Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Daycare kids vs. stay at home kids

So the town I live  in has a little  fitness place that does an open gym for kids ages 5 and under. It's free and runs from January-March  for a couple hours every Wednesday morning. We've gone the last two weeks and today while I was there I found myself thinking the same thing that I think every time I take the girls to play some place---whether it  be open gym, the mall play area, the children's museum, story hour, etc.  ...and that is that there are very obvious difference between  kids who attend daycare and those who stay at home with a parent.

Now obviously there are exceptions just like everything in life (so  don't leave  me comments complaining about how your daycare provider watches  kids  like a hawk  or how your stay at home kid is  super outgoing---because this  is just  a lighthearted  take based on averages I've noticed :-).... but for the most part here are my observations about the differences beween daycare kids and stay at home kids:

1) Daycare kids are better at independent play.  This really shouldn't come  as any  surprise, but  it's one of the most obvious things when I go places like this. I can spot the stay at home kids and daycare kids immediately. The daycare kids are the ones running around playing by themselves, oblivious to whether any adult is paying the least  bit of attention to them. The stay at home kids are easy to spot because they  are the ones being followed around by a parent. Raya always tells me "follow me Mama" or "play with me Mama" and she is nervous to run off by herself. I'm sure this is because stay at home kids are used to having a lot of adult attention/play, which is one of the  things  I  *wanted* my girls to have when I decided to stay home with them. But  still, part of me wishes I could sit and read a book while they went off to play by themselves at places like this!

2) Daycare kids are  *worse* at sharing. I know, this  has been shocking to me  too! You would think that  kids  in daycare  would be used  to sharing and therefore better at it, but no. I've found the opposite to be true. Daycare kids are hoarders. I would guess it's  because they are used to many kids constantly playing with  the same toys/taking their  toys/etc. They probably rarely have toys that are specifically theirs rather than group property. So  they end up hoarding toys and being worse at sharing. For instance, today Raya was playing with a beanbag toss game and suddenly two daycare kids were upon us, stealing all the beanbags and hoarding them close to their body lol. Raya  was oblivious to their  stealing so she said "oh, your turn!" and then when they never gave them back  to her I had to  tell  them to give her  one.  Raya, bless  her heart, would give the beanbag back  after her  turn and say "your turn now!" :-) I  think stay at home kids are perhaps better at sharing because they  are  so trusting  that they  will get their stuff  back. They haven't had as many experiences with their toys being  stolen and hoarded from them!

3) Daycare providers see these play areas/activities as a *vacation*, whereas stay at home moms see it as a *learning opportunity*.  Seriously, I'm starting to dread things  like this because I  feel like I'm watching and disciplining everyone else's kids! The open gym we went to today has lots of in home providers who go. You can tell who they are because the walk  in with a gaggle of kids and then release them like wild animals---and then they go sit off to the side and chit chat, read the newspaper, drink  their  coffee, etc. It's like they are on vacation! Stay at home moms on the other hand see these things as times to teach social  skills, turn taking, making  friends, etc.  so they are right there  with the  kids faciliating things, disciplining, etc.  This would be  fine except on more than one occassion I see a fellow stay at home mom who is calling out "who's kid  is this?!" and today for  example it  literally took  5 minutes to track  down which daycare provider was supposed to be supervising a kid who was in a corner crying.  Also today were  were playing and  some little brat (yeah, I said it!) who was about 4 years old hauled  off and slapped Brielle for no reason! I had no idea who the kid belonged  to but I  immediately grabbed her  hand and said "no no, we do not  hit other kids!" She just  ran off and laughed. Grrr.  Poor Brielle cried  and wanted  nothing to do with playing after that! Also I've found  that  as soon as I engage my kids in an activity at these things I immediately have 10 daycare kids trying to play too, because  suddenly they have  something fun to do while  their daycare people are on vacation :-P

4) Stay at home kids are  way better  dressed. In less than 10 seconds  I can pick  out the stay at home kids at things like this, simply by what they are wearing! haha. It's obvious that the parents  of daycare kids  just dress them  in something easy, inexpensive, etc...play clothes. Now I would do this too if  I were them--because you don't  want  your kid ruining their nice  clothes at daycare. But it cracks me up then to see, in contrast, the stay at home kids....who's parents are obviously thrilled  that their kids are actually  going to be seen outside the house by  other human beings LOL. Today I saw no less  than 2 stay at home kids wearing tutu skirts to the open gym. They were decked out! Their moms were wearing nice  clothes too. All  around they were just pumped to be strutting their stuff outside the home! :-) The daycare providers were in sweats and tennis shoes, watching their gaggle of play clothes wearing kids. Too funny.

....and lastly,

5) Daycare  kids have more stamina. There could  be a multitude of reasons for  this, but  I've  found that  daycare kids will play at these things until they are drug out of there and the place closes. Stay at home kids play for  30 minutes or so and then want to move on--they've  lost interest. I  think this is partly because stay at home kids often have  the luxuary of going place to place during the day, and when they are bored they have a parent right there ready to suggest a new activity---as opposed to daycare kids who are probably  pretty used to staying at the same  place day after day. This is another case where I wish Raya was a little bit more like  the daycare kids!

