What can I expect from a daycare center?

Mother: “Our nine-month-old daughter goes to childcare four days a week. We have found a place that offers quality care. However, I have additional wishes. For example, I want the nurses to give her the breast milk I give her, which is more work for them than solid food. Recently a teacher asked: ‘Can your child have fruit porridge?’ I said, ‘Only if she doesn’t get less milk. You can put the milk in the fruit porridge.’ “I’ve never heard of that,” she said, “I’ll have to discuss that.” But why discuss, if I say that’s allowed, isn’t that allowed? Am I in charge of education? We are not equal partners in the care of my child, are we? For example, I have more points that I find important, for example, reading aloud daily, but do I have to push them through? Will it be at the expense of my child if I don’t? Or is she treated as ‘the child of that annoying parent?’ What can I expect from a crèche?”

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Best of both worlds

Liesbeth Groenhuijsen: “As a mother of a first child you do everything you can to do the very best. You are therefore temporarily blind that something else might also be good. A helpful thought can be: how do I ensure that she gets the very best I can offer her at home and the very best that they can offer her there at the crèche? That is, for example, the social aspect of it, the pleasure of watching other children, being able to roam freely and touch everything, and the lesson that she can learn if she has to wait her turn.

“If you do have a good crèche with enough fine basic care, then leave her behind with peace of mind, so that she does not feel your tension when you leave. If you leave your child happy, she will feel: it’s good here, I can have a good time here.

“The daily reading is then a nice evening ritual, a bit exclusive, as an intimate moment with mom or dad.”

Have an open conversation

Carolina de Weerth: “According to the latest report from the National Childcare Quality Meter from 2018, the emotional quality of crèches is generally very good, but the educational quality could be better. Things like stimulating language development and guiding interactions between children have improved considerably in recent years, but offer room for growth.

“You could use this report to inquire at your nursery: ‘How do you deal with these aspects?’ Because what you can in any case expect from a crèche is that they will listen to your concerns.

“You can also join the parents’ committee and find out how people think about these issues. Pushing through is never a good idea, but you can come up with joint suggestions and proposals.

“Sometimes we as parents need to practice the tone we use to the people who interact with our children. Now it is the leaders in the crèche, later teachers, sports instructors. It is good to have a firm footing as a parent, but it is just as important to be able to have an open, respectful conversation, also in the interest of your child. Often people have motives that you do not know. In this case, I think the decision of the leader to first ask if she can mix milk with food is very careful.”