day care

My Kids Would Not Be Who They Are Without Daycare

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Now that Claire is about to enter second grade and Ben is starting kindergarten, I take stock of where we are. Claire is beyond grade level in all subjects and we are not exactly the home-schooling type– I can only blame daycare and everything they taught her. She is a September baby and began school at four years old but she has always been at the top of her class- needless to say, she had a phenomenal head start. I don’t say this to humble-brag or pat myself on the back because I take very little credit- she learned so much at daycare. Both of my children are unusually social and outgoing- to the point where they charm everyone they meet. They are articulate and unafraid to speak to adults that my husband and I introduce them to. I know where the bulk of that confidence comes from and it certainly is not within the walls of our home. I am so proud of who they both are and we have daycare to thank.

Now, after four years, we reach the end. I know Ben is in denial of some form. On our drive home last night, he told me that daycare was his favorite place and that he never wanted to leave. On our way out, I had a hushed conversation with the director where she asked if we had been discussing the upcoming change with Ben about going to kindergarten soon. I told her that we had, ad nauseum, and she said that he told her he was never going to leave daycare. I talked to him last night about how kindergarten was going to be wonderful- that he would be with his Sissy again and that she would walk him to and from before/after school care and make sure that he was alright. He seemed ok with it all after our reassuring talk but I’m not sure that I am.

The fact is, this is more than just changing the building where we drop off our kids. Ben is our youngest so for us, this is the end of an era. An era where we hauled kids, diapers and wipes in the early morning hours and washed daycare bedding every week. An era where we got sweet little “reports” tucked into a cubby about what they ate that day, how they napped and whether they got along with their friends. An era where the order of the day was having fun and anything they learned was a bonus. This is the last of “babies” in our household and my heart can barely take it. We have two elementary school children now and I’m not sure I am ready but the best part is, they are. They have been prepared for school in a way that I never could have done on my own. I know in my heart of hearts that I was not going to be enough for them- I was never cut out to stay at home. I am endlessly grateful for all that daycare has done for my children- for our family. I know I will see their influence in my kids for the rest of their lives and I cannot be anything but humble and full of gratitude. We will never forget these women that helped shape our kids when we were out making a living. It is the greatest gift we could ever receive. I hope they know how thankful we will always be.

(Image: Tyler Olsen/Shutterstock)

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