4 Feb 2014

The Childcare Experience

As I've mentioned previously, Eli has started going to childcare twice a week.

It's a decision which was financially difficult to make as we had to consider whether it was an expense we needed on our budget especially on only one salary. We always knew the kids would go to child care prior to attending school as it was a discussion Ian and I had ages ago, so it was just a matter of when. When we found out I was pregnant with baby number two we knew that time would need to happen relatively soon for Eli. Why? Just so I could spend some one on one time with bub number 2.

I started the process again of inspecting various childcare centres and putting his name down on the crazy extensive waiting lists for the ones I liked. Then I contacted the ones I liked the last time I went through this process and fortunately one had availability and we jumped at the opportunity.

Leading up to his first full week we had a few "orientation days" or day visits where he went into the centre for a few hours and I stayed close by to the centre to gauge how he deals with the environment. First time he love it! Eli isn't shy naturally. He's not scared of new surroundings and he doesn't need convincing to participate in activities. Second time around I think he remembered that I would be leaving him there, so when I dropped him into his classroom he held my hand and dragged me along to the play area.

The following week was his first full two days at childcare. Ian decided to take the day off so he could be there to drop him off and pick him up in the afternoon. I think we all had good intentions but may have made the experience worse for Eli. When we dropped him off he cried and begged for us as we were leaving. The carer in charge of his classroom did call me later to give me a progress update on him but when we arrived that afternoon he was crying again. He didn't eat, he slept only for a few minutes and only when held, and when parents started arriving to pick up other children it upset him again.

The next day when I dropped him off he was latching onto my neck and tried to wrap his legs around my body. The carer had to peel him off me when I left and again called me later to give me an update. However when I picked him up that afternoon this time he was outside playing with other kids. When he did see me he ran up to me and gave me a hug but also left my side to play some more, which apparently is a good sign.

Over a month on and he's still adjusting. Some days he must peer out the car window and although we're still streets away from the centre, he's already saying "Ai don't want to go to ch'ald kare!" - amazes me how good his memory is. I try to put a positive spin the situation and tell him how much fun he'll have and that he gets to hang out with all his friends. Once we're in his room a teacher is still required to take him away from me but some days there aren't any tears.

It's funny cause some days, like the days he's being a handful, I'm so looking forward to dumping him at childcare, but then seeing him so upset every drop off makes me feel bad about leaving him there. I worry about how long he keeps crying after I leave, I worry he's upset the whole time he's there and I worry he's so unhappy about being there that he's not participating in anything. My biggest worry, only cause I witness it with another child when we were doing day visits, is that the carers have other children to attend to and ignore Eli even when he's clearly upset.

I've heard it may be like this for awhile and that all kids go through it.

Hope you start to look forward to going to childcare Eli. Mum and Dad love you and want you to have the right balance of experiences in life and this is the main reason why you go, even though I'm at home.

Any tips for making the childcare drop off experience less painful and stressful for everyone?

All smiles during his day visits

 First full day

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