In one of my mommy friend groups we were recently talking about how our kids behave with us versus how they behave with daycare or sitters. The general consensus has been that our kiddos are usually, within reason, perfect little angels while being with someone else. So why in the world do we often feel like we need to sell our kids on ebay?!
I did daycare for 5 years prior to becoming only a stay at home mom. I can’t tell you how many times, no matter the kid, I would tell parents how well behaved they are and they would look at me with that “what the #&%^@$ are you taking about!” look in their eyes. I have received more than one late night text of “Alex wants me to tuck her into bed the way you do, how do you do it?”. Considering I have kids of my own and they do the same crap for me let me start by saying this, there is NO magic button (and if there is, I haven’t found it!).
So let’s first start off with some things that might be different between home and daycare to help ease that behavioral transition. Chances are your daycare has a set schedule which is likely more tight than your home schedule, even if you try really hard. I have found that kids respond so much differently to someone else’s rules/expectations. Your kids also probably get away with less at daycare simply by default. I ran a tight ship with my daycare (for safety reasons!) and things would often slack a little once the daycare mode was off and mommy mode was back on. Don’t feel bad about this, just remember that daycares have guidelines they have to follow, mommy doesn’t and ALL kiddos know this!
Daycare is a different environment, different toys, and different crayons even, so that’s new and exciting especially when your memory lasts all of 5 minutes. Does this mean you need to go get the EXACT toys that daycare has, absolutely not because it wouldn’t matter. There is something about a different environment that just does something to kids (good and bad!).
I think the biggest reason kids act out is for the fact they haven’t seen you for whatever period they were at daycare and especially for young kids the only way to make sure you pay immediate attention to them is to act like a fool. Works every time because keep in mind even a bad reaction is a reaction. Don’t forget daycare provides a play mate alllll the time, something mommy just can’t provide, even if you’ve tried with siblings! (but that’s a different story for a different day!)
So as I said, there is no magic button. I’ve seen it MILLIONS of times, your kids will act differently around you, period! Don’t stress over it, take it for what it’s worth and frankly know you’re not alone. Oh and for those really crappy days, there’s always really yummmmy wine!