Going to daycare will not disrupt the relationship that your child has with their grandparents.

How to Tell the Grandparents Your Baby Is Going to Daycare

by Anthony Oster

For many mothers, putting your baby in daycare is a normal part of life that enables you to hold a job, while also providing educational and social opportunities for your child. Unfortunately, your parents and in-laws may not agree with your decision to put your baby in daycare. Whether your relatives are concerned about the quality of care that your child will receive, or if they hold a moral disagreement with decision for personal or generational reasons, the decision to put your child into daycare is yours to make. Planning ahead before discussing your decision with your parents can ease the burden when you decide to break the news about your child going to daycare.

1. Your Right to Parent

Although you and your parents or in-laws may disagree on some aspects of how you raise your child, deciding to place your child into a daycare is your right as a parent. Kindly ask your parents to respect your wishes regarding your decision. If they continue to push the issue about sending your child to daycare, remind them that ultimately this is your decision to make.

2. Breaking the News

Whether your parents or in-laws hold personal or moral convictions against babysitting, or were simply hoping to spend more time with their grandchild, telling your parents that you plan to utilize daycare for your family may require some careful consideration and creative thinking. Invite your parents out to lunch or to coffee to discuss this issue. Speak calmly and with empathy as you tell them about your decision. A statement such as "Mom, I know you were hoping to watch Brandon while we are at work, but we think that it will be a better idea to place him in day care instead of using you as sitters" addresses your parents concerns sensitively, while still maintaining your parental authority.

3. Invite Them Along

Invite your parents to be part of the search for a daycare program for your children. You may alleviate some of your parent's concerns with your decision by allowing them to visit the daycare facility, having them meet the staff that will care for your child, and allowing them to ask questions regarding the care of your child. Making them part of the process can reinforce the fact that your children will be safely cared for and that their opinion does matter to a degree.

4. Discuss the Benefits for Choosing Daycare

If your parents or in-laws don't agree with your decision, you can also discuss some of the many benefits to choosing a daycare. By choosing a daycare, you don't have to worry about the care of your child in the event that your parents get sick, go out of town or have to run an errand. You can also discuss with your parents and in-laws how daycare centers provide educational and socialization opportunities that your parents may not be able to provide. You can start by explaining to your parents that daycare may be the first opportunity your child has to develop social skills and to learn how to behave in a group before he starts school. A 2011 study in Topics in Early Childhood Special Education conducted by Kristy Hughett, Drank Kohler and Donna Raschke suggests that children exposed to a "Buddy skill" treatment in a daycare engaged in higher levels of cooperative play versus those who did not. Your parents may also be interested in the educational opportunities available through daycare centers. In their 1995 study published in the “International Journal of Behavioral Development,” Lynne Feagans and Dale Farran concluded that children who received educational intervention in daycare were better able to paraphrase stories when compared to their peers who did not.

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