It’s always been our intention for Edie to go to daycare when I return to work in March. However, as the time draws closer, we’ve second and third guessed that decision – mostly because of other people’s comments on the situation. As much as I wish I didn’t listen to anyone else, you do have to at least hear them and then decide what to do on the basis of all the information you’ve gathered. There is also the heavy weight of making decisions for another person!
We also considered a nanny (too intense cost-wise for 1 child and having another person in the house all the time), PORSE (unavailable in our area – if you are an ‘at home educator’ type in Central Auckland you should get in touch with PORSE) and one of us staying home (all aboard the fast train to Insanity Town).
Some pros of daycare:
- Socialisation with other babies/children
- Care by an educated professional
- Allows both of us to work full time – sanity will be restored
Some cons of daycare:
- Not in our house. Edie doesn’t have naps in her own bed or stroller
- Not one of us looking after her
- Not 1 on 1 care
- Exposure to germs and getting sick
We selected Edie’s daycare based on recommendations from multiple friends and acquaintances. I’d originally chosen one that’s very close to work but the one she’ll go to is closer to home. At the time of all the daycare visits we didn’t really know WHAT to ask specifically for Edie’s routine and needs but did cover off the more general stuff. Mostly we assumed they would know what to do – but as the time grows nearer for her to start attending full time I started to get nervous about the unknowns.
We spoke to one of our babysitters about it who used to work in full time childcare. She was great and, while it was a bit of a wake-up call, we asked a whole lot more questions* to either reconfirm from the material we’d been given or hadn’t thought to ask initially.
- Will Edie have a primary caregiver?
- What is a typical day like in the baby room?
- Will she have an assigned cot, i.e. a sleeping space that is just hers, so if she is out of routine it won’t conflict with another baby?
- How do they deal with her being on a routine, rather than a schedule? (I initially was pro-schedule but couldn’t figure out how to transition her on to it. The child eats when she’s ready, not when the timetable says, and since that’s every 3 hours we go with it.)
- How will we handle changes of her routine between the week and weekend?
- How often are the toys, carpet, room etc cleaned?
- Can we call and ask about her during the day?
* This list assumes that all the general info has been covered off, like philosophy of the centre, ratio of babies to teachers, first aid qualifications, etc.
There are many things which prey on my mind about daycare.
I worry about whether Edie’s personality will change in a way it wouldn’t if she stayed at home with me.
I worry that she’ll miss us dreadfully and is too young to understand that we’ll always come back. I’m hoping a lot of short daycare visits will help with that – she has been ok when we left her with her grandparents on Waiheke or when she has had babysitters (though she’s usually asleep).
I worry about what they will do if Edie cries inconsolably. For a start, she rarely cries inconsolably so that would alarm me, but I also have to trust the caregivers to look after her in a way which is nurturing and caring since it can’t be me or Darren all the time. Since I assume this will only happen if she’s sick we’d be coming to get her anyway, because hopefully through the daycare visits she will get used to being there pretty quickly.
(I also worry about germs, that I’ll miss her horribly all day and various other things. The nights can be long.)
One of the best pieces of advice we were given was that we’ll be able to assess how it’s panning out with all our senses. If this daycare doesn’t working out, it doesn’t mean that another one won’t. If it turns out daycare just isn’t for us (and I don’t see why it wouldn’t be) we’ll figure something else out.
Daycare visits start next week – 3 weeks out from her first full week. On the flip side I can’t help being a little excited that I will be resuming a more ‘normal’ life…