6 Lies Parents Believe About Preschool


PreschoolThe story of Alfie Aldridge, the British tot who ran away from preschool on his very first day, mere hours after his mom dropped him off, strikes fear and dread into the hearts of mothers across the globe. (Alfie, who is only 3, scaled a 3-foot-wall and crossed a busy street before showing up on his own doorstep, giving his mom the shock of her life.)

But the icy grip we moms feel stretching across our insides is not concern only for Alfie's safety. (He's fine, after all, and enrolled in another school.) It's also concern for our own kids. This story challenges so much of what we parents work hard to convince ourselves when we release our children to the care of others.

Here are six lies we tell ourselves each day before we drop our toddlers off at preschool or daycare:

1.    He'll be totally safe: Probably, sure, but of course, we cannot know that. Anything could happen: He could run out of the building, like Alfie. He could get left behind on a field trip. There could be a fire. A teacher could have a psychopathic ex-boyfriend. Unlikely, but who knows?

2.    He won't miss us: He will miss us, terribly, even if he's not the type to cry about it. Perhaps especially if he's not the type to cry about it.

3.    We won't miss him: We will miss him, terribly, even if we're not the type to cry about it. Perhaps especially if we're not the type to cry about it.

4.    He's happier at preschool than he is with us: Possible, but unlikely. Most kids prefer to be with their moms (or dads), no matter how bedraggled, sleep-deprived and short-tempered she (or he) may be on any given day. Then again, it is probably a fair rationale to remind yourself about the benefits of socialization.

5.    The teacher will treat him as if he were her own: She may be good to him, very, very good. But she's got a whole room of kids to look after. She may not take the time to remove the crusts of his sandwich for him the way he likes it. Then again, that may not be such a bad thing. (See socialization, above.)

6.    There really is no other option: There is always another option – though giving up your day job and falling behind on your mortgage may not be a terribly appealing one. But perhaps by acknowledging that we all must make the choices that work for our lives – and that those choices inevitably involve tradeoffs – can help us forgive ourselves for making them.

So even if these are lies, they are the sort of necessary lies that allow us to function as women, as workers, as wives, as mothers, even in a very uncertain world, even in a world where an Alfie can be allowed to run away from a place his mom thought he was safe. Ultimately, Alfie was safe. So maybe we can add one more lie to the list:

7.    And if he were to run away, probably it would be OK anyway. That, at least, is the reassuring part of a very scary story.

Do you feel uneasy dropping your son or daughter off at day care or nursery school?


Image via GraceFamily/Flickr

child care, nursery school, safety, working moms


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nonmember avatar JenInNC

Was this meant to be depressing?
#6 is one of the most annoying comments that I see here and elsewhere. For many working moms, the other option is to live off the government. What is that teaching the child?

hotic... hoticedcoffee

Number six is TOTALLY true, and I think it's the reason so many women have guilt over using daycare so they can work - it's a choice you make, because you don't want to be on the government dole, or you don't want to live the way you will have to if you only have one income, you don't want your family to do without the things a second income make possible.  Not everything in life is Great Choice A or Great Choice B.  Sometimes both choices suck, but you still have an option, and you're not a victim of circumstance.

jalaz77 jalaz77

Falling behind on a mortgage is NEVER a good idea. Can't pay a house payment so live on the streets or in a shelter? Oh but at least they are with mommy and daddy? I do not feel I need to be forgiven dropping my kids off at school or daycare. Yes I would love to be home more, not full time but I looked into the preschool we chose for our older two and I am happy with the results. We teach them things at home too but we can only do so much. This article only confirms most parents worst nightmare...that people are opinionated (who should not be) and the wall between working moms and SAHM grows.

jelly... jellyphish

Wow. Maybe some women should put themselves in the shoes of a single mom before judging that there is always another option. Seriously, you dont think this "choice" is difficult and heart wrenching for some of us? Thanks for the extra guilt trip, I'm set though.

kiri8 kiri8

As a professional, responsible, loving preschool teacher, I am sickened by this article.  It's a slap in the face to early childhood teachers & working mothers everywhere.

1.  Safety:  it's possible that your child could get hurt at preschool.  It is also possible that your child could get hurt at the grocery store, in your kitchen, at a friend's house, or in your car.  Teachers feel their responsibility to keep kids safe keenly.  2.  Missing mom:  Actually, nope, your kid is NOT feeling sad all day.  Some times kids want mom, but mostly they are busy learning, playing, & having fun.  4.  Happier at preschool?  Who needs to make that comparison?  Your child is happy at home, & happy at preschool.  5.  Loving:  I LOVE the kids in my class, and I do my best for all of them.  This does not mean that I spoil your child and cater to his every need, however.  You can do that yourself if you think it's a good idea.  6.  Choice:  Many parents choose preschool on purpose, because they know it will be a great experience.  My students are from working class & low-income families, & their moms put them in my class so that they will start K ready to go.

If you don't want to put your child in preschool, don't.  But don't go insulting women everywhere because you are nervous about preschool.


Agreed Kiri8! My 4 yr old son loves his preschool and we are so blessed to be able to participate in our church's program.

Lisa Melo

Kiri8, thank you!

nonmember avatar Single Mom

My 4 yr old LOVES preschool and when my daughter was 3 and 4 she LOVED it too! but they also LOVE being home

jalaz77 jalaz77

Applause Kiri8!!!!!

vanes... vanessa5470

Aother article aimed at making daycares/ preschools the devil.

Let moms make their own choices, based on their OWN circumstances.

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