Divorce can force a former stay at home mom to suddenly be propelled back into the workforce. This can have a devastating effect on the mother who has been planning on staying home with her child. Many women fear that their child may not be cared for as well and thrive at a childcare facility. It is true that some people believe that, given a choice, having a mother at home is always better for the children. However, when there is a divorce, sometimes a mother has no choice but to go back to work.
While this reality can be overwhelming and highly upsetting to the stay at home mother, there should be comfort in knowing that there has been a great deal of research conducted, by various sources, that shows if you pick the right, high quality facility, there are actually many benefits to having your child in daycare, some of which include the following:
- Language and cognitive development: Studies have found that children in higher quality non-maternal child care have somewhat better language and cognitive development during the first 4.5 years of life and all the way up through age 15. Make sure to look for a facility where the caregivers are giving a lot of stimulation, such as asking questions and responding to vocalizations. A low child to faculty ratio is also important.
- Your child will learn to be more independent and social: Your child will learn how to spend time away from you for several hours without experiencing anxiety. Additionally, your child will learn how to sleep and eat on their own. This will benefit not only your child but you, as a single parent. Also, your child will form a group of friends and learn how to interact and play with others besides you. If your baby is only around you, they may not like the company of strangers and feel uncomfortable in any sort of public setting. This early socialization is sure to benefit them later in life.
- Your child will learn to follow a routine that will make the transition to school easier: Kids follow a standard routine in daycare with the other children. This bodes for less of an adjustment and anxiety when they make the transition into kindergarten.
- Less emotional problems: Studies have shown that kids in daycare, with depressed mothers, are less likely to have their own emotional problems. Divorce and significant life changes can lead to periods of depression, so spending time in a stable, upbeat environment can be a real benefit to your child.
- Academic readiness: Kids in daycare are introduced to the basics of science, math, social studies, various languages, and communication skills.
- Less illnesses later on: Young children in daycare have the opportunity to be around large groups of kids and build up their immune systems. This generally results in them getting sick less often in elementary school.
- Kids are never bored: Kids can become bored and unstimulated at home. In a childcare setting, there are always things to do and kids to interact with.
- Better behavior: Kids in daycare learn how to share, solve problems, and be team players. They learn how to use their voice in a positive way and be advocates for themselves and others.
- Larger brain: Studies have shown that children who are in daycare from an early age develop higher intellectual abilities, due to their opportunities for observation, parallel play, and socialization.
- A more relaxed mom: Being a stay at home mom can be very stressful and can lead to feelings of isolation and depression. Getting back into the workforce can give a mother the opportunity to decompress from the rigors of childcare and then reunite with her child more refreshed. This is better for both the mom and child.
- A good role model for daughters: Working mothers are good role models for their daughters. They demonstrate independence and more egalitarian parental gender roles.
Divorce rocks the entire family’s world. It can be very difficult for a mother, who had intended to stay home with her children, to accept that her plans have changed. However, oftentimes, there is no option. Once you get over the initial shock of realizing your new reality, you can see that there are many reasons your child will be ok and can even benefit. If you get them into a quality facility, their lives may be enhanced in ways they may not have otherwise. It will be an adjustment for all involved, but everyone will come out ok.
By: ERIN KOFFMAN, Attorney & Virginia Supreme Court Certified Mediator