Lindsay Gill: What I wish I knew about daycare

Monday, March 17, 2014

What I wish I knew about daycare

What do I wish I knew about daycare?

If you're new here, you can catch up on Luke's first day of daycare, and his transition to the older class here.  As I finish yet another day that started with goodbye tears, I write this post to myself back in August 2013 to prepare myself for Luke's time at day care...

1.  Luke will get so many colds!  Like a new one every day.  For a while, we went to the Pediatrician every Thursday.  This depends on the size of the daycare, and the ages of the kids with your little one.  Luke goes to a "large center" with all kids his age.  Luckily, they are starting to slow down the "mouthing."  Supposedly this is building his immune system and making him less likely to catch everything down the road.  That doesn't make it any easier to deal with stuffy noses and coughs during the night.

2.  Luke will learn new behaviors.  Sometimes he comes home with a new cry that I've never heard before.  They really do learn from each other!  Both good and bad.

3.  Luke will have tough goodbyes...still.  I thought maybe this would get easier but it hasn't.  This started at 10 months of age to the day.  Apparently this is normal but our goodbye looks sadder than the other kids.  The teachers promise that as soon as I'm out of sight, he calms down and has a great day.

4.  Don't try to save money.  By this, I mean that I tried to buy just enough diapers, wipes, formula etc as needed, which caused much more anxiety for me than just buying more than enough and duplicates of everything.  I was late to work when I forgot his extra bottle or he lost his pacifier in our travels.  I wish I had just splurged and had more than enough of everything.

5.  It's a learning time for you, too.  I tell myself, anyway, that every time I can drop him off, I'm preparing myself for his first day of preschool, first day of Kindergarten...first day of college.

6.  There are so many different daycare types.  There are homes, centers, and big centers!  You really have to look around to figure out what works best for you.  Some of them are booked months in advance so save yourself stress and try to plan as ahead of time as you can.

7.  You will get many reactions.  I have to listen to a few patients a day sharing their negative opinion on our choice to send Luke to day care.  I don't take it personally, I think they mostly want to make conversation.  When family voices their opinion, you have to be strong in your decisions.  This won't be the first or last thing you disagree on.

8.  You might not get to see Luke very much on daycare days.  He goes to sleep so early that if I have an early morning drop off, and then get out of late work, I will be lucky to get to rock Luke to sleep for a few minutes.  Sometimes, especially when he was younger, I felt like we had to re-acclimate on our Thursday together because we had been apart for so long.  This is a sad feeling but helps us appreciate our time together more.

9.  You will think about him all day.  We get photo updates throughout the day which really helps, and they welcome worried phone calls, too.  But you can't help but worry about his health, safety, and happiness when he is away from you.

10.  He's learning so much, so quickly.  Luke gets to do art projects.  He gets to go outside.  He meets children of different ethnicity and backgrounds, and is exposed to different teachers and foods.  He is learning to be independent and I can't even put into words how proud of him I am.

Originally I had been trying to get him busy with something and then sneak out when I drop him but a friend said that causes them anxiety.  I was heartbroken and now make sure he sees me leaving which doesn't seem any better.  I hate to think I'm causing him anxiety.  What are your thoughts on this?


  1. I worked at a day care for years and I am also a nanny. You may not want to hear this but the longer you drag out drop off the worse it is for the child. It is also harder on the teacher too because it takes longer to get them calmed down. We had a rule if in 5 mins they weren't calmed down we took them out of the room for a walk. Then reintroduced them and tried to get them engaged in an activity. If by 15 mins they were still really upset we would call mom or dad to see if they wanted us to keep trying or if they wanted to come get them. We ha one child in my 2 year old preschool class that only came a week and everyday mom had to pick her up because we couldn't get her calmed down. Trust your sons teachers, I am sure if they couldn't get him calmed down or that he wasn't fine after you left that they would call. I know it's hard to leave them when they are so upset, but the teachers are trained and have compassion they know what to do. It does get easier too. One day soon you will drop him off and he'll be fine. Remember this too, children can sense or anxiety and emotions. So if he is sensing that you are going to be upset when you drop him off this may make him upset too. Hope that helps

    1. Oh and I forgot to metion the transition to the new classroom might be hard for him too, so just be patient it will get easier

    2. Thanks Renee! I appreciate your perspective! Today I was able to hear him calm down right away from the hallway. They do tell me that he calms down right away and that he's a happy boy all day! So I have to trust that they would tell me if he wasn't happy. The transition actually went really well because he's doing more activities and with kids his age rather than being the oldest in the baby room. Of course he only goes two days so they say that's harder on the kids because they forget the routine. Thanks for your input and for reading!