Now that the bichin turned 1 in July we thought it was time to find a daycare as well for the times that we are working. Grandparents are obviously nice but something with interaction with other kids, playing together, and, especially, not getting incredibly spoiled were decisive factors for us. Yes, I know that grandparents spoil their grandkids per definition, that is kind of part of their job description, but if my dear bichini spends 3 or 4 afternoons a week at his Spanish grandparents the whole spoiling thing could be a little less in my mind.
Let´s be honest, I am really grateful that we could arrange the first year like this and that we didn´t have to send the bichin right after my maternity leave was over to a daycare (4 months is so tiny!!). And the fact that my parents-in-law are always available to babysit is obviously a luxury. However, I also see that the bichin already knows perfectly well what his position is with his grandparents and to avoid that soon he thinks that he is the king of the jungle we thought now was a good time to go a few days to daycare as well.
We didn´t know much about daycares but our criteria were that it should be walking distance from our place and that it needed to have some kind of garden or patio to play outside. We were thinking about 2 afternoons in the week, since C is home all mornings, I was thinking about taking a day off and with some help of the grandparents we should be able to make it work. In addition, we were quite late with starting our search for a daycare (yep, even in Spain starting the search end of June for starting in September qualifies as late).
Fortunately, we got an overview of all the daycares in our neighborhood from the daughter of friends of my in-laws (that´s kind of how everything functions in Spain honestly, a friend of a friend…), with all her conclusions about each one of them and why she sent her two kids to a specific daycare. Super helpful! So we immediately discarded everything that was too far away or that didn´t have a nice outside playing area. In the end, we only visited her top 2 so that was quite efficient!
What became clear after our first visit was that our idea of 2 afternoons was not really an option. First of all because after midday the only thing they do is having lunch (it´s Spain so this equals “long”) and then a good siesta. Basically, all activities took place in the morning. And second, apparently here in Spain a daycare is not just a place to spend your time, it´s a true educational center. So if the bichin would only come 2 afternoons he would miss more than half of the curriculum. Say what? He just turned 1, I thought we were still far away from full-time obligations. Apparently not….
Also, according to the owner the bichin would ask pretty soon if he could please go 5 days. Ok fine, when he starts asking that we can always re-evaluate right? In the end, we (after some negotiation) agreed on 3 days from 10am to 4pm so he has all the activities in the morning as well (and we do promise to “homeschool” him in the parts of the curriculum that he will miss).
How important is the bilingual aspect when choosing a daycare?
In the end, we decided for the first daycare we visited. The second option didn´t have a separate siesta room and neither a separate place to have lunch, which we hadn´t thought about before but did consider as important. And although both daycares are Spanish-speaking, the second one claimed that they tried to teach some English to the kids as well. However, since with all the willpower in the world I didn´t manage to understand what exactly they try to teach (and my English is quite ok I thought), we figured that a solely Spanish-speaking daycare is probably better than Spanish and bad English (after all the effort we´re doing at home to speak proper English and Dutch it would be quite a shame to undo all that).
So, tomorrow is the day: the bichin will start at an educational center. Let´s see how it goes! (Both for him and for me I guess….)