The first step to curing a problem is admitting you have one (or something to that effect); I was once that mom that believed sending children to daycare was the devil. Sure, one day they’d go to school and it’s essentially the same thing (but with more kids and fewer adults per classroom), but that was a moot point. Daycare (thought with a shudder at one time) was just awful. I would never send my precious little girl to daycare. She had all the friends she needed, she was home with me all day, she was smart, educated, intelligent, funny and got along just fine with other kids since she spent so much time with them since all our friends have kids her age. Being that I work from home, many people would ask me why I didn’t just send her to daycare a few hours a day so I could get things done. Well, I would never. I brushed off their suggestions with a, “Just because theirs goes to daycare doesn’t mean mine should. I mean, I work from home and my kids should be with me.”
Then came the day that my daughter began VPK; I cried. I worried for her. I called several times. She had an amazing day, loved every second of it and never cried once in the mornings when I dropped her off. She saved that for when I picked her up and she didn’t want to go. “Why not leave her in after-care for a few hours a day for the week?” I was asked. Um, what part of “I’m at home,” do you not understand, I wondered. It would never happen.
Until it happened, of course; and that was quickly followed up with the enrollment of my youngest daughter, then 2, in the same school. I loved the curriculum-based program. I loved that at 2 she was learning to read and write and do all the things that toddlers learn to do. I loved the structure and the friends she was making, and the art projects she was bringing home. I loved it all, and I was done for. Then I found out I was pregnant with twins, and part-time (3 hours a day, 3 days a week) became ‘Goodbye’ at 9:30 and ‘Hello’ at 4 (which coincided with the start of kindergarten from 9-3:30). It’s been 2+ years since I began my kids in school – though the twins are still home with me even after a year – and I love every second of it (my kids aren’t whining that they’re bored every 3 seconds and fighting with one another and someone else has the patience to teach them the things that they ignore me about….and I can get work done and actually focus on them when they’re home. Imagine that!). But I’ve also learned that there are some serious myths about kids that go to daycare, and I’m here to share them with you so that perhaps the former “Me’s” of the world will chill out and relax a bit.
They’re Sick all the Time
Sure, they get sick once or twice a year, but we’ve never gone through the “My kids are sick all the time,” deal that so many people say will happen once kids are in daycare. My kids either have some seriously amazing immune systems or something, because it’s just not an issue (though I do understand it is for some). With two kids in school for more than 2 years, I’ve only been called once to come get one of my children not feeling well.
They’re Starved for Attention
They’re really not. My kid gets so much attention at daycare. She gets a lot more there than she does when she’s home with me and I’m working and begging her to leave me be for just a few more minutes. She’s always doing something fun and enjoying herself, and her teacher is always giving the kids attention.
Their Parents Don’t Love Them
Yes, I can see how parents working to make money to pay for clothing and a house and food and things of that nature would appear unloving and uncaring. Right.
They Must be Poor
Um….daycare costs more than many people pay for their homes. Trust me when I say we pay a pretty penny to send our kids to daycare, so we are not poor. Well, after paying for daycare it might feel like it. Quite the contrary; many daycare kids live with families that are quite comfortable and well-off. It’s how they afford daycare.
They Are Bullies
Where this comes from, I’ll never know. Kids are not bullies because they go to daycare. They’re bullies because they are not provided a good example, disciplined when their behavior is out of line or because they are not taught to be kind. It has nothing to do with daycare, and everything to do with parenting. That hurts, doesn’t it?
They Will have Issues Since Their Mom isn’t Around
When someone says to me, “Oh! I can’t believe you put your child in daycare when you’re home all day long! She needs her mommy!” Well, okay, yes, she does need her mommy. And her daddy. And love. And she gets us all the time. She gets us all weekend, every single morning and night, all summer, all spring break, all Christmas break, all thanksgiving break, all vacations we take…and she gets plenty of love from her teacher and her friends.
And guess what? She’d rather be at school than with us. She’s a superstar attention-lover, and the kids in her class think she is the coolest thing ever to walk the planet, and she thrives on that.
They’re Left to Cry all Day Long
No, they are not. There are rules about crying children, and no one is allowed to cry for more than just a few minutes at a time. Daycares will not even allow your kids to cry longer if you ask them to because you’re working on sleep training or anything of that nature.
They have NO Structure
Trust me when I say my 4-year-old has more structure at daycare than she does at home. We have four kids of various ages and we are not teachers. She’s in a class with 9 other kids her own age with one teacher. They have circle time, calendar time, weather time, math time, writing time, art time, play time, lunch time, snack time, imagination time, reading time, and every second of her day is scheduled to a tee. This kid has more structure than the Empire State Building.
Daycare kids are not typically behind because they are in school. They are actually learning more than you might ever imagine, and the socialization they are provided is paramount to their growth and development, making it simple for kids to learn and become more intelligent.
They Should have Constant Attention
Kids do not need constant attention, and most of us know that. Kids need attention, yes. But they do not need someone all over them every second of the day. In fact, kid do a lot better when they are given time with which to use their imaginations and think for themselves. My daughter used to want constant attention since she was the second and she always had me, daddy or big sister with her to give her attention. When she went to school, she learned that she can play with other kids or by herself, and she’s happy doing either.
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