Any former day care workers think it's GOOD for kids? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 07:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have read a few posts saying something like, "I used to work in day care and I know I never want my kids in day care."

I used to work in day care too. I also do not want my kids to go to day care. I just read a thread about a SAHM who is wondering if her child would be better off in day care full time and I thought, "She has obviously never worked in a day care and doesn't really know what goes on there." But maybe I am wrong. Is there there anyone who really knows what happens in day care, and things it is great for kids?

If you currently own/run a day care, I think you have pressure to say, "Yes my day care is great!" So that is why I am looking for former day care workers. I am not looking for a debate. I am just curious.
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#2 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 10:13 AM
 
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I used to work in daycare and I do think it's beneficial for some kids. We had a few kids with behavioral issues that benefited alot from being in the center I was at. But in general, for the average kid I don't think there is a benefit to daycare, although I don't necessarily think it's harmful either.

I do know that I personally have not, nor plan to put my kids into a day care center. When I return to school I plan on utilizing family and friends for childcare if needed.
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#3 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 10:24 AM
 
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I worked in one of "the best" day care centers (NAEYC certified, yadda yadda) in a very progressive town and was HORRIFIED by what I saw there. I quit cold-turkey after one month because it was literally killing my soul. This was before I even had kids. God only knows how I'd feel now.

BUT...

I currently work PT as a babysitter (I take care of 3 school-aged kids, 3 afternoons a week in their home) and I think this set up (in-home, low ratio) is ideal. I firmly believe that this family has come up with a way for mom and dad to continue to work in careers they love and excel in, be *VERY* present in their childrens' lives, and provide them with a caregiver (me, LOL!) with whom they can develop a close relationship. Before they hired me, this family had used the same babysitter for the past 10 years and was almost like a family member (she took care of the kids from babyhood until recently). As the kids grew up they transitioned from FT in-home care with her to care after school with her. And now I provide the after-school care. IMO this type of child care scenario (with a very low child to caregiver ratio) can be very, very good for everyone involved, and I don't think that a SAHM scenario would be better for this family. But then again, I don't believe that the SAHM scenario is ideal for *every* family, either.
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#4 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 10:29 AM
 
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Well, my mom owned a daycare when I was growing up and then I worked in one when my oldest was a baby.
I think it CAN be good for some kids. It is possible.

Sadly, it isn't, 95% of the time.

That said, my dd LOVED preschool when she was 3 and that was in a daycare/church facility. She was there all day as I worked full time.
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#5 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 10:52 AM
 
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I've been thinking about this a lot lately...

in highschool I worked at a large daycare center and I would absolutely never ever ever send my children there. It was staffed by mostly wonderful women (a few exceptions really make a difference!) but in general it was a sad kind of place. The kids endured, but rarely enjoyed their time there.

After highschool and after traveling a bit I decided to open my own daycare in my first home. I remember that I wanted some way to make a living before I went to college and enjoyed working with kids, but other than that I don't know how I lucked into such a great life. I didn't have kids of my own, but my house was completely child-centered (ie...no adult furniture ). I had a group of very attached, co-sleeping, cdiapering, extended bfding, and absolutely marvelous parents who taught me a lot. For three years (with a five month break in the middle) my days were magical...and the kids in my care were absolutely thriving and happy. My group started out mostly when they were 15-19 months old and I got to have them until they were nearly 4. I had so much energy then! Building forts, daily nature walks, dance classes, library story times, napping like a pile of puppies, baking bread, yoga, raising baby ducks, naked backyard sprinkler fun, and ART ART ART ART!
There was something about the group dynamic that was so awesome...I still remember the eight of them sitting around the table at lunch chanting and pounding their dishes "broccoli, broccoli...we demand broccoli!!!" in unison. Or the sound of hysterical laughter as I chased them around the house with the creepy raggedy-ann doll that they loved to fear!

