Sending your little one to daycare for the first time can be daunting. I sent my baby to daycare when she was just 10 months old – I had a great career opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up. I knew I was making the right choice for our future, but I felt a ton of worry, guilt, and straight-up anxiety. I really didn’t know what to expect. For any parents out there who are desperately googling the pros and cons of daycare, search no further – I have made a list of the top three things you can expect while your child is in daycare.
Your child will inevitably become sick when they first start attending daycare. They are in a small area with a bunch of other kids – and let’s be honest, kids aren’t great at washing their hands. Babies don’t even know how! Children share toys, do activities together, hold hands, and wipe their noses on each other’s sleeves. Have you ever tried to teach a baby to cover their sneeze? Impossible, right? So it’s natural for a good amount of germs to be floating around. Granted, daycare’s (alongside any other business’ who want to stay open) now have some pretty steep guidelines to adhere to when it comes to eliminating germs, but it’s simply not realistic to eradicate everything. Don’t be surprised when your child gets sick – it is very normal. My little girl was sick for the better part of a month when she first started daycare. It’s sad and difficult, but trust me Mama – you’re not alone when it comes to this. We have all gone through it. And if it makes you feel better, each time your child gets sick, they are strengthening their immune system. So in the long run, it’s actually a good thing!
For the fist couple of weeks, your little one is probably going to be completely exhausted when they leave daycare for the day. This is also very normal. When you think about a typical day at home before daycare began, what did you do? Did you play with 6-7 other babies all day? Did you plan engaging, brain stimulating activities around the clock? If you did, you’re amazing and I hope you still have some of your sanity left. If not, though, expect that your child will be tired after a full day of playing, learning, and socializing. Having fun and learning new skills is tough when you’re just little! Not to mention, most daycare’s have the children napping on mats on the floor. This is something your baby is probably not used to, so nap time will be tough for a while as they adjust. Also, expect that you are going to be tired as well. Momming is hard, but so is going back to work (and worrying about your child being in the care of someone else). It will take your mind and body some time to adjust to a new schedule, and it can be downright exhausting. Hopefully one of the perks of a long day is a good night’s sleep for you and your little one.
Your Kid Probably Won’t Miss You
I’m here to tell you this loud and clear – you will miss your child more then they will miss you. Goodbye’s will be hard, yes, but 9 times out of 10, by the time you’re in the car and buckling your seat belt, your baby has moved on and won’t think about you again until it’s home time. If your baby didn’t have separation anxiety issues pre-daycare, it’s very unlikely they’re going to have any problems with missing you once they start. It’s easy to be at work and let yourself feel guilty about abandoning your child to be cared for by somebody else – but trust me, daycare is a great thing for children. They aren’t lonely, they aren’t pining after you all day, and they probably aren’t thinking how much better off they would be at home. If you’re at work and feeling miserable about shipping your kid off to daycare, try to remember this: children in daycare are constantly learning new skills (socialization, manners, motor skills, adaptability, etc.), making new friends, and generally having fun. They don’t have time to miss you!
Honestly, guys, daycare is really awesome. You get to go back to work (while not super exciting, money is always a nice thing to have) and your baby gets an experience that really isn’t easy to recreate at home. Your kid gets to socialize with other children their age, they are constantly engaged in meaningful and fun activities, and most importantly (if you have done your research right), they are completely safe while you are away at work. Some daycare’s even help with potty training! Boo ya! In conclusion – don’t feel guilty about choosing daycare, guys. It’s a wonderful experience for your kids.