I have a 23-month old daughter and she has been going to an individual childcare sitter since I returned to work when she was 8 weeks old. About a month ago, my husband and I decided to make a swich for more than one reason. The sitter was wonderful with our daughter and loved her as if she were family, and from our standpoint and my daughter's, the feeling was mutual. But the babysitter was somewhat unreliable from time to time (let's just say she liked to take too many vacation days which put our family into a bind), so this was our primary reason for putting her into a daycare facility. Not only that, but the daycare of our choice was on my way to work which would obviously save us on mileage and gas costs since the sitter was 5 miles out of my way each morning and each afternoon, and of course the other logical reason is for the tax cut... as we paid the sitter cash and couldn't claim it on our taxes. In today's economy we're doing everything we can to help financially!
Well, since we have put her into daycare, I've wondered if we made the right decision. For the first couple days, she seemed excited to be there, but that quickly changed to screaming her head off every day when I dropped her off, which is something that I've NEVER had to experience before because she absolutely loved her sitter. I knew the first several days would be hard, but we're finishing out our 3rd week and it only seems to be getting worse. She now starts crying the moment I slow down to pull into the daycare parking lot! Not only that, but she has went from about a 3 hour daytime nap at the sitter's house to between 30 minutes and an hour and a half at daycare. You would think with the lack of naptime sleep during the day, she would sleep better at night, but of course that isn't the case. She is sleeping less at night, is sleeping more restless, and waking up earlier in the mornings, as early sometimes as 4:30am. I feel as if she isn't receiving the rest that she needs which is a big concern of mine, but the number one problem my husband and I are having is that we just don't believe she's happy there. In the mornings when I take her inside and into her room with her playmates, she starts to climb up me like she's trying to escape, and she just seems to be afraid. In the afternoons when I pick her up though, she seems to be happy, but the moment I get her into the car, she becomes almost lethargic immediately b/c she's so exhausted. Chloe is a very personable little girl, she's not timid or shy with anyone, so this really concerns me on the crying b/c she normally gets along so well with children!
Obviously I don't want to make any hasty decisions b/c the fact is, this daycare is very convenient for Mommy and Daddy. BUT, I love my daughter more than anything and I also cannot handle seeing her this unhappy every day. She's still a little too young to tell me what is going on inside those walls, so I am basically at a loss here and don't know what to do. This is VERY hard for me and I don't know how much longer I can keep her somewhere that I don't feel she's happy. I also understand though that the daycare provides somewhat of a more structured environment, and if I don't stick with it now, we'll face the same issue when she starts preschool in a couple more years.
How do I know if this is something I need to be taking action on? Do I need to remove her from daycare and take her back to the sitter where I at least KNEW she was getting the proper attention, affection and rest? How much concern should I have with a crying baby in the mornings but a decently happy (yet exhausted) baby in the afternoons? Where do I draw the line on this and how do I know if she's just attached to Mommy or if she hates her new childcare? Is there a way to tell if she's not receiving the proper care? Can someone PLEASE help me on this?!?! I may be overanalyzing this situation but it's really tearing me apart! I know my fellow Mommies can relate b/c our children are our everything!
Thank you for your time!
A Desperate and VERY sad Mommy!