So  all  in all we have fun going to things like this and I love seeing how Raya interacts with the other kids (she typically attaches herself  to the  first  little girl who shows her attention, and then follows that girl around haha. My mom says that is exactly what *I* did in preschool!) Like anything there are some positives and negatives to both daycare and staying at home when it comes to kids and socializing, etc.....I  just  think it's really interesting to see the  differences play out in situations like this! Probably my school psych degree coming out and missing all the classroom observations I used to do haha :-P

Sorry, no pictures today! I should have taken my camera to our open gym I guess!

19 comments:

  1. This is a funny post. Gracie doesn't go to daycare on the days I work, she is with my mom so I still consider her a stay at home kid because she is learning, followed around, and disciplined when needed. But my niece does go to daycare and I have noticed a difference, but I guess I just always thought it was an age difference instead of an environment difference. And I have noticed both my nieces who go to daycare HATE to share! Again, could be age too, not sure. On a positive daycare note, I have noticed that both my nieces have grown developmentally a TON since starting daycare or mothers day out. I guess there are some things they learn from other kids that parents don't think to teach. Very interesting post and observations. I cannot believe a child hit Brielle, poor baby! I would have freaked!

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    1. Yes, I definitely think the daycare kids seems to do certain things earlier/better---like speaking to eachother. Raya talks my ear off, but with other kids keeps it short and sweet. It's funny to see daycare kids and the lengthy conversations they hold with eachother (good and bad!) :-)

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  2. hmmmm, interesting take. I can agree with a lot of what you say, although they are exceptions. (I know you asked us not to compare, but I have to). My kids SAH with me... but from the BEGINNING I've been pushing them to play alone or together and leave me OUT of it. I AM NOT their playmate. That's why I had TWO babies. haha... seriously.
    I've heard it said that there are 3 types of parents. One is the helicopter mom, who is close by her child at all times, there at the slip of a foot. There's the sitter... the mom who sits and watches (that's me). And there's the oblivious... the mom who sits and plays on her phone or reads and isn't even watching. For the most part, I try to allow them to get IN AND OUT of their own troubles... as well as accidents.
    I think that it's so great that you're taking your girls out to socialize with other children... because eventually they'll have to cope with these things without you by their side. It's really teaching them to become independent thinkers who at the same time have a strong trust in that YOU will always be there for them and come back for them.
    Good post today!

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    1. Yes, very true! I find helicopter parents pretty annoying haha. Raya does like me to stay pretty close though and watch her play from near her, rather than off to the side of the room....but in general she seeks out other children to actually play with at things like this. Although at these things helicopter parents tend to be my favorite because they make it easiest on me! ;-)

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  3. This is a great and hilarious post. I totally see where you are coming from on most of these! My take is on both sides because I'm a SAHM 2 days a week and my kids SAHM with Grandma the other 3 days a week. So they are SAH kids all the way but I'm part SAHM. We LOVE to go to play places/learning centers/libraries etc. My kids act a certain way depending on the day. Some days they are shy, the next day they are running around independent. But the whole clothes thing?!? HAHAHA that is SO US! Well, except for me! I'm always in sweats but I dress the girls up if we go out. (if they allow it) :) :)

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    1. LOL...yeah, I was the exception too---my girls were dressed up but *I* fit right in with the daycare providers in my own attire!

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  4. So I have a question...are my kids considered daycare kids?! I think you need to build another category for kids that don't stay home with their mom, but get a lot of attention from aunties/grandma/daddy!

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    1. hehe...I consider yours to be at home kids! Although Miss Harper might have fit in well with the slapping girl today LOL (kidding ;-)

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  5. I am SO the mom that gets her kids all dressed up every time we see the outside world. HAHAHA. i'm constantly going through their clothes and getting so bummed about all the cute things they have, but no where to really wear them! thus the whole reason i started a blog. bahaha. to take pictures of them in their cute clothes and blast them everywhere!

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    1. PS- i can't believe that kid slapped poor brielle!!!! un-effing-believable. of course the parent was no where to be found. awesome.

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    2. haha...I know, the blog is a great fashion platform! ;-)

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  6. I love this. I can't wait to start taking Kyla out to things like this. I've been wanting to take her to story hour at the library on Friday's, but have been waiting until she's old enough to sit still for more than 2 minutes. I think she's going to be the typical stay at home kid though!

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    1. It's fun when they are old enough to start getting out of the house more! :-)

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  7. I think you're spot on with most of this, but you need to add a third category-- kids that behave as though they've been raised by wolves in almost any social scenario.

    My kids will start the club.

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    1. LOL. Yeah, I don't know Cael very well, but he doesn't strike me as the quiet stick by mom type ;-)

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  8. Haha this is great & so true. My girls don't get to play in the play area at th mall cause ours is gross!!! So when we walk past it we walk fast & distract kaylee so she doesn't ask to play in it.

    Aww I can't believe poor Brielle got slapped

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    1. Luckily our mall play area stays pretty nice!

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    1. Thatta girl! ;-) Raya always dressed nice at daycare too...and then I would secretly get annoyed when I'd send Raya wearing a skirt with leggings and legwarmer accessories, because the sitter would get tired of putting it all back on each diaper change and so I'd come to pick Raya up and she'd be in just her onesie LOL. Apparently the sitter didn't think of her house as a fashion runway like I did :-P

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