My son kept on falling sick ever since he started going to daycare

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Daycare was supposed to be good for him, but he was visibly distressed. And as a parent, it broke my heart.

A daycare is like every parent's third spouse after a long marriage - you can't live with it and you cannot live without it! The latter part is especially true in the case of working parents who have to rely on daycares for literally raising their kids when they are away at work. It is a boon to parents who don't want to rely on relatives to look after the children. In that aspect, a daycare is almost godsent.

Even though I am a work-from-home dad, I need some sanity. And daycare provides me with it. However, with daycare comes sickness. And every child who goes to it clean as a whistle ends up back with a runny nose!

That said, it is not the fault of the daycare. The awe-inspiring people at daycares take every precaution to make the environment safe and hospitable for our young ones. (And they do charge a bomb for doing so!) If you are wondering right now if I love daycares or hate them, let me set it straight for the record. I absolutely, undeniably LOVE daycares.  

My son's daycare nightmare

We enrolled him at a daycare pretty late. He was almost 13 months old when he started going there. Till then, he had limited interaction with other children. And so, we felt that he needed to be around people of his age. We sought out a daycare and approached. We had to wait a bit, but he started going there for some time each week. And thus began a nightmare for him, and by extension, for us. 

He would cry for an entire hour. He would throw away his food, not take a sip of water. The caretaker suggested we settle him in instead of throwing him at the deep end of the pool. So we took him there one hour each day. After a painful month, his crying came down to 40 minutes instead of the whole hour! Once, he contracted tonsillitis, something that almost never happens in children this young. He had to undergo a painful medical examination and was prescribed an antibiotic. 

And just when things were starting to look good, he contracted tonsillitis, something that almost never happens in children this young. He had to undergo a painful medical examination and was prescribed an antibiotic. It was for 10 days, 4 doses daily. He hated it. The first few days, he threw a fit. At the end, he just gave up and drank the syrup. I felt so bad for him. 

The antibiotic worked for a while. But soon he was sick again. This time he was so congested that he could not sleep properly. My wife and I literally cradled him in our arms throughout the night while he slept fitfully. This went on for days. He was not really happy at the daycare. He would still cry. I started doubting the purpose of this exercise. After all, it is not easy to leave a crying, clinging baby in the arms of a stranger and dash out. Every day, I would sit in the car outside the daycare and weep like a man.

Suddenly, there was a change

My son kept on falling sick ever since he started going to daycare

And as it started, it suddenly stopped! He started developing immunity for the infections that went around. The one thing we did was, we washed his hands immediately after coming home. Turns out, it is the only way to ensure that viruses do not go around. Children suffer from daycare sickness frequently as there are literally 100 viruses that can make them sick. They spread when the children sneeze or touch contaminated surfaces. And then, they put their fingers in their mouths.

I personally think that washing hands with water and soap is sufficient. There are good bacteria on the skin that keep us healthy. When we use alcohol-based hand sanitisers, we end up killing them instantly. Also, if there is dirt, it has nowhere to go. So mums, take a lesson from me.

If your child falls ill frequently while going to a daycare, here are 4 things you should do:

  1. Give him a balanced diet. He needs all the proteins and energy to develop immunity against these diseases. Breakfast is essential, so never skip it!
  2. Wash his hands. Hands are the culprits when it comes to spreading infections. So wash them after coming home. Don't overdo it though. 
  3. Change clothes after coming home. Clothes too have a potential to carry pathogen. So get him in a habit of changing into home clothes after coming back. 
  4. Continue sending him to the daycare. If he is sick, keep him at home. But if he has just a runny nose, send him there. It will build his immunity in the long run. And the peer interaction he has will help his social skills as well.

Mums, trust me - if you send your child to a daycare, it is literally the best thing you are doing for him in the long run!

Also, read My grandma’s traditional remedy will help your child overcome ‘daycare sickness’

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Written by

Anay Bhalerao

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