Fast forward nearly 10 years (OMG has it been that long?) and now I am proud mama to my first. I was determined that since I have spent much of my adult life taking care of other peoples children (during college I nannied, worked in a kindergarten class and taught art classes), now it was my turn to take care of my own. DH and I have really juggled these past 10 months to avoid daycare, meaning that Bea even came to work with me for the first 7 (until crawling and shouting were the fun new tricks!) Now I work part time (17 hrs/wk) and DH has adjusted his schedule so that he can be home with her mornings. It's tough. we see less of each other than we'd like. we often "take turns" with her instead of spending time as a family. I'm bored. Bea is bored. we're in a rut. Yesterday after a long and tedious day I actually said to DH "maybe daycare isn't such a bad idea" Fortunately, we can't afford daycare so I'm forced to step up my efforts at finding activities that get us out of the house and allow Bea to intereact with other kids ( she loves other kids so much ....she goes ape - waving and swatting the air for a high-five, blowing kisses, laughing hysterically, doing her little furrowed brow, gap-toothed 'super-charged-smile') I am desperate for a playgroup!!! AAAAACK!

anyway...um...back to my point.

maybe my daycare was special...sprinkled in fairy dust or something. But if such a thing existed right now for Bea (well, maybe not right now, maybe a few months from now...) I would seriously consider it. Unfortunately I don't think it does. The combination of having a group a parents that knew eachother and were friends beforehand and a young and energetic person that devoted her days to the kids and then could put it all away at 6:00 was pretty unique IMO.
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#6 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 11:24 AM
 
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I used to volunteer in a childcare center, and I have a home daycare in my home now. The difference is night and day. I've spent a lot of time in other home daycare too. I can see the appeal that centers have because there is more than one adult there, but it's just too chaotic, hard to form attachments, high staff turn over, stricter discipline techniques because they have to always treat everyone the same. Even after saying all of that, I think it's good for some children, children that don't have a good homelife. I think that 99% of the time homedaycare is better than a center. The children can form an attachment to their caregiver because he/she isn't going anywhere most likely. I don't think that full time care is "good" for any child that has a good homelife, but I don't think it's damaging either if they are getting quality care from someone that they can grow to love, who will love them in return. I also think that at around 3 years old it's good to start part time group care if you don't have the resources to find playmates for your children. Most providers have one day a week that another child doesn't use or something that they'd be happy to fill with a child that just needs the social time. A child that only comes for social time isn't likely to be brought when they are sick, lol.

So, do I think CENTERs are good for kids? NO!!! , unless homelife is the pits.

Do I think homedaycares are good for kids? Yes!!! It really can become a second home to them, which is a good thing if mom and dad have to work. Most providers teach self help and living skills because they are at home

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#7 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 12:03 PM
 
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I used to work in daycare before I had children and now am a full time SAHM. Being on both ends of teh spectrum I can say honestly I am gratful to be able to stay home with my kids. It is best for them. BUT I do feel soem children who are home all day with thier parents can actually be better off in daycare IF it is a warm loving enviroment with not too many children. (a good teacher to child ratio) I never thought this way but recently I began to babysit for a 9 month old . Her mom s a single mom and is not at all active in her childs life. She does not carry her around, play with her or really interact. It is more like a robot, she feeds and chnges her and puts her to bed. She is not neglected in that sense but is not getting teh love she needs. Well, in teh few weeks I have cared for her she has blossomed and started babbling more and smiling and her motor skills are better. I can see how some women are just not meant to be SAHM and in those cases thank god there are peopel out there willing to help. I do not mean this against working moms, just a personal example from my life. I think best case scenario the child is at home with a parent or grandparent , next best is a home babysitter or care provider and least favorable is daycare.
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#8 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 12:10 PM
 
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I worked in a daycare in college that I thought was good at the time. Now I look back and see that one teachers behavior was atrocious but overall it was a good daycare. I then stayed at home for 3 years with my own children, and recently went back to work in a daycare. I am horrified daily about what goes on in this center. Lack of activities for the children, babies been left to scream their little heads off, general chaos in all rooms, etc. I hate it...

