While Chloe has been at daycare, Emma and I have been spending one day a week together doing Mummy-Emma things which has been great over these holidays. We have shopped for new school shoes, clothes for dancing, visited Scitech, caught the train into town, enjoyed yummy lunches together and even spent a day at the beach with lovely friends. Today was our last Emma-Mummy day before school goes back next week and we cherished every minute.
As the weeks have gone by, I have become more comfortable with sending Chloe to daycare. I know she is happy there and she is being taken care of. I have chosen to send Chloe to a smaller, home daycare in our suburb instead of the larger daycare that Emma attended. Chloe is not a fan of big groups and loud noises so I think this option works a lot better for her. The lady who runs the daycare is lovely and was highly recommend from some friends who have previously sent their own children there.
There are so many pros and cons to childcare and through my experiences with Emma and now Chloe, here are three things I love and three things I loathe.
Three things I love about daycare
The education component of childcare these days is fantastic and helps prepare children for school. I was amazed at all the activities and projects Emma worked on during her years at daycare. I would never have provided her with the opportunity to do even half the things she experienced at daycare. I was also impressed when she learnt all her colours, could count to twenty, knew her alphabet and could point to a map of the world and name the continents by the time she was 4 years old.
- Socialisation and friendships
Attending daycare helps children to learn how to socialise at an early age. They are encouraged to learn how to share, show kindness, develop friendships and learn appropriate behaviour by the caregivers who are trained to support the children’s development. Emma made some gorgeous friends at daycare and one little girl we even still keep in touch with.
Child care provides the opportunity for our little ones to learn how to be away from their parents and to meet new people. Not all children find this easy and it is heartbreaking to watch little ones scream as their parents leave them to head off to work. This is definitely not something anyone likes but speaking from my own personal experiences, both my girls enjoyed attending childcare and were happy to say goodbye to me. The independence and confidence that Emma gained at childcare followed through to her schooling where she was eager and happy to be there and to learn. I believe that independence is very important for Chloe too. With her future in mind, it is important to me that Chloe experiences new things and has the opportunity to build relationships with others outside our own family and friends circle. Support from others is an imperative part of Chloe’s ongoing development and attending daycare encourages this.
But with every pro, there is always a con. These are the three things I don’t love about daycare:
As Chloe is attending a much smaller childcare centre with only four children, I don’t expect this to impact her as much as it did Emma. The amount of illnesses that Emma brought home from her two days a week at daycare was astounding. I knew she would pick up bugs but the extent of it was quite shocking to me and my husband and I ended up sick quite a lot too. She caught cold after cold after cold, gastro, conjunctivitis, school sores and even ended up in hospital with a terrible infection. The first year of childcare was the hardest and once we got through that, things improved significantly health wise. I think it’s true what they say that daycare builds up a child’s immunity because Emma hardly ever gets sick now.
- Staff changes
This will not apply to Chloe’s daycare centre as it is owned and run by one lady. When Emma attended daycare, I found the staff turnover frustrating. We would both get used to one of the carers and then they would move rooms or leave the centre all together. Even though I was happy to send her to daycare, I was still concerned about the level of care she was receiving and as in most places, there were some carers who I preferred over others. My child is the most precious thing in the world to me and I want to make sure they are going to be looked after by the best people.
- You miss things
As luck would have it, Emma decided to take her very first steps during my first week back at work. It was at my parents house so I am very pleased that they were the ones who got to see it. I also remember one day I went to pick Emma up from daycare and I found her outside happily pedalling away on a tricycle. I stood back and watched her for a bit because I had no idea she could even ride a trike. It made me sad because I wasn’t the one who taught her and it made me realise that not being with her every day meant I would miss things and it hurt.