by Amy Smith
We put our 15-month old son in the nursery at church Sunday. When we picked him up the nursery workers were gushing about how sweet he was and how well he had done being with them for the first time.
“He just came right in and made himself at home! Does he go to daycare?”
I nodded, and I knew why they had asked what really amounted to a rhetorical question. They assumed he was a daycare baby because he adjusted so readily to a strange classroom.
I know that my baby is very “easy” socially. He likes people and his general disposition is laid back, friendly, and happy. But I also know that he popped out that way. This is his natural personality. So daycare, despite the church nursery volunteer’s assumption, is not entirely responsible for the fact that they didn’t have a screaming, sobbing woddler (baby-toddler) on their hands.
Is daycare is reinforcing his natural bent? If he were home most of the time with me or with a nanny, would he perhaps lose some of his instinctive ease with new people and places?
I don't think so. I've been on both sides of this fence. My sons both went to daycare, my daughter did not. But just like the boys, she was never timid or fearful of new situations and makes friends easily. So for my three, so far as I can tell, daycare or no daycare hasn't made a big impact on their social skills (either for better or for worse).
I have friends with children who do not like change; they are very upset in any new environment with new people. And this seems to hold true regardless of whether they are in daycare or are home with a parent.
All this makes me think that a child's innate personality will affect how easily and quickly they adjust. Daycare is ultimately only an influencer, and maybe a small one, on whether the kid grows up to be an INFJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging) or an ESTP (Extroverted, Sensing, thinking, Perceiving).