Leave Your Child at Day Care or Stay At Home – What Do You Do?

Question:

My husband and I are expecting our first baby in two months. We both work full time and I planned to return to work after six weeks. Last week my mother-in-law said she thought I should reconsider this plan. She said that if I am not home with my baby, emotional bonds will not form and my baby and I will never develop an attachment to each other. My husband thinks his mother is right and that the baby may even become more attached to the day care teacher or babysitter. What do you think I should do? We need my paycheck to pay the rent (we would have to move if I didn’t work). If I keep my job, what kind of childcare do you think would be best?

Answer:

I am not an expert on this particular subject and will not pretend to be one, but I believe this is a good response and argument to this question.

I understand your concern with this matter because of your interest in the best emotional development of the child. Of course, leaving your child at a day care while you are at work has its benefits and disadvantages. Fortunately, you are not the only one with this dilemma and there has been much research conducted on the subject. The pros of dropping your child off to day care every morning only outweigh the option of staying home with your child when you carefully select a high-quality day care. This may boil down to more of a financial decision because choosing childcare with a significant number of educated staff members may be somewhat costly depending on your budget. In the end, if you are paying more for your childcare than you are making while at your job you may have your priorities backwards.

According to the Child Care Center, “It seems that ‘process’ or ‘dynamic’ variables of quality have a direct impact on children’s development, for instance, the understanding and sensitivity of a caregiver. ‘Structural’ variables such as the ratio of child to staff and the amount of education and training that the day-care provider has seem to have indirect effects of child development. Consequently, children who attended ‘high quality’ day-care were probably under the care of educated and sensitive providers, in a small teacher-child ratio.” There is much evidence that a high-quality daycare has very different, positive effects on your child than an average one.

On the other hand, your best interest would obviously be staying home with the child for more bonding time and helping your child develop as you like, rather than your child learning their habits from other parents. With you at home, you can shape your child emotionally and instill values you feel are important. You will probably feel more strongly about your child’s development than someone who is raising your child for you. For your personal situation, I believe your best option would be researching this topic before making any decision. With more knowledge under your belt, you can make a more informed decision knowing the consequences and benefits of both. Seeing that your financial situation will play a big part in your final decision, if you do decide to send your child to day care I recommend visiting many childcare facilities and making sure you are choosing the best one for your child.

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by Daniel C Errante

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