We make countless decisions as a parent and I think some of the most important decisions we make revolve around childcare:
- Does one parent stay home while your children are young?
- Do you have grandparents or other family members willing/able to provide childcare?
- Do you get an in-home nanny or go to a facility?
- How will I pay for this?!
These are all valid questions with absolutely no correct answer.
Every family must decide what is best for them and their unique situation. What works for one family may not (and honestly, probably won’t) work for another. But everyone should do what best meets the needs and resources available in your specific circumstances.
With that said, my husband and I recently decided to enroll my 2.5 year-old son in daycare.
It wasn’t an easy decision to transition him from his current care situation with grandma twice a week to a daycare facility, but read on for the four reasons we decided it was time for the transition.
Our usual childcare is typically some combination of my mom or an in-home babysitter 2-3 days per week for my part-time job as an accountant at a local church.
However, this summer my parents decided they’d be traveling for very long periods, and all of our amazing sitters are in college and gradually getting internships, other jobs, or are studying abroad. #howdarethey
So, rather than try to be flexible between several people’s unpredictable schedules, we decided that a consistent, reliable two days per week at a daycare facility would be best for our family in this season.
Preparing our son for a sibling
I’m currently pregnant and due in mid-November. My son has only ever had one-on-one care with someone who believed he hung the moon and the stars.
I could never express my gratitude for my parents and our sitters who have loved him and cared for him like he was their own these past two years.
However, with a new baby on the way, his little world is about to be rocked. I feel he needs to learn that his needs will not always be the most urgent at that moment. Perhaps in a room with 10-12 other children, he will learn that he is not always the center of attention and how to share a caregiver with others.
My son’s birthday is in the fall, so he will not start Kindergarten until he is five-years-old, almost six. I do plan to put him in preschool when he is three-years-old. But if I put him in an official preschool program this year, he would get three full years before kindergarten, and that seems excessive to me.
My thought is that a daycare facility would be a nice introduction to a classroom setting until we’re ready to dive into actual preschool next year.
COVID kids need some friends
During a year when their little brains are literally (like, scientifically/physiologically) developing all their perceptions of what the world is and how it works, they have been living in the most abnormal, unpredictable, and confusing time in history.
I hate to think that my son’s only life experience is that the world is naturally this isolated and separate.
Now that some restrictions are being lifted here in Arizona, I want to get him back out there so he can start to learn how to be part of his community and the greater world. I love that he will get to be around new children, teachers, and environments again.
I don’t think any of these reasons in and of themselves would have prompted us to seek out a change to our daycare situation. But the stars have all aligned such that this is what makes the most sense for us at this time.
Again, childcare is an extremely individualized decision that every family must make with whatever criteria most promotes their own values and goals.