But, if the childcare center is good then it is beneficial to those children who would otherwise be neglected at home.

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#9 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 12:34 PM
 
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I don't think large centers are good at all. I would never put my child in one, I was horrified at what I saw when I worked there. I opened my own home daycare and it's just so different. I think that for some children, daycare is great for them.

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#10 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 12:37 PM
 
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My aunt and uncle run a chain of very high end day care and after school care centers. I have to say I am very impressed by what I see there. And they are proud of the services they offer. What has soured them on the business and made them upset is how the parents are. If they were open 10 hours a day, then there would be parents who would have their kids there that long. And these are two income professional families in big homes with new cars.

Seeing their centers, knowing their philosophy and hearing their stories has made me come to this conclusion.

The issue is not necessarily day care or not. It's what kind of day care and how much day care and how committted/conscious the parents are in general. It's a combination of factors that determines whether or not it's a good match for a particular kid.
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#11 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 02:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am not seeing any glowing recommendations for day care centers from people who have actually worked in them. "It's better than being in a neglectful/abusive home." doesn't sound like you think it is good. It's just better than some bad homes.

I'm not sure what people mean by saying, "It's not good, but not damaging."

Swebster, your home-day care sounded awsome.

I did child care in my home for 1-2 children (plus my one son). I felt the children would have been better off with their parents. It was sad when I saw the baby's first steps. The Mom didn't seem upset about it though. He weaned at about 8 months because the Mom couldn't successfully pump milk at work and he was so used to bottles of formula he refused to nurse at home. She even tried nursing him while on her lunch break and he refused. The mom was very sad about that. She told me plainly, she was working to keep up her lifestyle. She didn't NEED the money. I think the child would have been better off being breastfed and nurtured by his mother, with less material things. The other child I watched Mother had to work for the money. The girl went to school, after, school care. On weekends and holidays she stayed with me or a family member's house. We all agreed, it would be nice if she got to be home with her Mom more, instead of with me.

I try not to buy anything on the weekends because the woman working at my local supermarkets, and K-Mart have school-aged kids. They are not able to spend the day with their kids because they have to work. I feel like I am helping take away their family-time by buying things. (For some reason, men are not cashiers at these places.) I am glad we don't have any open-24-hours stores, like Walmart where I live. I think it is really hard on families.
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#12 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 03:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by CinnamonDeMarco
I try not to buy anything on the weekends because the woman working at my local supermarkets, and K-Mart have school-aged kids. They are not able to spend the day with their kids because they have to work. I feel like I am helping take away their family-time by buying things.
These cashiers probably work weekends because they need to earn money (and/or they *like* working), and not because they have to be available for individuals to buy things. That would be the shop *owners*.
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#13 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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These cashiers probably work weekends because they need to earn money (and/or they *like* working), and not because they have to be available for individuals to buy things. That would be the shop *owners*.
The store is open so people can shop there. If no one shops on Sundays the store will start closing on Sundays. What if I am that one person who made it profitable for the store to stay open on Sunday? I suppose a store like Wal-Mart might still stay open, even though no one shopped. I'm sure they would schedule a lot less cashiers though.

One nurse in the hospital works 7a.m.-7p.m. every weekend. I told her that it must be frustrating to miss the kids every weekend. Can you request a weekend off? I asked. She surprised me and said her kids "..are too troublesome. I don't want to be with them." I guess not everybody wants to be with their kids. I'd like to think the avarage woman would prefer to work while her kids are in school and be able to spend weekends with their kids.

