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I and my partner both work in software companies. There are only two of us living together.

So, if we put the baby in a playschool for around 7 hours, daily, after he is one year old, can it cause any psychological issues to baby?

By psychological issues, I mean:
1. Detachment from parents.
2. Aggressive behavior.
3. Being stubborn.
etc.

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4 Answers

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My kids have been in and out of daycares at various ages throughout their lives. My son started daycare when he was 6 weeks old and continued there until he was almost 2 1/2 years old when I resigned from my teaching job and became a SAHM when my daughter was born. Shortly after my daughter was born, I enrolled my son in a mothers-day-out program which met 2 days a week from 9 am to 2 pm. When we finally moved for my husband's job when my son was 3, he and my daughter were at home with me full-time until he was 3 1/2 when I put them both back in daycare part-time (3 days a week). When I finally found a job, they both went into daycare full-time again. So...we've done it all. My daughter was at home full-time with me from the time she was born until she was just over a year old.

My daughter took to daycare immediately at 1 1/2. She enjoys it thoroughly. That doesn't mean she doesn't have her bad days, but those occur whether a child is home all the time or a daycare child. My son had a more difficult time adjusting to daycare after we pulled him out and put him back in. Now that he's back into the swing of things, he loves it.

Compared to their cousins (4 of whom are mostly stay-at-home kids and all around the same ages as my kids), they are better socially adjusted and more independent. My two nephews are MUCH more aggressive than my son is and they only recently (within the past year or so) started attending any form of daycare and that is part-time. Up until then, they were cared for in the home by a nanny. My nieces, while not aggressive, are VERY attached to their mother. In fact, my SIL has never been able to put them in any form of daycare because they simply scream and cry for her the whole time she's gone. When my SIL or BIL cannot be there to care for them, they have a series of nannies that fill in as needed.

My two kids and my final niece (who is the same age as my daughter) have all attended daycare on a fairly regular basis, and none of us feel that our child(ren) suffer(s) any kind of attachment issues. I like to work and I am a better parent when I work. I'm miserable as a stay-at-home-mom. My husband and I go out of our way to make sure that the time that we spend with our kids is good, quality time. We play, we read books, we go places, we visit our family that lives out of state. Our kids are happy, well-adjusted, social little people who are happy to see me when I pick them up from daycare everyday and tell me about their day. But when we're at home, it's not like they start asking for Miss Limor or Miss Keila if they're sad, hurt, unhappy, tired, or sick. They still want Mommy and Daddy.

As for stubbornness, my kids are just stubborn. My daughter was stubborn before she ever started daycare.

Truthfully, daycare is initially harder on the parent than it is the child. Your child might cry when you drop him/her off for the first couple of weeks until they figure everything out. It's a lot for a little brain to take in: a new figurehead, a new routine, new food (probably), perhaps a new naptime, new other little people milling around all the time. Once they get into the swing of things, though, that should go away. You, as a parent, will suffer from feelings of guilt and worry that your child will feel abandoned.

Go visit any daycare you're considering putting your child in to. Talk with the teachers, the director, other parents. Observe the children. Do they appear happy? Are their needs attended to promptly by their teachers and caregivers? If your state/country/whatever does it, check into the daycare's credentials. This is usually available online these days. Have they had any recent complaints? What were those complaints? Were the complaints resolved and how? Drop in unannounced so you can see how the daycare is run when they don't know you're coming. This will help you make a better decision about where you want to place your child and help you feel more confident about the decision you've made.

Your biggest concern after you put your child in daycare is going to be illness. Your child is going to be sick with something a lot. Between Halloween and Christmas last year, my daughter had hand, foot, and mouth disease, roseola, and RSV. This is just how things go. Kids bring illnesses to school and pass them around--especially in the 1-2 years age group where they just put everything in their mouths. After about the first year, though, your child will suddenly have the immune system of a bull. My son rarely if ever gets sick with anything more serious than the occasional cold. My daughter hasn't really been sick in months now.

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I agree with Rory and Urbycoz.

My son has been in daycare since he was about 5 months old, first with a friend of my wife who was a stay-at-home-mom with 3 girls of her own not yet in school, and then with a professional home daycare run by a wonderful woman who is responsible for 6-7 children full-time during the day.

Aside from my son having an early fascination with blonde girls (the mother and all three girls in the first home were blonde), the experiences we've had with daycare have been overwhelmingly positive, despite our concerns.

When we first started, almost all of the children were older than my son. However, with the supervised interactions, the older children provided models from which my son was able to quickly learn how to interact with other children.

Now there are several younger children, and my son has learned the rudiments of age appropriate interactions (he is much gentler with littler children, and knows that it is better to give hugs to an infant or younger toddler than it is to try and play "tag", even though "tag" is one of his favorite games with the older children).

