When did childhood become so controversial? Check out my latest post, "Hello, Connectivity; Goodbye, Childhood" on the Tampa Bay Moms Blog!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Daycare Do-Over

Daycare, apparently, doesn't always spell heartache for parents. Who knew? Having recently switched my 1 year old daughter from a chain daycare center to a church preschool, I've learned two important lessons: 1) I'm not the pain in the butt mom I was beginning to think I was; and 2) preschool really can be wonderful - if you find the right one.

At daycare #1, Bailey was passed from one teacher to the next throughout the day. By the time I arrived to pick her up, the current teacher had only been with her for an hour, making details of her day more elusive than disappearing spit-up.

Still playful at the end of the day!

The first several weeks were a battle for information and reassurance. While teachers kept a daily report of meals, bottles, and diaper changes, incomplete forms and missing information constantly left me wondering. My only indication that she was being well cared for was Bailey's attachment to her main teacher and the fact that she was always happy to be there.

Since this was my first and only experience with any daycare center, I began to wonder whether my expectations were unusually high and whether I was, in fact, a pain in the butt mom. (Keep in mind, I really didn't care whether this was the case. In my opinion, every parent has the inherent right to be demanding, unreasonable, and generally terrifying when it comes to the safety and well-being of their child. Period.)

Fast forward a few weeks and we find Bailey thriving at her new preschool. She even reached for her teacher (singular, as in one teacher all day everyday) on the second day. Her teacher tells me all about her day before I even ask - providing information about meals, play time, naps, her general attitude, etc.

Baseball shirt day at preschool!

The only question I find myself wondering is: who loves her preschool more, Bailey or me? Aside from the exceptional care and ridiculously nice playground (even I want to climb the massive tree and serve breakfast in their playhouses), she's surrounded by an amazing staff who all genuinely love her. Monthly calendars with cowboy hat day, pizza luncheons, and Friday water day show me how much effort they apply in ensuring the kids are having fun. As a Christian mom, I also love that my daughter is learning Bible stories, spending time in chapel, and learning the Pledge of Allegiance.

A partial view of the playground.

After the guilt, pain, and heartache of leaving my first-born with strangers, this church preschool is, well, a Godsend. Not only am I confident my child is in loving and capable hands, but seeing how much fun she has and all the new things she's learning really helps to alleviate the working mom guilt so many of us experience.

For moms out there who are struggling with dreaded daycare centers, take heed. Finding the perfect fit for your family can mean a world of difference for your child's growth and your peace of mind. Just keep looking until you find your diaper changing oasis; it's out there.

No comments:

Post a Comment