Why a good daycare will ease separation anxiety for mother and child
When Eunice Marubu gave birth to her firstborn child on November 18, 2017, she was lucky to get a nanny who was good at her work.
So, after her three months maternity leave, it was easy for her to get back to work at Jubilee Insurance where she works as a sales and marketing personnel.
However, her comfort was short-lived after her nanny decided to leave abruptly without even giving notice.
Left with no other option, she had to call her boss and excuse herself from work that day.
Unknown to her, that was the beginning of her troubles with house girls. She hired several others unsuccessfully.
It got to a point she contemplated quitting her job to care for her son. However, before quitting, she decided to try a daycare although she was skeptical about it.
“From stories that I had heard about daycares, I was skeptical about going that route.
I was worried about population, him contracting diseases and so many other worries. My first experience with daycare was not all rosy,” she says.
The first time Eunice dropped her son at the daycare, he was just nine months.
She left him crying. She was also worried because the centre had around 20 children and she couldn’t stop wondering if her child would receive quality care.
She couldn’t concentrate on her work thus had an unproductive day. Luckily the daycare was near her place of work and she went to check on him about four times. That was the routine afterward.
After a few weeks, her worst fears happened, her son got a skin disease. Luckily it was treated.
Despite that, she had to take a few days leave to nurse him before moving him to another daycare.
For the second centre, she chose a quality one that had several caregivers, was less populated, and had spacious rooms.
There the child blended in so well and until the day the Ministry of Health closed all schools due to Covid-19 pandemic, she didn’t have any problems at all.
According to her, the care her son received was top notch and this helped her fully concentrate on her work since she had nothing to worry about.
Though the amount she paid for her child to receive quality care is high, she has no regrets.
She say access to quality child care has the potential to make working mothers productive at work as they don’t have to worry about their children.
“As a working mum, I believe it is important to have quality daycares. With a happy and healthy baby, I am also productive in my place of work,” Eunice reveals
According to her, when looking for quality daycare, one should look for one that has spacious rooms and a play area, has more than one caregiver, and has beds unlike where caregivers spread mattresses on the floor.
Her wish is that more employers should embrace in-house daycares at the workplace to ensure that all working mothers are relaxed and able to do their best without any stress.
Kerry Türk, a childcare consultant and the Founder and Director of the Mother Goose Kenya defines a quality childcare centre as one that supports and nourishes the holistic development of a child.
It focuses mostly on the four main domains of development, which are; social and emotional, physical, language and communication, and cognitive.
“The world of the children (home, daycare, public places and other places that a child could be) should promote play.
Through play, the child will learn. Through learning, the child will reach their development milestone touching all the four domains of development,” explains Kerry.
According to Kerry, some of the benefits employees have when their children are receiving quality childcare are; job concentration and increased productivity due to a higher level of focus and peace of mind, increased staff retention and as a result, there is a reduction in the number of missed working days/ late arrivals and early departure.
“There is also improved loyalty since there is a higher rate of return after maternity leave.
Additionally, career mums are able to have work-life balance since there are less child-related distractions, convenience, and reliable service, as well as increased family time,” adds Kerry.
On his part, Kabii Thuo a sociologist with an interest in research in human behaviour says that all institutions and individuals offering childcare should ensure that they offer quality care since working mothers need a facility that can facilitate work and motherhood without overly hurting either.
“Changing the environment helps a child to grow and to gain valuable social skills as well as cognitive development.
A daycare in this case, has the added bonus of offering, the child an outing and a stimulus variation from the monotony of the home.
Daycare is also psychologically useful in bridging the gap left by the mother who has to go to work,” says Kabii.
According to him, the developmental needs for a child are effectively met when they are given an environment that enables psychosocial growth.
Such an environment ought to provide basic normative care such as food, sleep, bonding and play as well as specific child unique needs.
“My advice to the working woman going the daycare way is simple: the daycare serves a supplementary role only; the role of the mother cannot be replaced.
Start where you left in the morning and assume the daycare just held your child for you,” he advises.
And why is it important for children to receive adequate quality care? Kabii says that a child who receives inadequate quality care at infancy is like a building with low-quality foundations: whatever else would be largely compromised, however good it may be.
“A childhood formation and experiences are critical pieces that determine the entire psychological disposition of the child and this will manifest later in life,” he adds.
Kabii says that it is incumbent on companies to seriously consider daycare facilities for their nursing staff because such facilities would add value to the mothers’ output at work besides providing the child with proper development.