LORRIE POSOBIEC: Conservatives should reconsider hating daycare

Sometimes I feel that daycare gets a bad rap, especially from the traditional conservative community. I think that daycare has a place, even in a traditional household. Think of it as a piece in a toolkit, that, along with other tools, can be used to successfully raise loving, spiritual, children with strong family bonds.  

My husband and I have been married for over 40 years. I had a successful career in a large pharmaceutical company, working full-time for 40 years, going back to school after our two children were born to get both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Also, my husband went back to school when our second child was born to get a nursing degree and worked for the state for 30 years.

Now, before you get the idea that we didn’t really have a close bond with our children and carted them off to daycare 24/7, let me explain why I think daycare is a good option when used sparingly. If I had to do it over again, I would have preferred a part-time option when our children were small, but there weren’t as many part-time, work from home options then as there are now.

We got by using all the options available to us. I worked daytime while he mostly worked the evening shift (3-11:30pm, however worked close enough to come home or to a kid’s baseball game during his dinner break). My husband was off one weekday/week, so the children stayed home then. We had the advantage of grandmothers that lived close by so that each watched them one day a week. We used daycare 2-3 days/week.

I took 5 months off with each of our children and nursed both (for 6 - 11 months). I’m not sure how other daycares work, but the one we chose used mature women, many grandmoms themselves, in the infant room. This gave me a lot of comfort when they were little.

Also, we limited the time that they were at daycare-my husband typically dropped them off by 10am, and I picked them up by 4pm. Two of those hours were naptime.

In general, they loved daycare, had lots of friends, learned social skills and both learned to read at an early age. We made a point to read to them both every night. We also went to church most Sundays, and the boys went to Catholic school. 

One sort of unorthodox practice was that we chose a daycare close to where I worked, and I was able to go there for lunch every day. This was a very special time for us. The daycare gave us a quiet place to eat with our older child and nurse the younger one.

After the younger one was weaned, I continued to go to the daycare at lunchtime until he went to kindergarten. I was the only parent I knew to do this consistently. I was very welcome at the daycare. I usually sat at one of those tiny chairs at the table with all the kids or went to a separate room and had some one-on-one time and really got to know the teachers and other children. My employers were very accommodating of this practice as well.

In fact, the only push-back I got was from other parents. They would say, isn’t it hard on the kids to see you at lunchtime, then leave again, or what if you can’t do it every day? The fact was that our kids were used to it and looked forward to it. Occasionally I couldn’t come, but most of the time I could let them know that in the morning, so it wasn’t a big deal. I felt that the parents who questioned this practice felt the need to justify why they didn’t choose to do it too.

When the boys were older, I went back to school, but only took one class a semester, so I wouldn’t miss too many after-school activities. It took over 10 years to get my degrees, but this pace worked for us.

Another reason why daycare, at least at the preschool age, can be beneficial is when introducing a second language. Young children just learning to talk are such learning sponges. I’ve seen first-hand that, being immersed in a second language for part of the day, along with their primary language at home, can be remarkably successful in raising a bilingual child.

I know everyone’s circumstances are different, but if some creativity is used, you can successfully combine a career with raising children and that daycare isn’t all bad.

Image: Title: Daycare


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