Mommy’s Diary: First Time Daycare

Kiko having recently turned one and she being incredibly social, we decided she might enjoy the chance to play with some other children on a regular basis. So, we decided to use a nearby daycare once a week. We have been fortunate enough not to have to use daycare until now thanks to my husband and mom’s help.

The first day went well. She played, napped once but as soon as she saw me at the end of the day she broke down in tears. I felt bad for her, since it must have been stressful to have been around with a bunch of strangers all day long. The second time we used the daycare, it was not such a good experience. She did not cry like the last time, but she came back super thirsty, hungry and tired. According to them she only napped once for about 30 minutes, although she still naps twice a day when she is at home. She finished 3 bottles of 200ml when we got home, and I just wondered why the daycare people didn’t give her enough to drink?! Also, they asked me her napping schedule and I specifically requested to put her down around a certain time, but apparently they did not feel that instruction acceptable. I was so frustrated because her schedule was off and after getting home we battled until bed time on account of our shared crankiness.

We use the daycare only once a week, so I will see how it goes the next few weeks.. What is your experience with daycare? If you are working, who takes care of your kids? Any advice?

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  1. Hi Chie – I read this post the other day and thought for sure you would gets lots of advice from other Moms, but now I feel I should jump in with my experiences. I have two children who have gone to daycare by 1 year of age (end of maternity leave in Canada), and I am also the president of our daycare’s Board of Directors, so I’ve seen all sides of things. Basically, if you are not comfortable with something, please ask the caregivers. They will start to know your child intimately, and they can tell you what is happening minute by minute. Often when children first start attending daycare, they have a lot of stimulation and may have a hard time settling down for a nap or even stopping long enough to eat! I can tell you that almost every mother who has children at our daycare has come close to deciding to withdraw their child after the first few difficult days. (In my experience, my son would not nap for the first few weeks and my daughter did not take a bottle for almost 2 MONTHS! ) It’s not that they were unhappy or being neglected, it’s just a new environment that takes some getting used to. After a while they will start to treat the daycare as just another variation of home.

    There will be some difficult days where they won’t eat or sleep, and then come home tired, but those happen at home too, don’t they? (it’s just that when we are paying someone else to do it, we have higher expectations! ;) If there is any suspicion of neglect, I would talk to the director or to other parents and get some information.

    Good luck, and I’m sure Kiko will love playing with all her new friends soon enough!

    • Hi Vicki, thanks for your comment! First of all, I have no idea how you do it all – working, being a board of director, mom of two and sewing?! You are a super woman! I’m relieved to hear that it takes a while for kids to get used to the daycare. Kiko is there only once a week, so it might take her even longer..I dont know. I do not think they are purposely neglecting her or anything. I will mention the drink and nap thing next time I go and see how they will do. Hopefully overtime it will get better! Thanks for your advice:)

      P.S. It’s interesting to hear about other country’s maternity leave. In Japan it is normal to take 1-2 years of maternity leave, but I wonder if a woman still remembers all the stuff around work after 2 years of break? In the States, maternity leave is so short – as short as 1 month! Mine was 4 months. It was short, but at the end I was ready to go back to work.

      • Oh just saw your MMM post! The picture with your daughter is so sweet!

        • Thanks Chie; I think she is very sweet (usually). And how do I do it all? I don’t sleep as much as I used to, and I get sick a lot. I don’t recommend it. ;)

          • lol! I was sick last week..this is my 4th time this year. Before that, I rarely caught a cold. Now everytime Kiko gets sick, I get sick too. I can’t imagine having more kids… makes me feel sick already.:p

  2. Hi,

    I enjoy reading your mummy series and I am really amazed by how well you’re coping with a baby, a day job, and still have time for sewing and blogging!

    my boys started daycare when they were 18 months old but they became sick every week and i had to withdraw them from the centre. when they were 2 years old, i enrolled them into another daycare centre and they’ve been there since then! it has been 9 months since they enrolled in the new centre but there are still tears and struggles on most days. i think it’s probably because boys are more attached to their mothers :(

    the centre also plans many activities such as Easter Egg Hunt and Mothers’ Day Celebration and parents are invited to join in the activities. i usually contact the director of the centre when i have any feedback on the quality of service/care me or my children are getting. i will also write down any special instructions or concerns i have in a notebook and the teachers will respond to my requests because they will check the notebook daily.

    children have no problems adjusting to new environments and they will learn to be more social and independent in the daycare environment. i suggest you speak to the centre staff regarding your concerns. from my experience, action will definitely be taken :)

    take care and have fun watching kiko grow!


    • Hi CJ! Thanks for your kind comment:) It’s interesting to hear that the first daycare your boys enrolled didnt work out and the second one did! We looked at two daycares as well. The first one was closer, but did not have much space. It was a small building, and the kids were in 8 tatami mat room (quite small), and I didn’t like it at all. The second one is more spacious and has garden and playgrounds and stuff, so we decided on the latter. Easter Egg Hunt and Mother’s Day Celebration sounds fun! :)

  3. Fruitbat says:

    Hi Chie,

    My mom runs a daycare and both my kids have attended daycare (not with my mom though). It makes sense that it would be hard for a little person to get used to a new place and new people, so I would expect it to be hard the first few times, especially with the long gap (a week) in between. I bet as she gets to know the people and the place she’ll be more comfortable and excited to see her friends.

    I agree that you can ask your caretakers for what you want; but they are managing multiple children per adult, and it may be hard for them to alter their system (working for all the other kids) for your child. What I would expect, though, is (as the earlier commenter says) for them to get to know your child intimately and have her best interests at heart. So, for example, they might say “yes, it is hard for her to move to napping at the same time as the other children, and when she’s sad or overtired we make a special effort to hold her and take care of her”. Children are marvelously adaptable. I bet she’ll end up loving it.

    best of luck!

    • Hello, thank you for your advice! I will certainly try to talk to the caretakers next time. Although I don’t know if I will take Kiko there this week since she is sick. Do American daycares take sick kids? In Japan, they don’t. I just wonder what the difference would be..

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