My son goes to daycare half days, Monday through Friday, so I can work at home in peace without tiny fingers waggling under the door while I type out an indecipherable email. I felt a little guilty and nervous about putting him in daycare when he was around 18 months old, but boy, was I wrong on that one.
He absolutely loves it. He runs in the door to eat breakfast at the little table with all of his friends every morning. What’s more, the daycare is doing an even better job of raising him than I am. We’re definitely getting our money’s worth.
Half the time, I don’t even bother teaching him important life skills because I figure his daycare will do it for me. For example”¦
1. How to use a sippy cup.
CONFESSION TIME: My kid was still using a bottle at around 15 months because he was totally goofy and drippy with a sippy cup. He just couldn’t figure it out! Our pediatrician told us in a judgy tone that it was past time to transition him to a sippy. After about two weeks in daycare, he was sipping with the best of them””probably because he watched other kids doing it.
2. How to eat with a fork.
My son and his cousin were born only two days apart. We noticed that she had started using utensils, while he was still chucking his entire dinner on the floor. After a few weeks of positive peer pressure at daycare, my son picked up a fork at home and started using it on his own. MAGIC!
3. How not to be a picky eater.
My toddler was one of the worst picky eaters out there, but after hanging out with his friends and eating a few good meals at a tiny little table, he scarfs down pretty much anything. Believe it or not, his daycare has somehow been able to brainwash him into eating vegetables. I almost called his daycare teacher a liar when she told me that carrots were his favorite. #howdareyou
4. How to say new words.
I’ve never sat down and taken the time to teach my son a new word. He usually comes home after a week of daycare with a long list of new words and an expanded vocabulary. Although I have absolutely nothing to do with it, it certainly eases the burden. Now I can toss out those toddler flashcards I’ve been working on.
5. How to share.
Ugh, teaching a kid to share is so HARD. My son constantly freaks out and steals toys from his baby brother. I haven’t had any complaints from his teacher yet, so I’m assuming that he plays nice and shares toys during daycare hours. I’ll consider that a victory for now.
6. How to boost his immunity.
There’s no better way to boost a kid’s immune system than to expose him to a petri dish of germs, courtesy of all the other snotty daycare kids. After my son’s first month of daycare, he was literally sick for three months straight. Oh, and he also got pneumonia, so there’s that. He’s been put through the wringer and back again, and he’s also gotten his baby brother sick. I’d like to think that his immune system is on the up and up because his recent colds haven’t warranted an emergency visit to the pediatrician”¦yet.
7. How to socialize.
If you want your kid to avoid troll-status, you’re supposed to take them to a bunch of different playdates and playgroups and gymnastics classes, right? Well, as a WAHM, ain’t nobody got time for that. It may be my son’s personality, but daycare seems to treat him well; now he’s much more comfortable meeting new people and interacting in social settings.
8. How to be independent.
So far, we’ve never dealt with any kind of separation anxiety at daycare, maybe because we started at a younger age. My son appears to really enjoy the dynamic and usually runs away from us when we drop him off. Independence gives me the sads as a mother, but it also makes me proud at the same time.
9. How to explore his creative side.
I try to get my son to do crafts and color at home, but he always walks away disinterested. Yet in the group setting of daycare, I’ve seen videos of him entranced as he painted on a piece of construction paper with a cotton ball. #picasso
10. How to use the potty.
Okay, this one hasn’t happened yet because my son hasn’t expressed interest in potty training. (He’s two.) But seeing as his daycare has worked wonders so far, I’m sure they’d be happy to potty train him for me”¦ Right? Right?
(photo: Getty Images)