Daycare vs Homecare

4 Mar

one of the biggest hinderances to my decision in returning back to work was child care.  who will take care of my child, while i’m at work?  i’m very lucky and thankful that i had an option to have my parents take full-time care of our little girl, which made my decision much easier.

it was an answer to my prayer.  being able to have a job, my daughter being taken care by someone who loves her as much as i do and also to help my parents financially, which i’ve been wanting to do for quite a long time.  if all of these points didn’t work out, i would have been a stay-at-home mom, whether i liked it or not.

although my child care option was going to be grandma’s home care, my husband and i still contemplated daycare/montessori/nursery school options.  one of my husband’s close friends referred a great nursery school that his mother-in-law works at and also sends his son to.  we were pleased that it was a nursery school where they have programs to teach kids different development skills, and not just a daycare,.  we visited this place and we liked it.

we considered this nursery school because we wanted our daughter to develop social, language and other skills.  however, since our girl doesn’t do so well in a new environment and with new people, we didn’t really want to make her go there.  they did have part-time options, so we considered it, but the school highly recommended a full-time option because with the part-time option, we would not see much improvement.

my husband and i gathered all the information and started to research and brainstorm to see which option was best for our daughter.

i read some of the studies done by different early educationists on the effects of daycare (centres) on child development. different research found one consistent result.  they found that the children who attended daycare were much more advanced in language, reading, writing and mathematical skills than children who stayed home with a family member or nanny.  however, they also discovered that the earlier a child goes to daycare and the longer hours they stayed in the daycare, the more social/behavioural problems they found later when the kids went to school.  they did find that the academic advancement and behaviour problems averaged out by grade six and there weren’t many differences between these children.  (sources: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/01/national/01child.html?pagewanted=all, http://www.familyfacts.org/briefs/43/the-effects-of-day-care-on-the-social-emotional-development-of-children, etc)

i believe that every parent/family has different parenting goals and values.  no one can judge or tell a parent how to raise their kids.  for us, even before our daughter was born, we agreed that we would put a higher value in character, morals and happiness over intelligence or academics.  in another words, we want to discipline our child to become a good-hearted, honest, responsible and happy person, rather than disciplining her to become a lawyer or doctor or scholar.  if becoming a scholar makes her happy, we will support her in that, but our hope is not to influence her to focus only on academics.

so with these sorts of goals and values we hold, we decided to have my parents take care of our girl full-time.  as much as we want our daughter to grow (well) in her development (which nursery school would definitely help with), we thought she needed love and care, more than anything else.

now that it’s been 3 weeks, are we happy with our decision?

there is always good and bad.  i don’t think there is a perfect situation.

the good; she is loved and cared for… probably more than what she needs. 🙂  she’s been sick for a couple of days and i was very relieved that she was in good hands.  i knew my mom would take care of her well and i didn’t need to take days off work.  there are countless good things… i can’t write them all!

the bad; she’s gotten very spoiled and has become much more whiny.  my mom picks her up as soon as she cries and makes sure that she gets her wish.  by friday night, my daughter doesn’t feel like my own daughter anymore, because she’s become so spoiled and undisciplined.  i try to be firm and discipline her during the weekend and by sunday, she’s gotten much better and i feel like she’s back to her old self.  however, next friday rolls around and it’s back to square one.  the inconsistency worries me since consistency is the key to discipline.  however, i think my daughter has learned some consistency in that she knows that she can get her way with the grandparents, but not with mom and dad.

before i returned to work, we took our daughter to the nursery school for a couple of hours for a tour and during this time, the principal/owner lady taught/conditioned my daughter on how to sign for ‘more’, as in i want ‘more’ food.  it took 2 tries and my girl learned ‘more’ right away and she continues to use it everyday.  even now, she doesn’t have much vocabulary that she can speak, but one of the words she knows is ‘more’ (sounds more like ‘mow’).

seeing such rapid learning, i wondered if my decision to have her at home was the best option for my daughter.  perhaps, she will reach her full potential if she was put into a nursery school… i don’t know.

for now, i’m happy with our decision and i’m thankful that i can have peace of mind while i’m at work.  i never really worried about my daughter’s development, maybe more so because she was fast at everything, but in any case, i hardly push her.  i want her to take her time to grow and develop.  i was a late bloomer.  i didn’t know how to add until i was in grade 3 or 4 and i turned out fine.  i ended up excelling in math and in science, so i know that my daughter will be just fine too.

and i really don’t think in the future, she will challenge my decision to not put her into nursery school… so, it’s all good.

maybe when she turns two and shows interest, we might consider putting her into a nursery school for a half day… but… i really don’t mind having her at home until she goes to JK.

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