Are you going back to work after maternity leave? Are you sad about the baby’s first day in daycare? Do you wonder – How long does it take for a child to adjust to daycare? How will my baby sleep at daycare without me? I totally understand and feel for you at the moment….. Here is my honest story, It will soothe your fears.
My Story on My Kid’s First Day at Daycare
I will never forget my daughter Bella’s first day in daycare. She was one year and eight months old and had never been separated from me for more than an hour or two.
She was still breastfeeding, sleeping in my bed, and I as her mummy was always nearby. But I had to go back to work, so daycare was inevitable.
Some said I was too attached or that it was due to the difficult IVF treatment we went through to have her. But I believe most mothers have a hard time separating from their little ones. We become lionesses after having a baby – motherhood changes you.
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First Day at Daycare
On the first day, we went in for an hour of adjustment. On the second day, I had to leave Bella for a half hour on her own. She was screaming so much that my hands were shaking. I felt like I couldn’t breathe.
As I walked to the nearest coffee shop with another mom she told me something I will never forget: ˝Marina, don’t look at this as an ending. Look at it as a new beginning, a beginning of something good!˝ At that moment I couldn’t really process her words and didn’t think much of it at the moment.
Over the next two weeks, we continued to come for 2-3 hours each day. She still cried at drop-off but it lessened.
Then in the third week, she got sick with the flu. I learned quickly that bugs are inevitable with groups of kids! My advice is to have essential oils suitable for kids always nearby and make them healthier. Read my experience on the subject.
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After a Month or Two
After a while, I realized having Bella at daycare and going back to work wasn’t so bad. I finally had time to myself that I hadn’t realized I needed. Coming home, I craved spending quality time together – reading, singing, anything she wanted.
She still cried at every drop-off, but the daycare staff assured me she stopped and had fun once I left. I believed them – they always took her in their caring arms.
– They have a special treatment on that day –
Useful tips for preparing your child:
- In the weeks before your child’s first day, begin talking to them about what daycare is and what they can expect. Read books and watch shows that depict children in daycare settings.
- Take them to visit the facility beforehand so they can meet their teachers and get comfortable in the new environment.
- Packing familiar items from home can also help comfort your child that first day. Let them pick out a favorite stuffed animal or blanket to take with them. Having recognizable things from home will soothe them when you are not there.
- You can even record yourself reading a bedtime story so they can listen to your voice at naptime.
- Preparing your child mentally, emotionally, and physically for their new routine will get them off to the best start. With your guidance and reassurance, they will come to feel safe and loved while they learn, play, and make friends.
How Will My Baby Sleep at Daycare
My first day of going back to work after maternity leave was her first day sleeping at the daycare. I called from work to ask if she had fallen asleep. Let me just say that she never fell asleep without my breast in her mouth. The caregiver said: She’s been screaming for 40 minutes in her bed˝. I was devastated. After five minutes she sent me a photo of her sleeping on her tummy all red and wet from crying.
The second day she cried for five minutes… And on the third, she fell asleep right away. Can you believe it!? I was so worried and she adjusted to sleeping on the third day.
Extended Breastfeeding and Daycare
- Everyone told me I needed to wean a baby off when starting to work. But my daughter was so attached to breastfeeding, that I just couldn’t and didn’t even try to stop nursing. People around me thought I was crazy, but that was my decision to make.
And let me tell you – We had NO trouble with it! While she was at the daycare center she didn’t ask for it of course, but the moment we got home she had to empty both of my breasts. I didn’t even have trouble with overload at work. She was a year and eight months, not an infant anymore. Probably didn’t even drink as much. It was her comfort zone. I just couldn’t take it away from her. And never regretted it.
Benefits of a Daycare
You see, daycare isn’t that bad. It actually great, and brings lots of benefits for a child. Let me introduce you to some:
- Scheduled activities during the day. They have playtime, singing, storytelling, mealtime, and sleeping time – always at the same time. Routine and regular schedules are important for their intellectual development. You will also benefit from these measures as your child gets into a routine.
- Some studies say that kids who attended daycare had a higher cognitive performance as teenagers.
- They will learn how to communicate with their peers. Early socialisations teach them how to solve a problem or handle an issue. It develops emotional and social skills that will help them when they grow up. My kid was a bit shy. After a year in a daycare, she was a different child. She made friends easily and had no socialization issues. She has a strong bond with her friends from her group. They share secrets, laugh together, and comfort one another. It is something we can’t provide to our kids at home, or with an hour in a park.
- How to be independent. They eat for themselves, get dressed, and get lots of assignments they need to accomplish. Mummys not nearby to do it as they were used to. But their caregivers push their boundaries and make them stronger and more independent
- Interaction with some new adults helps them to respect authority and teaches them good manners
- School is not gonna be a problem for a child who attended daycare and kindergarten
- Caregivers always notice if someone has development issues or needs a speech therapist. So you can react in time
- And last but not least – Immunity strengthening. They will always have a runny nose, or diarrhea, or vomit in the middle of the night. But that is ok and perfectly normal. By the time they go to school, they will have a strong immune system and will be healthier than kids who stay at home.
- There are so many activities that a childcare facility provides that we can’t while at home. You will see this in the photos below.
- They have masquerade parties,
- Olympics games,
- Regular measuring,
- Sports day,
- Always making a special card for Mother’s and Father’s Day,
- Unicef money collecting,
- They have one-day trips,
- They visit the theater,
- They pretend to be a caregiver for a day – this one was a special one for my girl ;-), and so many more great events…
Why is Daycare Important – Studies
“From a public perspective, our findings are important because they should help ease parents’ fears about the potential harms of early non-parental child care,”The study is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
˝The advantages of daycare have been researched extensively and found to have positive implications that extend far beyond a child’s day-to-day happiness. From providing parents the time and space needed to support and sustain their families to offering opportunities for socialization and the development of critical skills, the benefits of daycare are abundant.˝
Access to high-quality childcare in the first years of life may improve children’s emotional and cognitive development, prevent later emotional difficulties and promote pro-social behaviors.”
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Kindergarten Experience Story
By age 5, my daughter loved kindergarten! She cried when she had to miss days with the flu. She built strong bonds and was well-prepared for primary school. Kids who skipped daycare had much harder adjustments I noticed.
Daycare provided huge benefits I couldn’t give my daughter alone. She became an independent, confident, and knowledgeable schoolgirl. It also gave me time to start my own blog.
First Day at Daycare for a Second Time
When Bella’s sister Zola started daycare three years later it was so much easier. For all of us! She was almost two years old. I knew what to expect, she wanted to go where her sis did, and the baby’s separation anxiety wasn’t present the second time around. She adjusted quickly, made friends, and relaxed sooner.
I was probably different too. She couldn’t sense my fear and anxiety cause it wasn’t present. I knew she was left in good hands and it would bring her as many benefits as it did to her big sis.
I know you dread the first day at daycare and having baby separation anxiety. It is so normal. But it does so much good for our children and for ourselves. She became an independent, strong, and full-of-knowledge schoolgirl. It gave me time to start my own blog and make something out of my life that one day my kids will be proud of.
If I had known then what I know now, my life would be easier back then. My kids will remember their preschool time as a time full of play, laughter, and joy.
I thank her caregivers for always giving her comfort, a shoulder to cry on, and so much love!
Moms, don’t be afraid. It’s great… you’ll see…
Share your positive experiences as well. Let’s comfort the mommies facing their fears.
WE ARE STRONGER THAN WE ALL THINK!