Daycare is Raising My Kids

0

Well…not daycare. My children don’t go to “daycare.” They go to an early childhood enrichment center. I usually just say child care, or school.

I’ve heard several people make the comment about not sending their children somewhere during the day because they don’t “want someone else raising their kid.” It’s great how some families can really make that work for them, so they don’t have to spend the thousands of dollars or even worse, have someone else “raise their kid.” I really do mean that. In my ideal world, my husband and I can both float our household on part time jobs that allow us to be with our family full time.

Unfortunately, it’s not realistic, but you know what?

I could do a heck of a lot worse.

My daughter is in her third year at her early childhood enrichment center and I have very little to complain about. Frequently, she comes home knowing something that I know I did not teach her, and it’s always great! She has said with pride that she has drawn a circle during her time there. Then she showed it to us, and she had! We haven’t talked about shapes much at home- we’re still working on saying the correct colors consistently or not looping on the ABCs.

She comes home having learned new songs. She talks about playing with her friends. She’s allowed free range with materials we don’t have (like hands-on science activities) or don’t allow at home (markers). She is consistently exercising patience and sharing skills.  

Our son is in an infant classroom. He is fed and cuddled until he falls asleep in an environment that is safe and loving. I come to nurse him at lunch, then I go back to work. I’m updated constantly about how his day is going. I feel good about him being there.

More importantly, the teachers are kind. They know our family very well. They know our values and expectations for our children. They are helping them to grow into the person we want to raise them to be. 

Helping them grow, not raising them

My children may spend a lot of time away from home, but I don’t believe for a second that at this developmental stage in their life that their teachers have a larger influence on them than I do. Do you think that about older children?

Having taught young children, I’m also glad that my kids aren’t stuck with me at home all day, absorbing my bad habits. On their first day of kindergarten, they will know how to use scissors, talk and play kindly and their teacher will see that they did not sit in front of the TV all day for the first 5 years of their lives.

We don’t act this way about older children in school. Having taught older children I can certainly attest to the values that are coming to school from home, good and bad. 

Our system, going to work full time while our children are in full time care, is what works best for us. We feel good about leaving them with their teachers and coming back to them in the afternoon. It allows each of us what we need- steady paychecks to support our family and our children enjoying a fulfilling day, every day.

Until the afternoons, holidays or weekends, when we pick them up and continue to raise them.