We are really happy with our decision and her regular attendance at Child Care this year has been really beneficial for every member of our family.
It's good for her learning
Child Care Educators follow an extensive and enriching early years curriculum these days, and Miss M is now in the Preschool room. As you can tell from my blog, I do plan a lot of educational and fun activities for her during the week, but there are so many more opportunities for learning at Child Care. They target specific learning goals for each child to extend their development and often base the activities around topics of interest. Recently they even had the hatching eggs program. Miss M also shows a different side to her personality when she's at Child Care (which brings me to my next point)...
It's good for her social skills
Previously, I've described Miss M as a clingy koala, and she is still very much like this. Although, after 18 months of child care, and now at a new centre - she finally doesn't cry any more when I drop her off! Success!! I thought we'd never get there.
Anyway, when I take her to an activity such as story time at the library, she is reluctant to sit with the group of children and join in with the songs. But at Child Care (so I'm told - I wish I could be a fly on the wall) - she goes along with the others. And it's super cute when she comes home reciting the songs and games they do and "plays child care". I also find (as you may have read here) - that she's not the best at sharing or interacting with other children on our play dates, but at Child Care - she has no trouble at all!
She comes back better behaved
Hands up if you know the power of a 'threenager'. It's diabolical at times! All those great big opinions and emotions with no where to escape except a voice at full volume or a flood of tears. Child Care is like hitting the reset button and she comes back glad to be home in her comfort zone. She often comes home eager to independently play with her own toys (especially if I've put out a few things for her she may not have played with for a while). She also returns home pretty tired, and always has a good night's sleep after her busy day.
It gives me quality time with Little Man
This is probably the most important for me. On the days when it's just me and both kids, I feel like I spend most of the day either feeding or settling the Little Man, and just popping him on his play mat hoping he doesn't cry for five minutes while I madly put washing on or make Miss M lunch. There have been times when I've finally gotten him to sleep and get out painting or home made play dough to do with Miss M - and five minutes later, he's awake again. But when it's just me and him, we get to play and bond with each other, and our day can revolve around him.
... and when he DOES sleep I finally get a break!
Hello blog! This is when we get reacquainted (if you're a regular follower of Teacher Types you may think that I blog all the time during the week, but truthfully, I do a lot on Miss M's Child Care days and just have draft posts ready to publish throughout the week).
Jobs around the house are done - they stay done! There isn't a mini tornado following me around the house creating a mess of play dough speckles and biscuit crumbs wherever she goes. (Miss M hasn't napped since shortly after she turned two so it's been a long time and I have been looking forward to the return of the free-time-during-nap-time phase.)
Going to the shops is actually a possibility
If I'm lucky and Little Man actually sleeps soundly in his pram - I feel like I'm shopping on my own. Luxury! I can take my time, think about my purchases, try things on, wander the shops and be sure to get everything on my list. Now this doesn't happen every time, but it's sure is easier than with two of them!
I feel that I can be a better mother...
*cue the teary tears...
A day of Miss M at Child Care is giving me the chance to 'breathe and reboot'. I have more effort and energy to play with Miss M and give her the attention she needs. My patience is no longer worn thin and I feel like we are back on track. They say that parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world, and I personally believe that we deserve a break from time to time. I let go of the mummy guilt and told myself that I deserve it.
I think this is one of those many personal parenting decisions that we all make along the way. And everyone's circumstances are different (money, family support, access to child care, personal beliefs, and if the older child was already in care before baby number 2 came along)... Thanks for respecting our decision to do what's best for our family.
I'd love to hear your thoughts and stories.
Linking with Jess.
Linking with Jess.