This morning I dropped my baby boy off at daycare for his very first time. What a bittersweet moment! While I’m happy for him because he’ll get to make and play with friends, get regular outside play, and generally have fun, I’m of course sad to leave him in the care of someone else. The first day of daycare is always a tough one for most parents, as well as most kids. Ours was no exception!
Source: Jordan Schwartz/Flickr
We decided to enroll our two-year-old in daycare for several reasons. First, I felt he was getting a bit bored being home with me each day. I want him to play with other kids his age and learn to play in a group. Secondly, I want him to play outside more than we currently do. At daycare, he will be able to play outside in their playground 1-2 times a day, something I’m not able to provide him on a daily basis due to my work schedule. And finally, with him in daycare, I will be able to accomplish a lot more work and can focus better on him and his big sister after they’re home from school, giving them the dedicated attention they need.
Baby boy’s big sister did not begin attending daycare until she was 3 1/2 years old. Until then, I was very lucky to have my mother care for her while my husband and I worked full-time outside the home. For baby boy, I’ve been lucky to work from home and care for him myself the past two years! So, to help with the transition (for both of us), we enrolled him in daycare only three days a week, which will be plenty of time for him to get that interaction with other children.
So, let me tell you about his first day of daycare and how our morning went. After dropping off his big sister, we continued to his “school” to drop him off. Though I hyped up the situation and tried to get him excited about going to “school” and playing with friends, once we arrived and got out of the car, he wanted nothing to do with it. He pulled on me to go the other way and held onto my legs as I entered his room. The teacher quickly grabbed him to try to help the situation and knowing that the best thing to do is not linger, I proceeded to wave good-bye to him saying I’d be back later and exited the room. I believe I saw he had stopped crying a few minutes later, but the teacher still had him in her arms.
The first day of daycare doesn’t go like this for everyone. Some kids happily walk in on their first day. I know my boy will eventually be fine when I drop him off, but it may take some time for him to ease into this new routine. Hopefully the transitional period doesn’t last too long, though; I’m not sure how much of seeing him cry like that I can take!