In this week's Diapers and Deadlines column, editors Russ and Jason are going to give their thoughts on daycare versus children staying at home with their parents. What's your take?
Disclaimer: Russ Crespolini employs daycare three days a week.
I certainly understand the temptation involved in sending your child to daycare. It allows both parents to work full time, and in the great garden state a two family income is almost a necessity, and it supposedly allows for better socialization.
But what it all comes down to is the threshold of comfort for the parents. When I was growing up, my parents both worked. But my mother worked nights and then was with my sister and I during the day. It was important to her that we have a parent with us during our formative years.
Truthfully, how long are your kids this young for? Bonding at this crucial stage can't happen if there is a caravan of caregivers parading in and out of a child's life. So parents, it may be time to adjust your priorities. If it means downsizing your life to afford it.
Not to mention, no one is going to care for your child like you.
Unless you like paying someone to lump your kid in with a dozen just like them where they can pick up every manner of disease and plague to spread to everyone at home.
Or getting the phone call that some little mongrel bit or scratched your child and you have to pick them up and take them to the pediatrician.
At the end of the day, I think it is about putting your child before you. No child ever looks back on their life and says they wish their parents were less around. Less involved. At this point, the top priority should be your children.
Disclaimer: Jason Koestenblatt’s sons are home with their mother during the day.
We’re truly blessed to be in a position where both our sons are able to be at home with their mother throughout the days.
But what are we missing?
For starters, I never really hear anyone say, “Hey, that second income is just getting in the way.” So there’s that. And in this day and age, those extra checks make a world of difference.
Social interaction is at a premium when your kids aren’t in daycare. Finding play dates on weekdays is akin to throwing a ball against the wall, and hoping someone shows up at some point to actually catch it. There are plenty of days when the wall just won’t throw back.
And that’s an important factor at this early age. We don’t want our kids going into pre-school and getting shocked by the extrovert peers who are used to always having company. But sometimes, because of scheduling and daycare and so on, the stay-at-home kids are only getting Sunday school and some love from their grandparents over the course of a week.
And then there’s this final idea.
We love our kids. All parents love their kids. And I’m a full believer that absence makes the heart grow fonder.
We’ve gone out for dinner and had the kids put to sleep before we returned home, thus not seeing them until morning. We’ve employed babysitters so we can get some Christmas shopping done uninterrupted.
And each time we’re out, we talk about the kids. The cute things they do that we’re missing, if even only for that short period of time.
So, what if we didn’t see them for 15 or 20 hours a week because they were in daycare? Could that make our love for them grow stronger? Or would we spend our time with them more wisely?
I don’t know the answer to that right now. But what I do know is no matter what your situation, it’s about what’s best for your kids and your family as a whole. You only get this opportunity once.
Proving there is no such thing as an original idea anymore, editor Linda Sadlouskos over at Basking Ridge Patch has a Mom's Talk feature that runs on Wednesdays. We are going to try to link back to their maternally based parenting column and (when possible) play off each other's themes. The link above is to a Mom's talk discussion choosing a daycare. We hope you will read and interact with both.