The Daycare Zombies - the transition to daycare

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


posted by Romy (@daddontlie)

The Daycare Zombies - the transition to daycare

Breaking your kid in for the world of daycare

When I brought my son Kyrie to his first day of daycare, I walked in the room and I felt like I was surrounded by zombies. These weren't your ordinary zombies, these were infants slowly hobbling towards me...arms out...crying...eventually latching onto my leg....looking for a hug, in hopes that either my wife or I would pick them up. One little boy even came up to me, clamped onto my legs and said "Mama."

Is this what I'm paying the big daycare bucks for? Paying money for Kyrie to get less attention than he was getting for twelve straight months at home? 

Last week was our first week of daycare transition where our son slowly got used to the daycare setting, his teachers and the day-to-day routine. His new world was a place full of strangers, a place full of other babies that are almost as cute as my son, all in a rat race to get the daycare worker's attention. The first day started off with him going in for two hours with my my wife and I, and ended on the fifth day with him attending on his own for the full day in this new daycare world.

It was a tough week including the fact that I went back to work from my parental leave partway through this transition. On his second day, I had the duty of dropping him off to daycare for his first two hours on his own. I was convinced he would do fine, especially after spending two hours with us in attendance the day before and seemed to have no problems adjusting. I left the daycare confident and he seemed in good spirits as I watched him play with the daycare toys as I quietly snuck out after saying a quick goodbye. I enjoyed my time while I was out, went out to lunch with my wife Naomi and even took some time for myself, relaxing with a coffee while Kyrie was out 'enjoying the daycare'.

Two hours had passed and I walked into that daycare to pick Kyrie up and to my rookie parent surprise, he was visibly upset. Tears on his face, he latched onto me tightly and he wanted to get the hell out of that place. It turns out that he refused to eat lunch and he cried for pretty much the whole time after he realized I had left. The daycare staff assured me this was normal, but after that visit, I instantly thought of quitting my job and being a stay-at-home dad for the rest of his childhood. Day 2 of the transition wasn't only tough for him, it was tough for me to see him upset.

I had to think about it...millions of parents do this whole process on a day-to-day basis, and they've come to grips with it. I just had to get used to this fact in this new stage of my parenting career. Naomi and I just had to grin and bear it as we both went to work for the rest of that week.

One week later, we realized that the daycare staff were right, it didn't take Kyrie long to adjust. Seriously, I know...this daycare has webcams, so I got to watch it first hand like I was watching the live feeds on Big Brother. He went from not napping, not eating and crying on his first day to one of those daycare zombie babies I saw on the first day that can actually play with other kids, have naps and eat lunch. Mind you, he still is a bit needy, crying periodically while he tries to find an adult to pick him up. But overall, I've been impressed at how well he has adjusted in such a short amount of time.

As a parent who just wants him to be happy 24/7, having him in daycare sucks, but it's just one of those difficult parts of being a parent. I'm sure eventually he'll enjoy those days in daycare and be excited to jump out of the car to see his friends. The daycare staff are well-trained and I feel like he's in good hands while we're away at work. Plus, I can always catch a glimpse of him on the webcam.

If there's any consolation on the whole daycare transition, my son really lets us know how much he appreciates us when he gets home. There's lots more hugs and kisses from him and there's a lot of latching onto us, letting us know "Don't ever leave me again...EVER."

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Romy is a dad, husband and blogger based out of Halifax.  He also writes about hoops too at HipHoopJunkies.com.  For dirty diaper stories,  follow him on Twitter @DadDontLie and for hoops talk, follow @RomyAquino