I’m hesitant to write this, because I’m aware that several of my regular readers are parents from the daycare I used to work out.
Let me say this:
I loved the daycare I worked at. It was a good environment, the director and assistant director were wonderful people, and I genuinely enjoyed my job.
There are plenty of good things to be said for daycare, and I don’t want to negate those at all.
What I do want to do is educate parents about the reality of putting children in daycare. I know from experience that a lot of parents have misconceptions in this area. A little more knowledge will help you make a better choice for your family.
Here is personally why I won’t my put kids in daycare.
You give up parental authority.
This is the biggest deal for me, so I’ll start with it first.
My post “Who’s in Charge?” talks about how important it is to maintain parental authority. When you put your children in childcare, you relinquish that authority over to another person.
Obviously if you plan to send your children to school later, this issue will be revisited. But daycare is different than school.
For one, the hours tend to be longer. There are a few children out there who are lucky enough to have parents who only work part time. But most children attend daycare because their parents work full time and don’t have time to care for them during the day.
Secondly, it’s important to get a solid foundation for children to feel secure. Once they have that, they can go out and learn more about the rest of the world, confident that their parents will be there waiting when they get home. Young children don’t have the same understanding of permanence that older children have.
Here is the harsh reality of having your child in daycare for most of the day.
You don’t get to choose:
- What your child is learning.
- How they are being disciplined.
- Whether or not they’re being potty trained.
- Who they interact with.
- What they eat.
- Whether their diaper gets changed on time.
- If they nap.
- When they nap.
- If they play outside.
- What activities they do.
Your choices in their life are basically limited to weekends and evenings. That’s tough to think about.
Personally, I want to have a little more influence over my child’s life during those formative years. I want to know that she is being taught good morals and correct reasoning. I want to make sure she is getting plenty of exercise and outside playtime. I want to be there to encourage healthy habits.
Which leads me to my next point.
Children don’t eat as healthy.
Our society has become so concerned with rules and regulations that we limit the amount of healthy food available to children in daycare centers.
Your center will probably tell you that they serve “balanced” meals, which is technically true. They make an effort to serve a good balance of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and carbs.
Unfortunately, most of that is in the form of pre-processed food. Frozen chicken nuggets, white bread, and jello with canned pineapple in it might be considered a nutritional meal according to daycare standards.
I don’t know about you, but that’s not what I want my child eating.
I want fresh fruits and vegetables, a low sugar diet, and lots of variety for my kids. That’s not what they’re going to get in daycare here in the United States (although I read recently that in Spain, it’s a different story!).
Outside time is limited.
Daycares are required to allow children outside time every day.
Except on days when it’s cold.
Or there might possibly be some small chance that the weather might turn bad.
You get my drift? There are a lot of days that the kids don’t actually get to go outside, or their outside time is cut short.
Even on days when the weather was perfect, we were limited by the amount of classes that could play on the playground at one time. The kids only got 30-45 minutes of outside time in the morning and afternoon.
Now, if you aren’t an outdoorsy sort of parent, and you are content to let your kids sit inside most of the day watching TV or something, this may not affect you as much.
I am an outdoor girl, and I believe in letting children play outside a LOT.
Getting a good teacher is lucky dip.
It makes me sad to say this, but I know from my years as a daycare teacher that it’s true.
Daycares are usually understaffed and really desperate to fill those gaps. Some of the people they accept are not really qualified to look after anyone’s kids.
There are some really wonderful daycare teachers out there who commit their time and heart, pouring into the lives of their little students. They maintain classroom consistency, good attitude, and an environment of love and learning. I cannot say enough good things about these people.
Unfortunately, this is only a handful of the staff at your average daycare. Many people choose to take the job because they think it will be an easy way to earn some money. They spend more time on their phones, or gossiping with the other teachers, than they do watching your kids. They like to take the easy route rather than maintaining discipline and consistency. They get overwhelmed easily.
I’m not willing to take that chance on my child’s education.
Childcare is expensive.
Can you think of some things you could do instead of spending money on daycare?
How about a family vacation to Europe?
How about a downpayment on a house?
How about starting a small business?
How about going on a missions trip?
How about giving to people who really need that money?
I just can’t imagine paying all of that money for someone else to take care of the child I gave birth to.
Early childcare actually inhibits social skills
(Source: Who Should Care for Our Children?)
You would think that putting children in a social setting earlier on would help them develop their social skills, but studies find that the opposite is actually true.
Children rely so much on parental guidance at a young age. Simply putting them into a social setting without equipping them with the necessary social skills ends up doing more harm than good.
Your children need to be instructed, guided, and disciplined by their parents. You mold their character because you hold more influence than any teacher, peer, or babysitter.
Maybe it’s prideful of me, but I have a definite idea of what I want my children to learn and how I want them to behave. I don’t want to compromise their chances of becoming godly young people with strong faith and noble character.
You miss out on your children’s lives.
If you’ve considered daycare for your child, I’m sure this is something you’ve already thought through at some point.
For me, it was heartbreaking to do the math.
If you work a normal 9-5 job, here is the breakdown:
- Say your kids wake up at 7. You spend your morning with them getting dressed, eating breakfast, and rushing out the door. You might get an hour of playtime in depending on how far away you are from the daycare center.
- They spend all day away from you.
- At 5:15, you come to pick them up.
- You arrive home 5:30 and begin making supper.
- You have supper together as a family.
- It’s your child’s bedtime.
As a daycare teacher, I was spending more time with many of the kids in my care than their own parents got with them.
I wouldn’t be able to do this as a parent. I am determined to spend as much time as I can with my own children. I don’t want someone else telling me about their first steps, or their first time down the slide. I want to be there.