We've seen absolutely no sign of detachment from us. Our son is very affectionate, friendly, and one of the happiest children I've ever met (granted, I'm biased, but quite honestly, he smiles and laughs at least 95% of his waking time). He doesn't get upset when I drop him off in the mornings (so long as he gets his hug goodbye!), and is always happy to see me when I pick him up in the afternoon (although if he's in the middle of doing something with the other kids, he may not be quite ready to stop what he's doing just because I showed up).

He talks quite happily about going to play with his friends in daycare, although he gives equal weight to the other friends and relatives his age that he sees outside of daycare.

We have no problems leaving him with relatives that he knows (his grandparents) at times when we need a babysitter, and rarely cries when we leave (and on those occasions, it doesn't last more than 3 minutes after we're out of sight).

As for being stubborn... well, our son is stubborn, there's no doubt about that, but I do have to question any assumption that daycare is the cause, or even a contributing factor.

The issue he's most stubborn about is eating, and trying new foods. However, in daycare, he eats literally anything that the daycare provider gives to him, and apparently without complaint. For us, it has become a game to try and avoid eating anything new with us, but we're getting past that. However, if our daycare provider hadn't told us repeatedly how readily he eats a huge assortment of foods, we likely would not have pushed so hard for him to eat a varied diet for us, as well, and we would probably have caved in to accepting that our son was just a "picky eater".

So, to address your three main concerns: 1. Does he show detachment from his parents? Absolutely not! 2. Does he show aggressive behavior? Absolutely not! In fact, his cousin, who is exclusively cared for by his stay-at-home-mother, is far, far more aggressive than my son, and his parents attribute it to not having any experience playing with younger children. 3. Is he stubborn? Yes, but daycare has actually provided us tools to help deal with that stubbornness slightly better than we might have without it, and I don't see any reason to blame daycare for the stubbornness in the first place (how many 2 year olds aren't stubborn, anyway?).

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From my experience with my 3 kids, and those of my friends, I would suggest that you are more likely to end up with better adjusted kids if they get early exposure to playschool, kindergarten etc.

A well run playschool gives the child the opportunity to interact properly with his/her peers, under the guidance of staff who are experienced in doing this. They get more stimulation than a tired parent can give.

Having the opportunity for both parents to get back to full-time work and 'normality' is also valuable, as even the best behaved child can frustrate parents at times, so the possibility of handing them over and doing adult things helps your mental state.

My 3 are definitely not detached, and in fact are very socially integrated both with us,and with peer groups, social networks etc. They also volunteer for local community groups, and while occasionally stubborn, I understand they are no worse than others :-)

All three of ours went into nursery part time from around 6 months and then full time at 9 months so my wife could go back to work.

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What age would you recommend to throw the children in the playschool? –  TheIndependentAquarius Nov 9 '12 at 8:48
    
My son started nursery at 4 months. (We'd rather have waited, but circumstances dictated.) It's really not right to think of it as "throwing" them in. Nursery/playschool is a fun and caring place where your child can develop and learn, with trained professionals to help. That said, it's important not to leave your child somewhere you don't feel comfortable with. Maybe you could look at some nurseries, and talk to the staff? –  Urbycoz Nov 9 '12 at 9:01
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Having worked in a nursery for several years, I can say that it is very common for parents to have their child or children come "full-time"- that is 7-8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Sometimes from as young as 3 months. Mostly, this was not the parents' ideal plan, but bills need to be paid, so sometimes circumstances must dictate.

In my experience, what tends to happen is that the child will soon adjust to the new routine, and learn to enjoy it. They may even start nagging in the morning to be taken to nursery, because they know it is part of their routine. It's easy to forget, but nurseries are places designed to entertain, educate and stimulate children. Plus, they learn social interaction skills with other children, that are difficult to replicate at home.

So, in my opinion, there certainly is no risk of "damaging" the child psychologically. Speaking now, as a parent, I would say that the bigger psychological effect is on the parent, who feels they are not spending as much time with their child as they would like. What you (we) must remember is that we are not abandonning our child- we are putting them in a safe and caring environment, so we can go out and earn to money to give them a good life.

I should add that I have observed the phenomenon of children "playing up" for their parents after a long day at nursery. This is probably a mixture of tiredness, and (some suggest) "punishing" their parents for leaving them at nursery all day. Not all children do this, and I don't think it is fair to read too much into it.

Lastly, I want to say that the children who found nursery most traumatic were the ones who only came "occasionally". I distinctly remember one little boy (aged 3) who came on average only one afternoon a month. For almost a year, that afternoon was spent in tears. Whereas the children who came regularly settled very quickly and enjoyed it.

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Will these children not feel "detached" from their parents in a long run? –  TheIndependentAquarius Nov 9 '12 at 8:44
    
That's quite subjective... I don't think so. Children soon adjust to their circumstances and learn to love them. It would never occur to them that anything could be different. –  Urbycoz Nov 9 '12 at 8:57
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