Should I Send my Child or Baby to Daycare?
Should ? Could I?
A baby is one part of life you'll find comes with a lot of decisions. From where baby should be born to when they should eat, all the way up till when and where they should start school, decisions must be made.
Choosing to send your child to daycare and return to work is another big decision. For some mothers it's a painful experiment in hopes of helping an only child get some more social interaction. Other mothers rush back to work for a few days a week just so they can have some sanity in an otherwise nappy and bottle filled life.
Whatever your reason for returning to work or sending your baby to daycare, you need to remember that it's yours alone and only you know the circumstances. If you want your child to stay home - that's great. But if you want to return to work, that's great too!
Of course, each baby and situation is different - so in the end - it's your decison.
Habits & Routines
You need to think firstly, about whether your baby has any special needs. If your baby was preterm or had any problems after birth, you may need to take these into consideration when choosing when and where to leave them.
Another important issue is feeding - if you breastfeed you'll need to be prepared to express and have a carer willing and able to correctly feed expressed milk to your baby.
You'll also need to consider the differences between your home and a carer's. If your baby is used to being picked up, going to sleep a certain way or being picked up the second they make a whimper, they may have a hard time adjusting.
What Age Is Best
Like most things with babies - it can vary widely depending on the child's development, home surroundings and their personality in general.
Most carers and daycare centres will take a child from 6 week onwards but most people agree that this is too early. Babies often become clingy around the age of 6-8 months so, if you wish to avoid a scene, it might be wise to get them used to being away from their parents before 6 months.
Most babies can take a little while to adjust to daycare. Of course this can vary depending on how many days and hours they spend there. Don't be surprised if it takes your child 6 weeks or more to get fully comfortable with their surroundings and develop a routine at daycare.
Why keeping your child home too long can be bad for them
Studies have shown that a baby is often better adjusted when their parent works part time. The reason for this is that being away from your child full time can lead to feelings of loss and rejection - baby still needs its mum.
However, keeping your child home for too long can lead to big problems if you need to go somewhere or leave them somewhere new. The first few years are the most crucial, when children are learning about their surroundings - and they can't do this to the full extent if they are always with one person, in one place.
What to look for in a carer
- Someone friendly who doesn't scare your child (or you!) more than most strangers.
- Someone who realizes children are different - and doesn't ignore most of what you tell them about your child because they think they are experienced.
- Someone willing to fit in with you and your child's routine.
- Check the cost - this can vary widely. Some places will charge you per hour while others will charge you per day (since they cannot book in another child in that block of time.)
- Make sure that they have strict policies on things such as how many children with one carer, who can pick your child up and cleanliness.
Checklist before returning to work
- Make sure you have all the items your child will need for daycare - most centres will give you a list. Make sure all items have your child's name on them.
- Spend some time with your child at daycare. Most carers and centres will allow this - if they don't it might be a better idea to try somewhere else.
- Send baby to daycare on days when you are able to pick them up if you need to - this way you can both get used to the idea.
Types of care
- Daycare centres - a special centre with separate areas for different age groups.
- Home care - a carer looks after several children in their own home.
- In home care - someone who comes to your home.
- Friends & Family - a great choice if you have plenty of extended family.
When did you/do you plan to return to work?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.