We have a great post for you today, guest written by Sasi Charoonsri. Sasi is an expert in early childhood education, and spent several years working as a teacher in the infant classroom of a center-based, NAEYC-accredited daycare (NAEYC accreditation is the gold standard for early childhood programs), including two years as lead infant teacher. She is also a mom of two young children. So basically she is the voice of experience and we need to take in all her wisdom! Here’s her input on common concerns regarding childcare.
Hi there! Heather and Erin asked me to share some advice to parents who are about to go back to work. I can absolutely understand and empathize with first-time parents’ fears and anxieties. I experienced some of those anxieties myself. You would think that my 10+ years teaching experience, 4 of those years as an infant teacher, would prepare me for my own motherhood experience. Well it did, a little! But there were tons of things that were NOT in the Teacher Manual! For example, how difficult breastfeeding can be, or how hard it is to feed a picky eater. But that’s another topic to write about.
First-time parents who come through the Infant classroom usually have lots of worries and questions, such as “Will my baby be ok without me all day?” (Yes, she will be.) “Is he going to cry all day?” (He will cry some, but it won’t be all day.) “Am I going to miss out on all the important milestones while I’m away at work?” (No, you won’t!) “Can I call or visit any time?” (Yes, of course!)
And many times I’ve heard the question, “I know my baby will be here all day. She will probably see you more than she sees me. I’m really worried my baby will love you caregivers more than me!”
We get it. It’s really hard to leave your precious baby with someone else all day long. But put your fear at ease. It is actually a good thing that your baby loves his or her caregiver. It is important for babies to develop attachment and a sense of trust with the caregiver. That sense of trust is essential to the child’s emotional development in the first few years of life. (You can Google Erik Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development. He will tell you all about it.)
The caregivers’ love and care can never compete with or replace the parents’ love. The children always get excited to see their parents at the end of the day, no matter how many hours they spend with us. And trust me, the children always forget about us when they move on to the next classroom. I’ve had to remind lots of older children that I used to be one of their favorite people!
So whether it is by choice or circumstance that you need to send your baby to a childcare center or use a nanny, just remember that you did your very best to pick the best school or the best nanny for your child. And your baby will (still) love you for it.