Due to our circumstances changing rather quickly we had less than 2 weeks to find Zephaniah a daycare to go to for 4 days a week. We weren’t planning on putting her into care for another 6 months therefore we were very unprepared and it became quickly apparent that there were waiting lists for daycares in our area. After running around to 3 daycares I found one that had no waitlist and also embraced organic learning using natural products, had 8 children per class and was very clean.
Once we enrolled Zephaniah we had to pay a $50 administration fee, $150 deposit (you get this back once your child leaves the centre) and a week of care in advance.
The payments were made and all of the paperwork filled out and vaccination record provided we then decided to do a few trial days where we would take Zephaniah into the centre and sit with her for an hour whilst she played and familiarised herself with her surroundings and educators. The trial hour started with me sitting with Zephaniah whilst she played then when it was morning tea time I would go sit in the parents room and without fail every time after sitting in the parents room for 20 mins I would hear my baby crying. Unfortunately the crying didn’t stop at the trial days it carried through when Zephaniah started care 4 days a week. I would place her down and sit with her for a few minutes but as soon as I got up to leave and say goodbye she would drop her bottom lip and start sobbing, her educators would come and pick her up and distract her with a toy or a flower however I would still here her from outside of the centre crying and it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to hear.
A few weeks have passed now and the drop off is getting easier. Zephaniah is now used to her educators so instead of walking in and placing her on the ground with some toys I will give her to her educator and say goodbye. There are occasionally a drop of the bottom lip however it doesn’t turn into tears and within a few seconds she is full of smiles.
At first it was also hard for me to come to terms that my baby was going to be in care with other babies and leaving her with a stranger each day was a daunting practice. I was also worried that she was going to get beat up or bitten (yep kids bite each other). But once I started to get to know Zephaniah’s educators it becomes apparent that they are truly passionate about their jobs and they treat the babies like their own, they carry them around on their hips as they do normal tasks, they light up when you drop off your baby and they immediately ask for cuddles, they get so excited to share with you small milestones that your baby achieved for the day. And for my other worry that Z would get beaten up, I now laugh a little to think I had that thought, Zephaniah is in a room with babies of her same age, they don’t have any aggression, I don’t even think they would know how to hurt another being. Just the other day I picked up Zephaniah to leave and one of the other little babies walked over to me with Zephaniah’s bag and gave it to me. Her teacher then explained that Zephaniah has a “Peppa Pig” bag and they all love “Peppa Pig” so all the babies in the room know that this is Zephaniah’s bag. This little gesture from the girl made me smile, and on the car ride home I told Zephaniah that she was no longer the “new” kid on the block however she was now the “popular” kid because all of the other babies want her bag (you gotta make those 5pm car rides home fun).
Some tips that I have for daycare:
· Most Day cares supply nappies, food, wipes and bibs
· There is a government rebate & benefit to help offset the costs
· Label all items that go to daycare such as bottles, formula and nappy creams
· Most Day cares have an app where they can send you photos and updates on your child throughout the day
· You can call your daycare throughout the day to check up on your baby
· There is a waitlist at most daycares of a few months and you will not be guaranteed the days of care you will require
· You still have to pay for daycare even if your child didn’t attend for the day or was sick
Day care has been really beneficial for Zephaniah beside the odd flu she is bringing home, she is more sociable and knowledgeable, she opens objects with ease, she can turn the pages in books, she has interaction with other babies and children which she hasn’t had before. She has now started talking so much, all of a sudden she has a big vocabulary and wants to be heard.
I personally find that day care has such a negative connotation to it, or when you tell other mums that your little one is in day care at a young age you get shocked looks on their faces or gasps. However we have found day care to be a positive experience and now a regular routine that has become integral in Zephaniah’s day to day life. And we are confident in our decision that day care has turned out to be a great experience for Zephaniah and will continue to be.