I know I would have my panties in a bunch if I had to work weekends, while my school aged kids were without Mama. I'd like to spend at least one day with them a week. I used to be sad when I had to miss family picnics and parties to work my low paying day-care center job. I'd have a weekday off, so it wasn't even like I was making overtime. Requesting every weekend off was considered not being a team player. I'm sure it's the same deal while working at the supermarket.
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#14 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 03:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by CinnamonDeMarco
One nurse in the hospital works 7a.m.-7p.m. every weekend. I told her that it must be frustrating to miss the kids every weekend. Can you request a weekend off? I asked. She surprised me and said her kids "..are too troublesome. I don't want to be with them." I guess not everybody wants to be with their kids.
I see you've met my mother. She just got my 16 year old brother his own apartment.
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#15 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 03:32 PM
 
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I'd be willing to bet that many of those women, while they would rather be home with their kids on the weekends, have made the decision that apartment/heat/food/etc. are pretty darn important. Maybe they're off on Mondays & Tuesdays with their kids?
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#16 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 03:37 PM
 
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#17 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 03:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by CinnamonDeMarco
I know I would have my panties in a bunch if I had to work weekends, while my school aged kids were without Mama.
Well, panties in a bunch or no, I'd assume that you'd be working because you needed to earn money to support your family, and that your panties would be in a bigger bunch if the store that you worked in closed on the days that you worked.

And, maybe the kids enjoy their weekends with their father...
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#18 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 03:42 PM
 
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#19 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 04:02 PM
 
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I loved my classroom at the last center I was at (management was a different story, but because of my strong teaching team--a co-teacher and assistant, I was the lead--we didn't feel the effects of that).

I thought it was an awesome environment, but mostly because of the individual children involved. Would I ever see a group of kids that had that kind of chemistry, and awesome parents who were almost all involved not only in classroom activities, but also doing playdates with each other outside of the center, ect? Probably not. I think that's why I wouldn't choose daycare for my kid--because I would have no control over who was in the class (chemistry), and only minimal-to-no control over the chemistry/effectivness of the teaching team (assuming it wasn't some poor teacher in there by her/himself).

Our class was very much like a family. My co-teacher was male, the gender ratio was near 50/50 (first time ever that'd happened for mer). I was the youngest as the lead and had no kids, but my co-teacher had older kids so he was a seasoned parent, and our part time assistant teacher was a grandma who was a wealth of knowledge and who really was one of my strongest mentors (so much for the 'assistant' part). We were given a great deal of autonomy within our program, so we did our own thing and created a strong family environment. The one thing I didn't like was the fact that kids had to move on past a certain age. I liked that we had some degree of say in which preschool room they went to (and that I loved both sets of those teachers), but it was very rough on us (I don't remember a kiddo that we didn't cry about during breaks on 'moving day')

If there was a situation where I could guarantee 3 more adults in my kids' lives who loved them so much, who enjoyed our family so much, and who had classmates' parents who cared about them and got to know them as well, I would choose that in a heartbeat. But it would be only part time because I am jealous of my children's younger years and don't want to share so much.

This is why I'm not sure that this is that much of a fair question. Because even the best daycare worker with the best setup (and I believe I had it at my last job--right down to the pay) probably wouldn't choose to put their kid in daycare because *they enjoy and love being around their young child, and even other people's young children...so much they wanted a career in it*.

But yes, I do think excellent daycare has benefits. However, it's out of the price range of the majority of folks who would MOST benefit, and too often is used as warehousing by people who "should" know better. But that's more often because of the parents/adults involved. Not because the concept of daycare is awful.

After my last experience at a very small non-profit center, though, I can tell you I will NEVER work for a corporate day care center again. NO matter how high end. I don't think that business and daycare mix well. Something always gets the shaft in that arrangement, and it's sure as hell NOT the 'business' end.
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#20 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by la mamita
The only kind of job I can afford is nights and weekends--stuff like KMart, grocery stores, etc. I can't afford to put DS in daycare to work that kind of a job, so I need the shifts that are nights/weekends so my parents can take care of the baby during that time. Many people work 9-5 M-F (even people who don't have kids) and use nights/weekends to do their shopping--thus there is a demand for the stores to be open. And I personally am grateful for that because it gives me a chance to get a job. You aren't doing the mama cashiers out there any favors by boycotting stores on weekends. (You also probably aren't doing a lot of damage either, but maybe you will reconsider why these jobs ARE a better option for some of us mamas)
Ok this is getting off topic but I am talking only about Moms of school aged kids not babies. Babies don't go to school M-F. The woman at these stores have school aged kids.

