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Guilt about Child Being in Daycare
I would love to hear from parents who have older children (Age 5 and up through young adult) who put their children in full time daycare when their children were infants and/or toddlers. I have been on medical leave from work for the better part of a year and am going back full-time in August. I will be putting my one-year old and two-year old in full-time (7 1/2 hours a day) home based daycare. They have both gone on and off part- time for the past 4 months and the older one went full-time from age 4 months through 1 year. The home daycare I have is very warm and nurturing and came highly recommended. I'm just curious if any parents who've had babies in full-time daycare noticed anything about their children's development, personalities, relationship with parents that may have been a negative result of daycare. I realize that young children (age 0-2) are better off with mom or dad at home for bonding purposes. Of course that makes sense, but how bad is it when you put them in daycare full-time? I can't afford a nanny and am not sure I'd prefer that option anyway. I've considered the pros and cons of working versus not working and staying home with my babies. But I can't account for how damaging the missing bonding time might be for them and me. I realize every child is different and every family has different circumstances that weigh in. I'm just looking for some insight. Thanks for any help, advice! concerned and guilty feeling mom
I remember those feelings of guilt, but daycare has been a wonderful experience for us. We have moved *twice* since he was a baby, so he has been in a total of 3 different places and he has always made new friends easily. Yes, it is hard to leave them at first, but soon enough they can't wait to get there and they don't want to leave when you pick them up. He is perfectly well attached to me and my husband. He is comfortable expressing himself and asking for what he needs.
In other words, your guilt will go away very quickly when you see how happy they are. I love my job and I don't worry about my son at all during the day. He is happy and so are we. Choosing work doesn't make you a bad parent.
In this study, we defined three distinct groups based on the infant's principal childcare experience: infants reared exclusively at home by their mothers, infants reared in their own homes but by a non-familial childcare provider, and infants reared in non-familial homes in group care. At 4.5 years of age, we compared mothers' and teachers' independent views of the communication, daily living, socialization and motor adaptive behaviors of girls and boys with these different infant childcare histories, after taking multiple family selection factors into consideration. Boys who had other-home-group-care in infancy expressed lower levels of overall adaptive functioning, as well as communication, daily living and socialization skills, than girls [note that the finding is lower than GIRLS, not lower than boys at home with mom]. Girls with other-home-group-care in infancy had better adaptive daily living and socialization skills than girls who had maternal care. Different infant childcare experiences appear to predict different adaptive behaviors in boys and girls.
So, according to this study anyway, there's reason to think the commonly held idea that ''at-home-with-mom is always best'' may not necessarily be true. -Appreciator of scientific studies
In our modern culture, where we are often so isolated from extended family and community networks, daycare providers are part of the ''village'' that it proverbially takes to raise a child. Babies do need to form a secure attachment to a loving parent -- but they can only benefit from also having contact with other consistent, loving caregivers.
I'm pretty sure my own son's experience with a shared nanny bears this out...but of course, there's no way to compare directly what his personality or our relationship would be like if his daycare situation had been different than what it was. You won't find anyone who can directly compare the development of a child at home vs. a child in daycare, because all parents must choose one or the other for each child, and the effects on any given child will differ depending on that child's temperament as well as the type and quality of the daycare. Social scientists have demonstrated that there's a tendency for ''daycare kids'' to be a little more social, a little more verbal, and a little more aggressive by their early school years -- all of which basically makes sense -- and have some medical risks that at-home kids don't (e.g., they're less likely to be breastfed), and these effects are more noticeable for kids who are in full time daycare starting very early in life than for kids in part time daycare starting later on. But daycare does NOT, in and of itself, affect how well the children are bonded with their parents. Working Mom
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