First I must make a confession… I’ve only stepped foot in a day care once. My family has been lucky enough to have a sitter. When I went back to work after having my son, Kaden, we worked out a schedule where I would work three ten hour days. So Mondays and Wednesdays he would go to a lady in our church and stay home with me Tuesday and Friday and with my husband on Thursdays. My husband is a minister so he can be pretty flexible. However, when I went back to work full-time, this setup would not work anymore. Now I work from six am to two pm. My husband takes Kaden to the sitter’s house at eight, picks him up at noon, and then he goes back to work when I get home around three.
There are many positives to our setup. One – Kaden is learning. My sitter is amazing. While she can have up to five kids one day, she still manages to teach them their alphabet, numbers, colors, even their presidents (yes, my two year old can say the first ten presidents…just won’t do it for me!) It’s like sending Kaden to preschool already; he’s growing intellectually and socially. Another great thing is our sitter is super flexible. When my husband’s out of town, I take Kaden out at six and pick him up at four, or when my husband substitute teaches, she takes Kaden from seven to three, and she can easily do that. Third reason is price. Daycare in my area would run us at the least $90 a week, even for part-time. We pay $250 a month (steal!)There are positives to day care too; structure, social, education, and of course someone to watch your baby!
So what are some tips to keep in mind about daycare? One would be to check around, ask your friends with kids where they go, what they’ve heard, etc. Another tip is visit daycares, and more than one to get an idea of how things are set up, how they are run, and to get an overall feeling. You might really like one place but the next place could be even better! Consider alternatives- if you just feel icky about daycare or there isn’t one in your area, check around for sitters or even consider switching your hours and trading sitting with a friend (you watch her kids while she works; she watches yours while you work so neither of you should have to pay anything!). Some personal tips, always send an extra outfit (yes, my two year old comes home in it sometimes, he’s a messy kid!); set out everything to go the night before, from bottles to the diaper bag packed, so you are not rushing and forget something important; and talk to the workers, what is your kid doing? Is he struggling with anything? Is there anything she’s accomplished lately?
And last…do not feel bad for leaving your child at a daycare! For whatever reason you’ve chosen to work, you have to do what you have to do. Chances are your child is entertained and loving it at daycare and they will not forget you and will be happy to see you when you pick them up!
Kristine lives outside Cincinnati with her husband, son, and two cats. When she’s not working or enjoying her family, she’s venturing into decorating. Follow her adventures at Praying For A Clean House.