Center-based Childcare is Better Than Grandma

Sundays are just blissful for me, and I’ve often blogged about Sunday lunches with my grandbabies. Ava is in second grade, Ella is three and just started preschool for the first time, and we were blessed this past year with our first grandson, Holton. He delights us. I was with him this past Sunday and marveled at how much he has learned in his brief 11 months. He is SO smart! But of course he is—he attends a Children’s Choice and has amazing parents. As his grandmother, however, I deal with a certain amount of guilt because I would love to be there for him every moment even though I know that he attends a great center. I understand how parents and grandparents feel when they bring their children to us each day.

Well, imagine my mixed emotions when I ran across this research yesterday. According to Raquel Bernal of the Universidad de los Andes in Colombia and Michael P. Keane of the University of New South Wales:

For every year that a young child spends being cared for by a grandmother or other relative while the mother works, his or her test scores at age 3 to 6 drop by 2.6%. Formal, center-based child care has no such adverse effect on cognitive achievement, according to the study of more than 1,000 U.S. single mothers and their children.

I am delighted to see validation for our Children’s Choice centers, and we know that what we do each day in our centers is great for children. We know that we study best practice; we hire the most compassionate, caring and loving educators; and we live out our Core Values. Having said that, I guess I was a little surprised to read that if I stayed home and kept my sweet baby Holton that I, his Dee Dee, would most likely lower his test scores. Oh well … looks like we will both remain at Children’s Choice since it is working so well for us. He loves it and so do I.

At the end of the day, parents and grandparents often feel guilty about things that are really good for their children. We worry and fret when often we are doing all the right things. Parenting and raising children is about following your gut, doing what you know is right, and then embracing the moment and finding joy right where you are and enjoying the journey.

I am going to enjoy my work, enjoy my weekends with my babies, and embrace the fact that school during the week and Dee Dee on the weekends is a great combination for my grandchildren. Too much spoiling would probably do more than lower their test scores!

Just remember, “If we spend our time with regrets over yesterday and worries about what might happen tomorrow, we have no today in which to live.” Live with your children in the present. They only have one childhood, so don’t miss it by worrying about something that is probably “going right”!

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