Since starting Kaiden in daycare at 6 months old, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about why we went down that path, why we didn’t go with a nanny, how we survived the daycare germs, etc.
It’s been 1.5 years since that time, so I thought I’d share our experience and insights for anyone who also ‘struggled’ with the question of which childcare option to choose.
NOTE: I’m starting and ending this post with the same sentiment – this is not a daycare vs. all other childcare options post. This is simply about our experiences to date!
When Vishnu and I moved to Chicago in June 2016, we weren’t pregnant, and although we were trying, childcare honestly wasn’t something we were thinking about at the time. So when it came time to choose a place to live, we picked the building we did for lots of different reasons but not because there was a good daycare nearby.
Fast forward to three months into my pregnancy. We went to visit my friend Erin and her new baby at the time. Vishnu and her husband were chatting when Shahan asked V about our childcare plans. He mentioned that the city daycares have waiting lists (sometimes a year or longer). On our way home, Vishnu told me about this convo and how we needed to get on it quickly.
Within a week, we had appointments at all the daycares in area. Luckily, the one we absolutely loved had an opening for January 2018 in the young infant room. AND it ended up being the closest option in terms of proximity to our apartment.
Why Not a Nanny
So K’s school is four blocks from where we live. It’s on the way to both the train for Vishnu and downtown for me. We are VERY lucky that we can just walk him there so easily.
We honestly didn’t consider a nanny because (at the time) we didn’t feel comfortable leaving K home with someone who would essentially be a total stranger. Of course, we know get that you interview people and all that, but at the time, it wasn’t something we wanted to do given the school was so close to us. Vishnu was also really adamant about daycare for the social aspect. We wanted K to be around other kids from a younger age. K’s school also does music class, yoga and lots of other fun learning activities. Not all nanny’s are former educators, so we definitely took this into consideration. We also loved the fact that K could attend the same school all the way to pre-K if needed.
And finally, from a logistical standpoint, we live in a small apartment, where my ‘office’ is a small corner between the kitchen and the living area. I work from home a lot. If we had a nanny, I would have to go to the office every day or find another workspace. Vishnu’s schedule also varies sometimes. So given the lack of consistency, daycare felt like a good choice for us.
Surviving the Daycare Germs
When I talk to friends who are considering putting their kid in daycare, the first question that inevitably comes up is, “Are the germs that bad?” I’m here to tell you that they are in fact HORRIBLE!
Not to scare anyone, but within the first week of Kaiden starting school, he had a nasty stomach bug that literally took me and Vishnu down too.
Let’s put it this way. 2018 was hell in terms of K being sick. We (sometimes it really was the collective we) experienced everything from colds to stomach bugs to hand foot mouth to Roseola to ear infections to random fevers.
BUT…the plus side to all of that is K’s immune systems is definitely stronger now. 2019 has been pretty good to us so far. He’s only had two random fevers that went away in a couple of days. He’s also had a runny nose here and there but that too goes away fairly quickly.
From what I’ve been told (by other daycare parents) is that while the first 12-18 months are rough, your kids are so much less likely to get sick when they enter pre-K and beyond. FINGERS CROSSED!
The bottom line is if you put your kid in daycare expect them to be sick for a while. And once you’re past that, relish in it!
Daycare, especially where we send K, is expensive. It’s essentially rent 2.0 for us. However, this is the place we wanted, so we sucked it up.
In terms of the comparison between a nanny and daycare, daycare still works out to be cheaper in Chicago, even when using the lowest hourly rate.
What I Would Have Done Differently Knowing What I Know Now
Well, for starters, I wish I could’ve taken off a whole year to be with K. But that wasn’t possible. I got 16 weeks of maternity leave and then my dad came to watch K for a couple of months to close the gap. My dad did offer to stay with us until Kaiden turned one, but we told him it was ok. I didn’t want to take him away from my mom for so long!
I don’t know what Vishnu would say, but in all honesty, I wish we had waited until K was one to start daycare. Looking back, six months feels a little too young. But we did what we did with the information and knowledge we had on hand at the time. #noregrets
How Kaiden is Doing in Daycare Now
Kaiden adjusted quite well to daycare from the beginning. The only time he has trouble is when he transitions to a new classroom. Other than that, he loves school. Right now, I think yoga Tuesday is his favorite.
I think you’ll hear this from a lot of daycare parents, but kids are so different when they’re there versus at home. K eats the majority of his food at school (even things he won’t touch at home). He naps for the full two hours, which as you guys know, is hit or miss at home. It’s honestly great!
Well, I think that covers the question of why we chose to send K to daycare. Like I said, this was not meant to be a daycare vs. all other options type of posts. I do think it gets a bad rep sometimes, so I want to give parents-to-be and new parents some sense of relief that you’re not bad parents for sending your kid to daycare! Any option that works for you and your child is a GREAT ONE!
If I missed anything or if you have any additional questions, leave a comment below or send me an email!