Hhurd, I'd rather work M-F and have weekends off if I had school aged kids.. I am a SAHM so I can easily shop during the cashiers preferred shifts. (assuming they really do prefer M-F day shift) Maybe the school aged kids enjoy it you said. Do you think they like seeing their Mother after school at 3:00 2 days a week and after 6:00p.m. all the other days? That is what happens when Moms work weekends. Don't you seriously think they would like their Mom to be off on the weekends?

Someone start another thread for this.

Sorry Boobs.

Back to the OP topic, Tigerchild I have never heard of a center with such low ratios. I also think business and daycare don't mix well.
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#21 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 05:02 PM
 
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I think it can be good for some children who are lucky enough to be in good day care with caring, attentive caregivers. I worked in many childcare situations and those were not the majority unfortunately.

Anyway yes I think it can be good for kids, but it often isnt.

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#22 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think it can be good for some children who are lucky enough to be in good day care with caring, attentive caregivers. I worked in many childcare situations and those were not the majority unfortunately.

Anyway yes I think it can be good for kids, but it often isnt.
Did you work in a good day care that was good for kids? I'm interested in hearing more about it.
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#23 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 07:42 PM
 
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I worked at a preschool/daycare in college.

I thought it was awesome when I worked there...thought it was the best enviornment, yada yada yada. It was considered the best place in our area and I was very thankful to work there and recommended it to everyone.

Now, 15 years later and with kids of my own....I feel bad. It was NOT a preschool, but a glorified daycare. The kids were cared for well, and the workers cared about the kids deeply, but it wasn't a great program. The kids didn't eat very healthy meals/snacks either. I would nEVER feed my kids the junk we fed those kids. It was an expensive place too. I couldn't afford the price, now 15 years later. I can't imagine what they charge now! The room had the correct ratios by the state and they were never compromised. But really, it was too many kids for us. I wouldn't send my own kids there...ever.

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#24 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 07:51 PM
 
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Did you work in a good day care that was good for kids? I'm interested in hearing more about it.
One of them was what I would call pretty good. (Staff wasnt always ideal, IMO, but people are human and all that entails) It was gentle as far as any discipline went, and even the youngest children were treated respectfully in my experience. For the kids who spent several hours there a day the people became like family, and I was happy that the turnover rate wasn't terrible.

I left a daycare job that was no good. The day was spent in conflict and confrontation with kids, the ratio was no good, kids were coerced to eat, babies left for long periods of time in playpens and swings etc. I didn't feel good about it.

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#25 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 07:58 PM
 
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I also think daycare CAN be good for SOME kids. Just like anything else, there's no absolutes.

During college I worked summers at daycare (and after while looking for a job). I worked the first summer at a large but family-owned daycare. It was OK, but I felt the classes were too big, the kids got moved between classes too often (baby room to ones, ones to pre-twos, pre-twos to twos, twos to threes... on up until K—3 and 4—6 grades) and there were too many variables. Like the couple teachers who were obviously there because that's all they could find to do to make money while getting care for THEIR kids, or the class with the completely out-of-control four year old who would go on rampages and push over large bookshelves - he obviously had needs of some kind that were not being met, but created a fearful situation for the other children (and teachers, one of whom was his mom!). The baby room was a calm, happy place full of well-cared for babies every time I was in there, the majority of the workers in there were grandmas who loved to rock, play with and feed babies.

The other daycare I worked for was a small family owned center. I felt that was a much better situation - class sizes were smaller, and the kids stayed in the same class with the same teachers for much longer. There was more turnover of children than teachers, though many of them stayed for years. Even once the child moved up, they were just in the next room over, and were able to see and interact with the old teachers daily, just as they had been seeing and interacting with the new teachers for a long time before moving. The teachers were able to become well-attached to the children, and get to know them individually. We were able to get to know the parents a bit as well, and tried our best to be partners with the parents in the childs care. Was it better than staying home with their parents? Well, no, not for most. There are situations, though, were this was the best practical scenario for some of the children. We had children of teen parents still in school, children in poor families where one parent HAD to work, children in single parent families where again the parent needed to work, and children in a home where one parent was being investigated for obvious abuse (though we were pretty sure they should have been investigating BOTH parents. We tried to provide a loving sanctuary for all the children, especially those. ). We loved each of those kids and took care of them as best we were able.

