My daughter is turning 18 months in just a few days and so she is starting daycare on December 1. She has been with my mom for the past 6 months, since I went back to work when she was 12 months old. It’s ridiculously hard to get kids into daycare before they are 18 months old where I live, so she is now about to start daycare.
I’m getting so nervous about it. She is so shy and scared of strangers right now that I just don’t know what she’s going to be like when we try to drop her off the first time (and second and third…and so on). She gets so clingy when there are unfamiliar people around. I’m nervous about everything – is she going to be able to eat even though she’s with strangers? Will she nap? Will she be sad and feel abandoned by us? What if she hates it? What if she isn’t treated as perfectly as she deserves? What if she gets hurt? Will someone be there to comfort her? What do they do if she throws a tantrum?
Did I mention I have anxiety?
While all of these things are causing me great anxiety, I have to keep reminding myself of all the reasons I’m excited about her starting daycare:
- She will become socialized. She doesn’t really know what to do with other kids right now because she’s so rarely around them. I can’t wait for her to make little friends!
- She will (hopefully) be less shy as she gets used to being around unfamiliar people. My husband and I are both shy introverts, and neither of us went to daycare. It is our hope that daycare will force her to be more outgoing than we are.
- The daycare workers at the centre she will be going to are all trained in early childhood education. This is good for learning!
- Her grasp of language will expand. It is my hope that she will quickly learn more and more words as she hears other kids talking.
- Exposure to activities and outings. They go on weekly outings to the mall, museum, etc. They also do all sorts of daily activities together.
- Better eating habits. The daycare claims that she will eat better there (she’s very picky lately) because she will see the other kids eating and so then she will eat the food in front of her too. Here’s hoping!
I’m sure there are more pros and I will learn more as we go. It’s difficult to think of the positive when my anxiety just wants to keep her home longer, but look at that list of good things! I hope this will help someone else who is struggling with sending their child to daycare for the first time as well.
Share your story: Do you have a child/children in daycare? Why or why not? What are your pros and cons? How did you get through the first day?