While discussing mothers working can often be a touchy subject, even mentioning the effects of daycare on children can get downright nasty. Women do not take too kindly to the suggestion that their own actions may be a cause for problems for their child, either now or later in life. Most women truly do love and want the best for their children, just not always at the expense of giving up their own desires.
What is my basis for discussing daycare and its effects on children since I’m a stay-at-home mom? I have quite a bit of experience with daycare, in a variety of situations, and have also written a paper on daycare. I grew up in daycare situations of different varieties. Anywhere from an individual older lady keeping me to large daycare with 20 plus children in the “classes” was what I experienced. When I was a pre-teen and teenager I was employed by the daycare that my younger siblings attended. My oldest child attended daycare for his first year. Later I tried a mother’s day out program for a year when he was three. Then a few years ago the church we attended was looking into starting a daycare and I did lots of research and wrote a paper on daycare as a result. So that is my background with daycare, inside and outside perspectives.
Now granted children can and will learn in daycare settings. Some children even thrive in daycare. But unless you are abusive, neglectful, or of a low mental IQ your children can thrive even better at home with a loving family to provide all the education and learning necessary for becoming a productive adult. But granted daycare is better for a select few children. If you live in a broken family and are a high school dropout, who leaves the child unattended while you are watching soap operas, then your child will benefit from daycare. There are plenty of studies to prove it also.
The problem develops when those studies done on underprivileged neglected children are used to support the idea of daycare for all children. If your children are cared for by a loving mother in the context of a healthy family environment then they will actually thrive better at home.
But so far none of this has even addressed the matter from a Biblical perspective. So pragmatism is not an acceptable reasoning for doing anything no matter how good it seems. (Pragmatism “is the notion that ideas may be judged by their practical consequences. A pragmatist concludes that a course of action or concept is right if it brings good results, wrong if it doesn’t seem to work.” The link has an interesting demonstration of Christian Pragmatism but use discernment for any off links.) So just because it may seem to be right or good for a child to attend daycare does not make it so in the long run.
Does Scripture have anything to say about daycare? Yes and no.
If you must have a verse that says. “Thou shalt not use daycare.” then you will not find it in the Bible.
However, if you read all of Scripture for the meaning and application to your life, then yes, you will find verses that apply to daycare. This particular verse is the one that I feel applies so much to the daycare issue.
12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.
13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. ESV
What other verses and principles apply to childcare?