Is daycare a good or bad thing for children?
My wife and I were lucky enough to be able to save up some leave for when Lilibeth was born. Mummy was lucky enough to save up enough annual leave and her employers maternity leave. We are one of the lucky few to also have access to the government’s paid parental leave. She scrimped and saved leave to have about 9 months at home with our daughter.
Leading up to the birth of Lilibeth we had always wanted to keep the number of days that we put Lilibeth into daycare as few as possible per week. One so that we would be her primary carers during the week, and two so that she would get social development by being around other children her age.
When the time came for Mummy to go back to work after her 9 months of caring for Lilibeth, the opportunity arose to put Lilibeth into daycare more than just the one day a week we had intended.
Now we thought long and hard about whether we wanted to make the leap to four days a week rather than the original intention of one day per week. While it went against our original idea, we had to balance logistics against our ideals.
We opted to go with the four days per week, and Lilibeth has absolutely loved daycare since she started. We are lucky enough where she is in a centre where her grandmother works (although not in her room) and all the staff absolutely adore our daughter.
She has not had separation anxiety once, and she has learned to interact with a wide range of children. We do worry about the long hours that she does spend at daycare, but we weigh it up and give her lots of attention on her days off, weekends and at the beginning and end of each day.
We feel she has adapted to daycare, and we can see that it is part of her normal routine and she accepts it. She has improved her skills on an almost daily basis, and while Mummy and I are often exhausted after a full day of work, the smile on her face when we pick her up or come home is priceless.
Is daycare a good or bad thing for children? We haven’t experienced it as a bad thing, while it isn’t ideal (in our eyes) that she spends four days a week in the care of others, unfortunately it is something that Mummy and I have to do to make ends meet at the moment. We are lucky that Lilibeth loves going to daycare and has flourished being there. So for us, daycare has been a good thing.
I think that each child and family will have different experiences, and it is up to each family to determine what is best for their family and circumstances.