As far as I can tell, most parents have negative, or at least mixed, feelings about daycare. Leaving kids all day in an institutional setting? Not our first choice.
So what will the world think of 24-hour daycare? According to this MSNBC story, an agency in New Delhi, India, has opened a 24-hour daycare service for “children of parents who are too busy to put them to bed.”
Parents are “invited to leave their children with us for a considerable period of leave from one week to one year in case of any emergency such as hospitalization, business trips etc.”
I’m sure this will spark an outcry against “unnatural” mothers who work long hours outside the home. But mothers have always worked – even before the beginnings of agriculture. And mothers have always needed childcare help. What’s different today is the nature of that help.
For most of human history, kids spent most of the day playing in mixed-aged playgroups that nobody really supervised in the sense we think of today. Adults were nearby in case of trouble. But they weren’t monitoring or controlling everything the children did.
And if parents had to leave home for an extended time, their siblings, parents, or neighbors would step in.
So those are the big differences. 24-hour daycare? If we want to ask why parents might use such services, we need to ask why parents don’t have the network of family and friends to take over the short-term care of their children.
In part, it’s because of the modern economy, which scatters people far and wide, breaking up the family networks of the old-style village. But there are other things going on as well. Potential helpers – aunts, uncles, neighbors, grandparents – may have very different attitudes about children today. They don’t want to take care of them.
Take the comment of Yogesh and Charu Gupta, a successful, middle-class couple quoted in the MSNBC article. They use 24-hour daycare on occasion, dropping off their 13-year-old daughter for overnight stays.
Why? “Both our parents live in Delhi but the truth is they’d rather not look after her and we’d rather not ask,” Yogesh Gupta says. “We don’t want it to be a chore.”
It seems to me the Guptas are not alone. Some grandparents are highly-involved in their grandchildren’s lives. Others don’t see themselves as helpers or emergency caregivers, even if they are in good health and live nearby.
And what about those able-bodied, childless relatives who might make themselves available when parents are in a pinch? I know people who wouldn’t even think of asking their adult siblings to help with the kids. It seems too much of an imposition.
So I’m wondering. How many of us are lucky enough to have a network of family or neighbor childcare helpers? And how many of us feel cut off from that old-fashioned social network?
image by Deutsch Fotothek
Read more from source:“babycenter-com-baby”
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