I’ve written quite a bit about our experience with daycare. How we decided to make the move to daycare from a private nanny, how we chose our daycare, even the benefits of daycare. We are lucky that we’ve found a place that we trust to take care of our son as well as we do at home.
There are side effects of daycare that are expected – language explosions, your kid being sick all the time, that moment when your kid calls out for his teacher instead of you. We’ve seen all of those and handled them in stride, along with the increase in birthday party invitations and testing my ability to remember fresh napping materials every Monday.
On the other hand, there are side effects of daycare that we didn’t plan on:
She’s not good at playing by herself. 1 of 8
Get ready for "Mommy, play with me!" Harry spends 8 hours a day playing with his best friends and being entertained by adults that are paid to play. So when I have to clean the house and do laundry on the weekends, he doesn't understand why I can't drop everything to play cars for hours on end. This one is probably the hardest for me because as the youngest child to a stay-at-home-mom, I was a champion at playing by myself.
He doesn’t want to sleep alone. 2 of 8
Every day he naps within arms reach of his best friends. If he has trouble snoozing, a teacher he loves rubs his back. So it's no surprise now that he hates sleeping alone in his room, especially for naps. He's simply used to sleeping with others.
You’re going to form a strange attachment to her teachers. 3 of 8
Over the past year, I've oddly started thinking of Harry's teachers as borderline friends. When his teacher got married, I immediately ran to look at her registries and pick a gift. I knew I trusted his teachers but I was surprised at the emotional attachment I felt to them, their happiness and success and truly looking forward to seeing them every morning.
Potty training is 5,000 times easier. 4 of 8
I dreaded potty training. DREADED. So when daycare sent home a memo that it was time to start bringing undies to school, I felt intimidated. But then his teacher told me that she had trained over 100 kids and she'd tell me exactly what to do. And sure enough, pee potty training was a breeze. I had someone in my corner with loads of experience and I deferred to her for guidance.
He’s going to say the strangest things. 5 of 8
He and his friends LOVE making up words like "oody doody" and "pooty totty." I have no idea what they mean. And then yesterday, he told my husband that he peed in a cup. Nope, he's never peed in a cup. And yes, sometimes he says these things in public and I've just learned to stop being embarrassed. The other verbal side effect? Bad words. Yep, we're already combating "stupid" and "butt" and "hate" thanks to the influence of his classmates.
You’re going to bathe him every night. 6 of 8
Most of my stay-at-home-mom friends don't bathe their children every night and growing up, I remember showering every other day. But when it comes to my son being in daycare all day, surrounded by germs and paint and other kids, I can't NOT bathe him every night. He just feels...germy. And maybe that's because I know that a cold is always lurking around the corner.
You get sick, too. 7 of 8
It's no surprise that daycare kids get sick. Our son has this constant mild sniffle and "the daycare cough," which is a moderately productive cough that lasts October through April. Vitamins and Vicks rub are just a way of life around our house but what we didn't fully expect was how sick we would get. It seems like every germ he brings into the house latches onto his parents. I've spent the better part of six weeks fighting off some form of cough/cold/fever and I know that's just the beginning of winter 2013.
She’s not tired. 8 of 8
By the time I was four years old, I had completely dropped my nap. I had an hour of "quiet time" that included 30 minutes of my favorite show and then 30 minutes playing quietly in my room. Since I didn't nap, my bedtime was 7:30 at the latest. As a daycare kid, my son is still taking a solid 2 hour nap every day and waking up at 3pm. Which means that at 7:30pm, he's simply not tired. Daycare kids tend to have later bedtimes and while it's nice to spend time with our kids (since we're away from them for 8 hours a day), we daycare parents are also really tired by 8pm after a long day at work...and still facing down another hour of parenting.
More from BA: