Truth be told, I’m the last person who wanted to put her child in daycare. When my son was born, we had a full-time nanny. When he was 18 months old, we found ourselves needing a new child care arrangement, and my husband suggested daycare so our son would have more socialization and learning activities.
I started researching daycares (on NPN’s forum, of course), and we chose a referral. My son’s first few weeks in daycare were a transition—more for me than him—but he quickly became comfortable in his new classroom. Some days, he didn’t even want to go home.
As months went by, I noticed daycare was having a positive effect on him—and us. Here are seven ways daycare has changed our lives for the better.
[Related: What to look for in a childcare center or daycare]
My son didn’t have a sibling when he started, so daycare has been an opportunity for him to experience socialization and concepts such as sharing and being respectful.
Daycare has given him structure. He’s learning how to stick to a daily routine and follow along with others. And though I find it hard to believe, his teachers say he’s the best napper in his class!
Soon after he started, I was amazed to hear my son mentioning words and concepts I knew I didn’t teach him—I realized just how much he was learning at daycare. Throughout the years, his teachers have also been instrumental in helping us understand how he learns best.
Manners and habits
I was pleasantly surprised one day when my toddler shook my hand and said, “How do you do?” He’s also learned good habits such as clearing the dinner table and looking both ways before crossing the street (which of course has a fun song to go along with it).
A friend once told me the best benefit of daycare was potty training. Boy, was she right. After struggling at home for months, my son’s teachers potty-trained him in a matter of weeks. Being in an environment with peers who were also potty training made the transition much easier for him.
It’s been a joy watching my son develop friendships with his classmates, and I too enjoy the camaraderie with parents. When one of his classmates transfers to a new school, I don’t know who takes it harder, him or me!
And now the best for last: babysitters
I know daycares have different policies but ours allows teachers to babysit, which has been a godsend for us. What can be better than a babysitter you know and trust and your child looks forward to spending time with?
Now that my son is nearing kindergarten, I‘ve been thinking about all his kind and loving teachers, the classmates that cheerfully greet me each morning (Hi, CJ’s mommy!) and the daily routine I’ve grown to look forward to. Knowing this is his last year there makes me a little sad. Daycare was definitely the right decision for us.
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