1) There is no way that two or three adults can adequately attend to the needs of fourteen children. The government minimum here is a 1:6 ratio. Many, if not most, abide by that. But it’s just not small enough. Plus, if there was an emergency, G-d forbid, how do I know that my child will be okay? You can’t know that – and I know that I would never forgive myself if something happened to my helpless baby (or anyone under four, when they can run and speak and learn emergency instructions) because I chose to put him or her in daycare.
3) Shlomo is one of the only toddlers I know who doesn’t hit back, doesn’t bite, and doesn’t hurt other kids. When someone hits him, he gives them a look of disapproval. The other toddlers I have seen who act similarly also never went to daycare. Point proven.
4) I do not believe that a child under three actually needs a social life. Learning to share, yes. Same-age friends, no. Parents contribute a lot more to their children’s social abilities than any ‘toddler friends’ their child might have. Children this age don’t make friends, anyways – and the little parallel play they need can be obtained by a play date or two per week. And before you tell me that I’m depriving my child: Shlomo is very social, very caring and picks up on social cues that no daycare child his age would pick up on. The only other toddler with those skills has a stay-at-home mom. And believe me, I’ve seen a LOT of toddlers.
And yes, I believe that one person who comes every day, provides consistent care, is a stable part of the child’s life, and doesn’t have any other responsibilities besides providing attention to your child, is on a totally different level than a daycare center. While it’s not the ideal, it’s worlds apart from daycare. And that, at least to this mother, makes all the difference.
*Unless noted otherwise, everything I have stated applies until age five or six.