Tracy graduated from our daycare two years ago. During her last two years with us, her care became extremely unpredictable. Her dad was already in a stressful, unpredictable profession, and her mom had made the choice to further enhance her current position by returning to academia to earn a master’s degree in her field.
This decision was extremely demanding on her time and often left her scrambling to persuade someone to pick up Tracy from daycare.
We were very concerned, and became involved in their plan for Tracy once she would be in kindergarten. The issues were the predictability and quality of her after school care.
Our initial suggestion was to have a university student (there was one nearby) who would be responsible for her pickup, homework assignments, and possibly meal preparation.
Instead of taking that advice, her mom assured us that by changing her own schedule to be more compatible with Tracy’s school schedule everything would work out.
She began calling us for assistance every time the schools were closed and unfortunately we could not always accommodate her.
The kindergarten year was extremely stressful for Tracy and when we saw her, she seemed sad and distracted.
The most disturbing incident was when she attended our holiday get-together. She was the only child present accompanied by a family friend instead of a parent. She behaved in an out of control manner, ignoring the family friend completely and displaying no concern or respect for the other children.
Fortunately she was still listening to us. It was a very sad commentary on how her life had spun out of control, going from a sweet caring child, to a reckless and aggressive seven year old. She comment several times that her parents were too busy to attend the party and that she never came first.
What to consider when you are making a lifestyle change:
1. Think that the change will not impact your child.
2. Think that you can figure out her care on an as needed basis.
3. Give your child the message that their needs are not important.
1. Have an in depth discussion as parents whether this lifestyle change is viable considering your current responsibilities.
2. Get input from a child care professional or a teacher before you ever consider such a change.
3. Discuss any change (regardless of its seriousness) with your child prior to its implementation. Like all of us, your child needs to know what is going to happen.
4. Delay increasing your professional responsibilities until your child is older (10+) when they can be more self-sufficient and can communicate their issues.
Remember, being a parent and having responsibility for another human being is the most important job you will ever have and actually live that belief!