A completely new breed of parents has erupted over the last two decades. With those parents, has been the rapid birth of all sorts of brick and mortar institutions with the sole intention of taking in children so that the parents can work. Many of these parents believe whole-heartedly that daycare is necessary for several reasons, the first of course being financial. These are the parents that are forced to place their kids in daycares as a last resort as quickly as the maternity leave ends. Regardless of the whys, the ugly truths are there, ever-present in the minds of these new parents and it is often difficult to think that there isn’t another way, a better way - to go about having your children cared for.
First of all, it is important to be clear that there are a great number of people who honestly have no choice. That being said, if daycare is the clear answer to paying the utility bills (not the tabs for big screen TV’s and fancy cars) these parents are exempt from criticism. The others however, need to have a clear understanding of what it is they are doing. Should you send your child to day care? The choice is individual, but the ramifications of the decision are global indeed.
Day care has its uses. However, it is difficult to imagine what the day in the life of a newborn; baby and toddler have in store for them. No matter what, they cannot, do not get the freedom of sleeping in, lying around on the couch or freely exploring their day. Day care is planned and with reason. With so many kids to look after and few adults, it has to be rigid or else it just wouldn’t work. Yet, why in the world would anyone leave his or her precious newborn child or baby who cannot voice their opinion yet in the hands of people paid minimum wage. While there are certainly a great many daycares that utilize well-qualified people the bottom line is that if mom and dad have a difficult time putting up with their colicky baby how do you think someone who doesn’t love them is going to feel about it? If mom and dad are frustrated by poor sleeping habits, picky eating or the lack of timely body training, how will strangers feel when this same child doesn’t fit into the what’s normal book of parenting and childhood?
It is preposterous to think that any infant or baby should be succumbed to 8-10 hour days where every moment is a competition for attention. As they grow up, they learn to defend themselves, their toys and are constantly forced to conform to rules and regulations very similar to an adult’s workday. When you are tired of the boss, fed up with the politics at work, you have outlets, an innocent child does not. They are forced to go, forced to stay and parents are forced into believing whatever the day care tells them.
Should you send your child to daycare? Many employees of the best daycare centers have leaked to the media and other organizations what really goes in. Those handy little sheets that tell you what junior did today are often filled out long before the day has started, sometimes days in advance. The directors are well qualified at knowing what parents “want to hear” and pleasing the parents means a pretty big tuition. The motto in most day cares is “send them home dry” meaning as long as they aren’t soiled and wet when they are picked up, all is well. The rest of the day, it a combination of scrambling in order to get all the babies changed properly. The workers flip a coin for who gets the ultra stinky ones (this is true) and your little one is the victim. Why? Because these aren’t their children, they are yours!
Parents like to feel all warm and fuzzy. They think of these places as schools and learning institutions and forget that just ONE ugly voice, comment or ill treatment by just ONE person, in ONE moment of angst - can forever alter who their child is and becomes! You will also hear parents talk about how much their children love and look forward to daycare, which is just another one of those tactics to make mom and dad feel better about throwing their child to the wolves too soon. The fact is, if you are a good mom and dad, your infant and baby would much rather be with you, rocked to sleep, held to be comforted, fed what they like most, bathed when they can enjoy it, allowed to play with books and blocks without fear and most importantly allowed to be the baby that they are for their rightful time. You also hear parents talk about sending their kids to daycare even when they are off in order to maintain the schedule etc. Nothing more than a simple excuse to undo the ties that bind. Many of them even become immune to the fact that their child is sick all of the time, that snot ushers its way out of their nose year round and that they are on constant medications. The CDC estimates that ¾ of all children who attend daycare will be on six rounds of antibiotics within the first year, compared to 1/8 of the children who stay home. Apparently, the IPOD touches, blackberries and current year SUV’s are worth just about anything.
These new parents often are selfish thinking only of themselves and their needs. They have wants that if scaled down would allow their children to stay home. They desire children so badly, but have no idea what really goes into a full day with their child. They try to teach their child independence, to read on their own forgetting that they will do these things anyways. Your children, from the moment they are born, are on their way away from you. Why is it necessary to push them out before they are able to voice their opinion? Is the big career, the money (more than half of which probably goes to daycare), the house, the clothes or the ability to talk about family like it’s a part time job really worth it? It seems in today’s world that it is.
The sad part is that the children who go to daycare are very different from the ones who get to spend their first year or 18 months at home. They are pushy, competitive, raging with frustration, whiney and eager to accept the arms of anyone who will hold them. They don’t have a foundation of family and home because they spend less time there than they do anywhere else and they are sadly being denied the first years being coddled and cared for like only parents can do. Sure, staying home with kids really sucks sometimes; but at least you know you will be there to see their firsts and to take credit for the human that they are becoming. After all, many parents leave everything from taking away the bottle to potty training up to pure strangers who regardless of their friendly and compassionate façade have far less patient for YOUR child than you would.
Interesting, these new parents so eager to give birth, who will do through fertility and everything else to do so will so eagerly and quickly hand over their children the first chance they get. Do they have to? Chances are if new parents will be willing to rearrange their life a little, put a few things on hold and focus on the fact that this is a time in you and your child’s life that is fleeting at best. The time for learning and socialization is rapidly approaching it seems silly and merely self-fulfilling to push it.
Should you send your child to daycare? The choice is anyone’s to make and no one should be judged. However, there always comes a day when parents look back on their life and wish they had done things differently. You never hear a parent looking back on their life and saying, “Gee, I wish they were away more.” In fact, it’s the exact opposite. So why in the world would anyone be inclined to send away a baby, to hands that don’t love them, to people who wouldn’t give their life to protect them? It seems that the alphabet, arithmetic and having people to invite to a birthday party will find its way to a child no matter what a parent does. What is the point of forcing the issue?