Help my 4-year-old learn to love daycare
July 19, 2010 9:56 AM Subscribe
I recently started a new full-time job. My 4-1/2-year-old hates daycare. What can I do to make this better?
posted by libraryhead to Human Relations (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I recently started a new full-time job. I had been working part-time freelance, but felt like I needed to get my career back on track. After applying for a great, great many positions, I was lucky enough to land interesting work for one of the best companies in my field. There are down sides, including a overlong commute (usually about 70 minutes; up to 90 minutes when traffic is at its worst), but given the state of the economy and my recent spotty work history, there is really no question of giving up this job.
My two daughters are M, 4 1/2, and K, almost 2. For the past three weeks they have been going to daycare full time (7 am-6 pm, M-F). The center has 5 classes and maybe 60-80 kids altogether. The girls are in separate rooms and rarely see each other during the day. Prior to my starting this job, M was going to preschool two mornings a week and both girls were going to a nearby family’s house in the afternoons.
I know three weeks isn't that long, but I feel like they should be adjusting to the new situation by now. The little one is doing OK. She typically cries when I drop her off, but the teacher distracts her and normally she has stopped before I make it to the next room. M, however, is another matter. She doesn't want to go, says she wants me to stay home and be with her. She was fine the first week or so, but now every day the dropoff is more wrenching than the day before (lots of tears, pleas for one more hug and kiss, etc). I don’t linger and according to the teacher she does settle down after I leave. I think she has an OK time during the day. When I come pick her up she usually seems happy (if hungry) and talks nonstop about what she did that day. She's pretty outgoing and seems to be making friends.
I'm not really sure what the issue is, other than she just misses me and her little sister. My impression is the teachers are more businesslike compared to her former babysitter and preschool teacher, who were both very warm, loving, momlike, in demeanor. I have no reason to suspect any kind of mistreatment.
So, I'm wondering if what's going on with M reflects a normal adjustment period, compounded by her admittedly dramatic personality? Or if this situation is just a bad fit for her and I need to find a more "family"-like environment?
Parents of MeFi, what would you do? Try to wait it out? Find a new daycare or babysitter? And what should I tell my daughter in the mean time? I hate to see her unhappy, but I don't want to make promises I can't keep. Any suggestions on making this transition easier?