I had an interesting conversation with a friend a few days ago.
He sighed “We are having such trouble getting our little girl into childcare – there are so few places available. We are feeling so stressed and guilty that she might not get the early education and sociability that she needs?”
Time for a reality check.
- Humans are amongst the most social species on the planet. We have been honed by countless generations of ancestors who selected themselves to reproduce by their ability to socialise. It doesn’t need to be trained into us. It’s inherent.
- In our first couple of years we need to learn security and confidence with our parents (especially mother) and loved ones. We learn love from the people around us who love and interact with us. Strangers don’t count.
- This ‘emotional intelligence’ is the bedrock of our personality and underpins our ability to learn. It’s how we learn how to learn.
- Cognitive functions like learning colours, numbers and how to label objects are of secondary importance.
- Children do not play with each other or benefit from their company until three years old. Until then, they steal each other’s toys and walk on each other. Other kids are just objects.
So childcare is not a necessity and it’s certainly not advantageous, unless the home is bereft of stimulation and devoid of love.
If childcare is needed to allow the mother to work, it’s fine (but choose the best you can, with the best child/carer ratio). But let’s not pretend that it’s recommended to make a better child.