That was a long rambly way to say that daycare fills a need for many families, though I think the more family-like the better in most cases.

I'm planning to become a SMBC, so my child will have to go to daycare. I hope to find a small center or family daycare that can be a sort of second home for my child, where the adults truly care for the children and consider themselves partners with the parents.

Maybe I better start looking now!
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#26 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 08:09 PM
 
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Hhurd, I'd rather work M-F and have weekends off if I had school aged kids.. I am a SAHM so I can easily shop during the cashiers preferred shifts. (assuming they really do prefer M-F day shift) Maybe the school aged kids enjoy it you said. Do you think they like seeing their Mother after school at 3:00 2 days a week and after 6:00p.m. all the other days? That is what happens when Moms work weekends. Don't you seriously think they would like their Mom to be off on the weekends?
Yes, OT but since you raised the issue and questioned me directly...
I said kids enjoy being with their FATHER, not enjoy not having their mother home 24/7. Children benefit from the care of both parents, not just one. Where is the other caregiver in your scenario? (Single parents would have even more of a need to work, I'd think) And school age children may like their moms home on weekends, but they also like a place to live, clothes to wear, food to eat, and medical care.
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#27 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 08:18 PM
 
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Former day care worker when in college here....

What I remember first is that I had to go from baby to baby and give each some one-on-one time. It took a while to get back around to each of them. Lots of them got used to daycare, but some never did, and cried the entire day, months after they had been there. I also worked in the older rooms. I was preggers when I was there, and it is what influenced me to be as much of a SAHM as I can, even if we are livin' on a shoe-string.

I think that at that age, kids don't need education and socialization, they need to touch Mommy all the time. Just like scientists agree those monkeys do---remember that old film from high school about baby monkeys in a warm observation room, who had the choice to snuggle against a wire mommy or one covered in fuzzy cloth?

Of course, they chose the fuzzy, orange shag carpet mommy---babies need to touch their mommy, constantly, down to their primal monkey-self!

Of course by "Mommy", I mean the person/people closest to them in their life, their family members, however that ends up being.

All this is my own opinion, based on my own life experience.

I am not in the mood to get flamed for just sharing my life experience. 'Kay?
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#28 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 08:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hhurd
Yes, OT but since you raised the issue and questioned me directly...
I said kids enjoy being with their FATHER, not enjoy not having their mother home 24/7. Children benefit from the care of both parents, not just one. Where is the other caregiver in your scenario? (Single parents would have even more of a need to work, I'd think) And school age children may like their moms home on weekends, but they also like a place to live, clothes to wear, food to eat, and medical care.
Or those school aged kids could be homeschooled and not driven by traditional schedules.

I think the OP is going to have to boycott a lot if she wants to avoid 24/7 work environments, including, but not limited to: cell phone companies (I work for one in a 24x7 environment), police/fire/emergency medical services, stores, hospitals, radio stations, etc., I could go on but I won't.
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#29 of 104 Old 05-24-2006, 08:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hhurd and lisac77,

Start another thread. I'll post on it.

I shouldn't have brought it up on this thread.
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#30 of 104 Old 05-25-2006, 02:43 AM
 
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I worked briefly at a day care when I was in college. I think that unless there's some problem with a child's home life, the best a day care can do is not be a negative influence. Basically my attitude towards day care centers is the same as my attitude toward schools (well, I really don't make much of a distinction between them)--they should be avalable for those who need them, they should be as humane as possible, but they should not be the norm or the default.

If I couldn't be a sahm, I would either get a regular babysitter/nanny or use a home day care before I would use a day care center.
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