Sending Baby to Daycare Once a Week [More Trouble Than It’s Worth?]

One of the scariest things many working parents face is the decision to send your baby to daycare or not. For many, just having their baby go to daycare one day a week can make a huge difference in their lives. Unfortunately, that can make it difficult for the child to develop a routine and get comfortable at daycare. But at the end of the day, you are the parent and know what will work best in your situation.

Not every daycare facility will accept your baby one day a week because of internal or financial factors. If you find one that will allow a one-day schedule or drop-ins, you will end up paying a premium for the day. The effect one day at daycare has on your baby will depend on several factors; facility quality, child’s temperament, and home life.

Daycare for any number of days a week can be a touchy and complex issue to tackle. Keep reading below for more in-depth information on sending your baby to daycare!

Can I send my baby to daycare one day a week?

Many parents prefer to keep their child out of daycare as much as possible but aren’t always able to cover all five days a week, or sometimes mom just needs a day off to run errands without a toddler in tow.

Whether or not you can send your baby to daycare for one day each week will largely depend on the facilities around you. Some daycare facilities will allow for a scheduled single day-a-week enrollment for your baby, where others want a minimum of two to three days a week. Many daycares have drop-in programs you can be a part of. 

Sending your baby to daycare once per week will come with pros and cons. Let’s take a closer at some of the advantages and disadvantages that come with having your baby attend daycare one day a week.

Advantages 

  • If your child does go one day a week to daycare, they will be socializing with other children and adults. They will be exposed to sharing, learning how to interact in groups, and how to follow the rules. Being under another adult’s care will help your child learn to recognize and respect other adults’ guidance and authority. Learning these lessons can have a lasting impact on the rest of their lives.
  • Going one day a week is a way for your child to get out of the house and play. This can be even more important if they are an only child. You know they love playing with you, but it can be fun to let loose at times with people their size!
  • A lot of households require two incomes to stay afloat. Having access to child care for one day could be the difference in you paying the bills for the month of not. It may be a necessity for your work. 

Disadvantages

  • Daycare workers will get to know the full-time, even part-time, children better and form closer bonds with them. Even on an unconscious level, the workers could be spending more time with those children and not giving your one day a weeker the attention you hope they would.
  • Your child will not be able to settle into a consistent routine. Their home routine will be interrupted, and they will not attend daycare enough to develop a routine there. 
  • Your child, especially if they are younger, has an increased risk of becoming sick attending daycare. It could potentially take them longer to build immunity than it does the children who attend more regularly.

What is part-time daycare?

The option for a single day during the week full-time will be different for every facility.

Facilities will often offer either a full-time schedule that goes four or five days a week or part-time care that requires at least two or three days a week commitments. If you can’t find a daycare that allows you to leave your child one a day week, a two-day commitment may end up being more economical as well as better for your child.

You will need to call around and check on availability in your area. 

Schedule

Depending on the center’s policies, you may or may not be able to change your child’s day off from daycare if you opt for a four-day-a-week schedule. I have had my children in a couple of daycares, and they had differing policies. One did not mind at all, nor did they require notice of when my kids would miss. While the other center was much more strict and would only allow a change with a week or so notice, but they still frowned upon it. 

Part-time care of two or three days a week can work differently from one daycare to another. Some centers do not mind what days you bring your child in, as long as you stick to the two or three days. Others demand a set rotation of days of some sort; often Monday/Wednesday/Friday or Tuesday/Thursday.

The theme is to call around. You could be dealing with a national daycare chain or a smaller local-only center. Their abilities to accommodate differing schedules can vary greatly. So if you only need one day of care a week, do not give up after the first no!

Cost

The cost of daycare continues to rise across the country and will need to be factored in when deciding on a single day of care or not.

In almost all cases, you will be paying more per day the fewer days your child attends daycare. You can not take the cost per week and just divide by five!

The fee per day is often prorated to be more expensive for a single day. 

Going to daycare once a week

You would not be reading this if you weren’t a loving, concerned parent. What’s going through your head is, “how will only going to daycare once a week affect my child?”

The effect of one day or five depends largely on the child’s quality of life at home.

Engaging with your child and providing a nurturing, caring environment at home is key to their development and sets them up for success later in life.

Let’s take a closer look at a couple of ways going to daycare once per week will affect your child immediately.

Socialization

If your child is a little shy and not usually around other children very often, going even one day a week to daycare can, over time, help them open up to others.

If they are on the shy side, it will most likely be rough initially, but it will become easier for your child to let you go as they make friends.

Daycare does not have to be the only way to find social time for your child. Taking them to a park or playground with other kids will work just as well. They will still be following playground rules, sharing, and engaging with others their age. A trip to the store can also be an opportunity to teach your shy guy or gal some social skills. 

Consistency

Only going to daycare for a day a week can most likely cause some disruption to your child’s routine.

That single day is not enough for them to develop a consistent routine at daycare. Each week will feel new and strange for some time.

Your little one’s home routine that you work so hard on for six days a week will be disrupted as well. The rules will be different; times will not be the same, the attention they receive will be unusual for them. It may take a day or two for your child to adust back to their previous routine, just in time to go back to daycare again.

Should I send my baby to daycare once a week?

If you hop on your computer and search for whether or not you should send your baby to daycare for a single day, you will get many different opinions. They all will claim to be correct, and they are. Everyone’s situation is different, and what works for you and your family situation may not be what works for someone else. 

You know your family’s circumstances, and you know what your parenting instincts are telling you. Is using a baby daycare one day per week the right choice for you; yes, no, maybe, it just depends on your needs.

Yes

  • You may need to use daycare for a day a week in order to work. You provide for your child and make sure they are safe and cared for; few things are nobler than that.
  • Life can get busy and complicated. It can be nice to have a day to get errands done and take care of things that having your child with you would make difficult. Giving up this single day can free you on others to have more time with your child!

No

  • If having a set routine is among your top priorities, then going to daycare once a week would not be the best way to go. Your little one will not have time to pick up on the daycare’s routine, and the home routine will be disrupted and may take a day or two to reestablish.
  • If your little one is prone to getting sick or hasn’t been ill much, attending daycare for that one day will introduce a lot of germs to your child they would not otherwise be exposed to.
  • If you have nothing to do and feel guilty at all about sending your little one away to daycare, even for one day, then don’t! It isn’t required for your child to go to daycare to socialize or any other reason you may read about. You’re the parent. If you want to be with your baby, then be with them.

Maybe

  • If your little one is shy and not used to being away from you, having them go one day a week could be a way to ease them into eventually going longer. This one day a week can be enough to let them know that you will be back for them after dropping them off.

If you plan to have more kids or you know you will need a full-time spot later, you may consider going ahead and sending your kiddo one day a week. This can help get your foot in the door and allow you to build relationships that may go a long way in getting you a spot at a busy center!

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