This is not a post to call child care workers "evil" or parents who choose child care "negligent." Really it's a post defending the notion that daycares in particular are not good for children. Because ultimately the question that should be asked is whether or not a parent being around more is the best for their child. And the answer of course is yes.
Prior to the sexual revolution, we wouldn't really be having this conversation. Most children were cared for completely by their families. It was rare that a child had to be cared for by someone else at any point. It was the same for homeschooling. Prior to the industrial age, most children were educated at home. Yet to homeschool now or to stay-at-home at great expense to one's pocket book is called into question more and more.
Full disclosure: I was in day care age age 6 and then in home child care, which is different. At the daycare my brother who had hearing problems and therefore had speech issues shut down. He resorted to biting when he was frustrated. Additionally, the daycare was a franchise. My daycare swindled my mother and several other parents. The franchisee ended up in jail. I don't think my mother ever got her money back. It was then that my mother switched us over to in home child care. My babysitter would load us on the public school bus at her home (which is not legal) and during the time we were at her home she mostly sent us outside into her backyard to play. She was a nice person but she had her own three children, myself and my brother, my friend and her two sisters, my other friend and her sister, and various other infants and children. She was swamped. Most summers she sent us outside with cups and large water bottle, and turned on tv for the little children.
I also worked in child care. I cared for children both within my own home and at a daycare facility, preschool, and summer camp. I've been caring for children since 12 and have a degree in education. So when I say that I don't think daycare workers are evil I am talking about myself. I also still maintain that daycares should be last resorts. I've seen childcare workers loose their cool, forget to do things that they should be doing, talk about there weekend escapades in great detail around children, cuss, etc etc.
I also sent my child to daycare for a month where he 1) had a bleach stain on his pants which meant they didn't wipe down the diaper changing table completely dry and they used a bleach/water concentration that was too high 2) was extremely exhausted and I've never seen my child that way before or since 3) and my child came home for several days with inexplicable red eyes. He does not have any allergies that I'm aware of despite what the director told me. And the daycare worker who used to be my co-worker told me he was simply tired as the excuse for him constantly rubbing his eyes. Nobody called me. I worked there and knew some of his "teachers."
I've also sent my child to preschool with extra clothes and diapers. He's come home never changed after four hours completely soaked including leaking through his shorts. The child to adult ratios are extremely high there with about 3 children to adults. Yet nobody noticed. Most of the adults are students in college. And the girls to my annoyance fawn way too much over him and the other children. I imagine a rude awakening when they have their own classroom or children.
I wish childcare was perfect. I wish that I could talk about more positive experiences. But the truth is most of the time childcare and even school isn't pretty. The reality is that parents are given the responsibility for caring for their children and no person can completely replace that. The point is not to bash childcare. Certainly there are providers who are awesome. The point is to open up the dialogue that childcare does have problems. This is manifestly worse when your child cannot communicate that their childcare provider scared them (intentionally or not) or they had their diaper on too long today etc etc.
Are parents perfect? No. But since God gave us these children we are more perfect for them than anyone else. You simply cannot replace bonding time with a parent with someone who is not a family member. Even if you have a friend who watches your child (as I have done) people move away and children don't necessarily remember them. So it's not really true bonding like that of a parent.
The other point of this post is to point out that we really need more family-friendly laws on the books like extended maternity leave with pay, more job flexibility so more moms can work from home and perhaps have a nanny help out.... I could go on.
We need to cool our heads a little bit about childcare and to be completely honest with ourselves about why this is even an issue. And I think the finger pointing needs to stop. You may disagree because you've had a great experience, did your homework, etc. But so have I and so have others. Plus I have provided childcare yet still maintain that I don't want my children looked after by a non-family member. At least acknowledge that there is definitely some room for improvement.