This is the question that we come across most often while interacting with parents who are considering Daycare for their “new born”. In my observation, one of the biggest factors that works in the background is “Mother’s Guilt”. There is this belief that sending the child to daycare is inherently a wrong thing to do and she is doing it just for her career and this would label her as “Bad Selfish Mother”.
Then there are other factors like – what would people (read in-laws) say and costs etc. but more often than not it is the “Mother’s Guilt” which prevents people from opting for a Daycare.
Sure sacrificing career and social life to sit at home being a full-time mother gets you approval from people who believe that once a woman becomes a mother she ceases to be anything else (read wife, professional, friend), but what happens to the little infant in the process of taking these approvals? What’s the cost you pay for these approvals? Actually your child pays more than you. You only loose your job satisfaction, financial independence, self-worth and social life which you can possibly get back after few years but the child looses all important crucial early years of life when s/he could have grown the most and learned the required life skills to be happy, intelligent, independent and healthy for all her life. Most natural environment for raising kids is in a community where there are multiple adults looking after multiple kids and everyone is enjoying socializing with their peer group.
If you look at our modern homes, we hardly have any space at our homes for kids to walk freely and grow. Mostly our homes are designed for adults and kids are forced to adjust accordingly. We hardly have time on a daily basis to socialize where our children can also interact with same age children. In fact as a parent myself, I always wanted to spend lots of time with my own twins but after cuddling and hugging for 10-20 mins I was really clueless of what to do next and always ended up doing something else. Mostly started checking my emails on the phone and Facebook or called my partner to discuss business etc. and invariably engaged kids into TV or Video game or with the maid.
Children are also human and like any other human they also love to be around with friends and have fun playing and talking. They need lots of space to roll and turn. They need somebody to talk to them all times. They want to be exposed to different taste buds. These are all the aspects which help a child grow and most of these are available in almost all Daycare centers these days, though their degree of effectiveness may vary a lot.
We have seen so many kids at the age of 12+ months and still don’t walk while the kids who came at 3-4 months of age are walking by the time they turn 9 Months. There are examples of kids being very fussy and choosy about what they eat, how they eat and when they eat, insisting that only mother feed them etc. whereas when eating with group of their friends they eat on their own, pickup new tastes very fast, enjoy what they eat and hence digest well. That is what being human is all about. Human beings are social animals! Remember!
If you look at ongoing researches as well lot of them suggests that children in quality daycare centers may even have an intellectual edge over those in other kinds of care.