The Home Front

Politics, culture, and American life — from the family perspective.

Re: Will America Ever Be Ready for the Truth about Daycare?


Commenters want a little more from me than, “Oh, please.

Okay, I’ll go point by point on the excerpts from Ms. Saubier’s book:

A baby who spends five years at one center will lose one-third to almost half of her caregivers every twelve months or so. At any given moment, a parent’s baby could be in the arms of someone they don’t know well, or someone they have never met at all. Children in daycare are frequently cared for by strangers.

My kids were daycare babies, and our experience could not have been further from this example. We experienced low staff turnover and always knew who was taking care of our children.

I am asking parents to think about the amount of attention they pay their infants and toddlers when they are home with them on the weekends — then divide this attention by the number of children in your child’s daycare. At best, this is the amount of attention your little one can expect to receive.

New York State, where my kids spent most of their daycare days, mandated a 4:1 student-to-teacher ratio. So, my kids were always in a small group with a caregiver.

A day spent in daycare begins with abandonment. Staff members are prepared for this and employ many strategies to lessen the daily blow.

Yes. Our daycare providers were masters at dealing with “abandonment.” Their preferred technique was to hug the child at drop-off and then involve the child with his or her friends. Barbaric, I know.

When parents are told their children are miserable all day, every day, this does not speak well of the daycare center. That is why parents often hear a rose-colored version of how their child’s day is actually progressing.

Parents have responsibility to visit the daycare and see for themselves what’s going on.

“Socializing” in daycare fosters aggressive behavior because children are forced to go into survival mode. As a daycare child, if you want to play with a toy for any period of time, you must fight for it.

Nonsense. My children were taught the exact opposite at their daycare. If one child had a toy and another wanted it, the standard answer from the teacher was to discipline the student trying to take the toy. The kids were taught to respect each each other and each other’s property.

If you are a daycare child, many if not all of the following statements will apply to your life: You will not be fed a meal on demand when you are hungry. You will wait for your food while you sit in your seat. The meal will be plopped onto your tray or table. Someone will come around occasionally to help you, but you must wait. When you are finished, you will continue to wait. Eventually a wet rag will pass over your mouth and hands before you are taken out of your seat. Hopefully, at this point your bottle is ready. You will then be propped up on your pillow that has the spit up of several others on it. Then your hands will be maneuvered into position so that you may hold the bottle yourself. If you happen to drop it, you will wait again until someone notices.

“Many, if not all”? Not a single statement fits our experience.

My personal feeling is that there is no perfect answer to parenting. Daycare, stay-at-home-moms, relatives, nannys, etc. all have pluses and minuses. But to write that “the truth is that daycare is one of the greatest tragedies of modern America” is hyperbole that does nothing to help address the real reason kids are failing in this country, and that’s an epidemic of really bad parenting.


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