handle it.
Ok, don’t judge, but my son’s only naps at home prior to the age of one involved a car seat or being held by mommy or daddy. I can only remember one time I actually got him to sleep in the pack ‘n’ play long enough to consider it a nap and that was after his first swim lesson, which wore him out. Yet the ladies at daycare manage to get him and 5 other toddlers sleeping in the same room at the same time. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Being the good parent that I am, I asked what the teachers at school do and have been trying to replicate their methods at home ever since. My son is now 17 months old and we are just starting to get a weekend routine for napping established.
Basically, daycare provides the social interaction, activities and routines that I don’t have the time to instill at home, simply because I am at work all day. Perhaps if I was a SAHM, I’d be better about doing these things, but since I work outside the home, I am glad to have this support. The ladies at the daycare really seem to care about our son and he always seems happy there. If anyone is traumatized by the whole daycare experience, it is me. And on those days when we get there late to pick him up and I agonize over the traffic getting in my way, I usually arrive to find a child who is still happily playing (ends up, my kid can’t tell time). And all I really want is for my son to be safe, happy and healthy. His daycare ensures all of this, and more.
What do you love about your child’s daycare? If you’re on the fence or struggling with it, what makes it palatable for you?
This post is linked up at SHINE Blog Hop.