Just the other day a mommy friend was narrating how the daycare in-charge in her child’s school observed that parents are reluctant to pick their children up even at 7 pm. I think, the implied meaning of the jab is that the parents (read mothers) don’t want to do what is “their” job. Why are mothers often made to feel guilty for sending their kids away from home for so long?

Across cities, if you look around, there are a number of Pre-School and Daycare centres in any neighbourhood. These buildings with brightly-coloured walls and kid-friendly images are hard to miss out. But have these daycare centres been able to instil enough confidence among parents as a second home for their children? Or are we still caught up in the social stigma that only a selfish mother can let her child stay away from home for an entire length of the day while she roams freely in the outside world?

Key Takeaways

  • When both parents have to go to work and there is no extended family to fall back on what do people do?
  • Have daycare centres been able to instil enough confidence among parents as a second home for their children?
  • Daycare centres can be great places for kids to meet other kids of their age, even older ones, and help them to learn how to socialize.

So, when both parents have to go to work and there is no extended family to fall back on what do people do? The most common choice is to engage a house help or an ayah and entrust her with the household and the child, but this has its own set of challenges as most often people who are entrusted with the responsibility of caregiving are not trained. Some also prefer to put their children in home-based child care centres, these are one of the places in the neighbourhood, generally run by homemakers, but you have to be really lucky to find a set up like this.

The most common choice is to engage a house help or an ayah and entrust her with the household and the child, but this has its own set of challenges as most often people who are entrusted with the responsibility of caregiving are not trained.

Even though daycare centres are mushrooming in every corner especially in metro cities, they are still not the first choice when it comes to entrusting someone as caretakers for their children. The first reason behind this is our societal construct which opines that a mother’s place is at home and she should not delegate this duty to anybody else, and keeping a child outside of the home is unthinkable to many.

But with nuclear families on the rise, more and more urban mothers choosing to stay back in the workforce and a lack of skilled support around us, isn’t it better to give a structured set up like daycares a chance?

Putting your child in daycare is sharing your childcare responsibilities with a trained professional, not transferring it.

Daycare centres can be great places for kids to meet other kids of their age, even older ones, and help them to learn how to socialize. For toddlers going to daycare can be their first lesson in following a schedule. Moreover, spending time away from parents is also a lesson in becoming independent. Yes, physical safety, cleanliness, infrastructure and staff qualification are things parents need to consider before putting their kid in daycare.

But first and foremost, we need to look at working mothers in a different light. Putting your child in daycare is sharing your childcare responsibilities with a trained professional, not transferring it. Looking after her family is still a top priority of a mother but if daycares can help her reclaim a bit of her good old life isn’t it a viable and safe alternative?

The views expressed are the author’s own.

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