How to opt for a Good DayCare

Jul 20, 2017 | Read time: 6 mins

Jul 20, 2017 | Read time:


“I still remember the first day when I stood outside the classroom and wept my heart out, thinking what she would probably go through, as to how would she take it, how would she be treated? This was her first exposure to the outside world”. And that’s how Dr K Neelima, mother of Saishta Anand, shares her first day experience of sending her toddler to KLAY, one of the largest DayCare and Playschool chains of India. Neelima is not the only one to feel the pangs of anxiety. Most women are always in a dilemma over when to put their child to DayCare as they head back to work. Should I send my infant to a daycare? Or should I wait till they learn to walk and talk? Every working mother suffers from a Hamletian dilemma at some point or the other.

 

In India, motherhood is a hallowed pedestal from where begins her never-ending job. She has to be the fountain of unconditional love, relentless attention, companionship, charity, as an ideal care-giver and perfect teacher. If she flounders, she is branded a failure. This often puts the burden of expectation on the mother, eluding her judgment, ability to think and act with clarity about her professional and other responsibilities. She has to deal with a thousand questions and worries regarding her decision to put her child in a ChildCare facility.  Mothers often feel so guilty that they are seen at the door waiting and biting her nails and sometimes even sobbing. At times, especially with toddlers who take time to settle down, mothers are too anxious to wait outside or step away and insist on taking back the child.

 

Such reactions from parents can be counterproductive and can aggravate separation anxiety in junior and senior toddlers, who somehow can relate to their parents’ anxiety and start feeling helpless among strangers. This leaves them more vulnerable and they can take months to adapt to a new environment.

 

So, when is a good time to put a child in a ChildCare facility or Creche?

Other than resolving some practical problems that will be a decider, there are other more emotional and developmental milestones to be considered.

 

Psychiatrists believe it is better to put a child to DayCare as early as possible –  by the age of six months when they still do not develop they can adjust easily to caregivers and are not so attached to suffer from separation anxiety been if the staff is changed. Older children develop means to try and get away from the pre-school or DayCare Centre. And if parents give in to this emotional manipulation and pull out their children instead of just letting the professional caregivers do their job, it may lead to behavioural issues.

 

Take the case of Vaishno Saxena, mother of Akshadha Saxena gave her toddler 2 months to settle down, though she was nervous in the beginning as Akshi used to cry a lot. “Within two months of being in KLAY, Akshi looks comfortably settled and is able to learn new things. For me it was a hard decision to take but I did,” adds Saxena.

 

Early childhood care has an immense impact on the child’s overall development and it also provides a valuable support to families with young children. Numerous research papers and studies support the contention that a good ChildCare facility helps nurture and develop a better cognitive and social development for children. They develop memory, language, school readiness, reading achievement, the nature of relationships with parents and teachers, social skills, work habits, and behavioural adjustment.

 

Some tips for guilty mothers who are in a dilemma:

  • There is no such thing as a perfect age to put your child in Daycare. Try and relax with your decision and inculcate a positive approach.
  • Never allow your negative approach, anxiety, tears to impact your child. It affects them more than you can imagine.
  • If your child is under five years of age, think of small group childcare facilities. Ideally the younger the child, smaller should be the group so that noise an activity levels can be moderated.
  • Think of consistency of the group; if caregivers and children are same week after week, it is easier for a child to adapt.
  • At the end of the day, the decision to entrust your child to a professional ChildCare facility should be taken keeping mind your immediate situation, demands on your time and attention and resources and your child’s well being.

 

Do’s and Don’ts: A parent can follow this list on the child’s first day at the DayCare facility

  • A new environment can be overwhelming for a child, so a parent doesn’t need to push the child to do anything they aren’t comfortable with on the first day. Allow the child time to adjust and let the teacher interact. As your child becomes more comfortable in the new environment, step back quietly. Let them take the lead in exploring the new classroom.
  • If the child goes with the teacher, stand back and do not talk to the child as you may distract him/her. As the child settles in, leave the premises for a while. Do tell your child that you are leaving, as this will build their faith in the fact that you will not lie to them.
  • Children take anywhere between 1- 3 weeks to settle. During this time, your child might resist going to school. It will be easy for you to give in, at this point, but please don’t. The longer your child stays away from school, the longer the settlement process will take.
  • Do not bribe the child to go to school or offer rewards or treats. This reinforces the school negatively and will work counter productively in the long run.
  • During a challenging time, your child’s appetite might dwindle. This is a passing phase. Once your child is well settled, they will eat well again.
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