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Should you send your child back to daycare? Experts weigh in

Posted at 12:55 AM, Aug 21, 2020

As schools start re-opening around the country, daycare and early childhood education centers are opening too.

A question on the mind of parents is, "Should you send your toddler or preschooler back?"

Like every other working mom, Danielle Green admits it's challenging. She basically has two jobs. Her career as a scientist, and her around-the-clock job of mom to 2-year-old Corey and 6-month-old Dylan keeps her busy.

“Having children is a full-time job in itself so it turns more into a full-time job watching kids during the day and then doing the work during nap and evening,” Green said.

It’s not only exhausting, but she says it's 100 percent not realistic.

“It adds a lot of stress for parents,” Green said. “For me, it added a lot of stress because we want to dedicate as much time as we can to our kids and so I took the path to dedicating everything to my kids and doing the work while the kids were sleeping.”

So, when her daycare opened back up, Green and her husband talked and decided it was time.

“There’s uncertainty in sending a child to daycare during a pandemic, but if we’re being realistic, eventually our kids are going to have to go back to school, so the question becomes at what point do we re-enroll them,” Green said.

It's a topic that parents all around the country are discussing, because we all know it’s hard to do both. Parenting expert Gigi Schweikert said give up the dream of doing it all because no one can.

“What I know as a working parent of four is that you can’t give your work 100% and you can’t give your children 100%, so having your children in childcare gives them the opportunity to have the education, socialization and guidance they need while you as a working parent can have that individualized concentrated time to give work your full attention,”Schweikert said.

But to send your children back during a pandemic isn't easy. You have to do quite a bit of homework, make sure no one is allowed in the center aside from your child and staff members, and review all the protective measures for your county and state.

Things like temperature checks, masks and face shields are being required at some daycares. Experts suggest inquiring about ventilation and cleanliness. And get parent referrals. A lot of them.

“What really is important is trust. You’re going to need to check off all the boxes of making sure people are cleaning, making sure air is really good. Instinctually once you make that checklist, you have to say as a parent, 'Do I trust these people with my most important thing which is my child,'” Schweikert said.

There are some things that might be missing because of COVID-19, like parent and teacher visits. Some facilities like Lightbridge Academy are now reliant on electronics and in-center cameras.

Green said she's confident in her decision. Her boys are happy and healthy every day, and she feels confident that she's successfully managing her career.

“It makes me feel good to know that the daycare is actually practicing the appropriate safety precautions and wearing the appropriate protective equipment, taking temperatures, it is an added measure,” Green said.