The Baby Gulag: Six Ways Daycare Embodies the Principles of Communism


All the furniture is miniature, tiny chairs and fun size kitchens. The walls are plastered over in bright children’s art, and big print alphabets. Small backpacks are hung on mini hooks and toys are neatly labeled in assorted shelves. A comfy woman greats your child with an effervescent smile.

What’s not to love?

Daycare is a boogeyman amongst social conservatives. We here at Helicopter Mom rail against the evils of institutional nursery.

Children left in daycare for more than twenty hours a week experience symptoms of parental abandonment, we cite. The blood of children in daycare contains much higher levels of cortisol than their at home counterparts, we offer. Careless unskilled employees are no substitute for a mother, we say. Daycare is a chaotic Lord-of-the-Flies nightmare, we claim.

But is it really that bad?

After 3+ years on the other side of the iron curtain, I stand ready to turn traitor on my comrades. And without seeking to minimize the evils of Stalin’s meat grinding gulags, my goal is to highlight the many ways daycare enforces communist ideology.

True, these children are not beaten, starved, or worked to death. But they are forcibly isolated from home, in what may as well be, to them, Siberia.

Here are the six ways daycare embodies communism.

1. Broken Tribal Ties

Every day at baby gulag starts with a plea to mama. Whether it be a pitiful look, clinging to her arms, or pitching an all out hissy fit- all children attempt to stop their parent from leaving. And every day they are whisked away by their substitute mama, to have their desperate need for mama teased away with a shiny toy.

But they don’t forget so easily. Throughout the day they will scream or sob for her, after scraping a knee, sitting in time out, or getting a tummy ache. These immediate emotional and physical needs remind them of the woman that ought to meet them.

Over time, children will bond with their “teachers” and form an attachment to them, in imitation of the mother-child bond. This bond often becomes so strong that they are equally distraught by leaving her at the end of each day. Worse than breaking their natural bond to their actual mother, is the perpetual turn over of caregivers.

Once the child forms a strong bond with a mommy that stays, they move to a new room. Every year (often less) children are moved to a new teacher, with a different personality and vibe. Any tentative bond to the previous teacher is broken, as they are forced to quickly adapt to yet another substitute mommy.

Along with the new mommy comes new classmates, a new room, and sometimes different rules and standards. This creates and enforces a sense of rootlessness in their young lives. Nothing stays the same, not the environment, not the family.

Everyone belongs to everyone and nothing is personal or sacred. No person to call home, no tribe to belong to.

2. Homogenized Culture

While a child comes from a family with a unique history, culture, and principles, they spend most of their waking hours in a culture that neutralizes them. Everyone eats the same food, is made to believe the same things, and is stripped of personal belongings.

Everyone is expected to conform to the same standards and adopt the same habits- which are enforced by both state law and the center’s own regulations.

“I don’t care what you do at home, you’re here with me now.” – daycare mantra

3. Shared Resources

Every classroom is equipped with standard toys. Rather than embrace a cut throat, survival of the fittest mentality, teachers understandably feel the need to distribute the toys so all children have a fair share.

On a daily basis, teachers (often forcibly) snatch toys from an aspiring Ghengis Khan, and hand them out among their less fast and strong friends. Sharing is the number one value in daycare, and those that refuse are punished by long sits in the time out chair.

Children have their own backpacks and sheets, but otherwise private property norms are completely abolished.

4. Institutional Authority

Parental authority is built in to the parent-child relationship. It is natural and hierarchical. Insitutional authority is given by the state or the stock holders (in this case both). Parents have leased out their children to the watchful eye of state regulations and penny-pinching administrators.

Children are taught to mind basically anyone that declares herself to be an authority. From desperate single moms to careless college girls, children blindly submit to whoever happens to be hired on staff.

They are trained to obey complete strangers without question! To trust nameless faces for such intimate things as diaper changing, bottom wiping, and injury care. It teaches them to be docile and submissive to a faceless institution, while undermining the parental bond.

If a child is disliked by a teacher they often have no place to retreat. They can be mercilessly picked at for minute behavior and made a pariah to their friends. The whim of who the teacher favors controls the child’s experience all day. Often, teacher favorites have similar personalities to them and look like them even. I’ve seen it over and over.

Insitutional authority of this kind is a sinister threat to the children. They grow up docile and easily controlled, from cradle to grave.

5. Rule by Fear

With large classroom sizes even in expensive daycares, rigid schedules, and a sprinkle of troubled children, teachers are left with few resources to combat chaos. With one child hitting, another child crying, and yet another peeing on the floor, the only way to manage an unruly group is with a reign of terror.

Most parents blow off character problems in their child. Administrators are annoyed by children sent to the office. How do you make a child sit in time out and adhere to a thousand rules? By being louder, bigger, and threatening.

No parent should be surprised that these teachers raise their voices, get up in children’s faces, or even snarl. Twelve children to one woman is a losing battle. Daycare acclimates children to the terror of a random teacher’s mood, whim, and level of harshness- while depriving them of loving character development from committed parents.

6. Erasure of the Self

The saddest part to watch is the erasing of  individuality in a child. Through hours of free play and exploration, children learn to create, express themselves, and imagine. Typically, children have less than one hour of free play in a daycare. It is simply impractical to allow free exploration in a small room crammed with children.

Children are assigned to “centers” where they are free to play with a box of toys- for around fifteen minutes. Many a little boy is emersed in a Lego tower, when he is forced to stop and change activities. This constant interruption throughout the day thwarts pictures half drawn, baby’s half fed, and roads half laid.

It teaches the child to never fully commit to any activity, lowering the attention span and destroying creative capacity. Much of this damage is likely never undone after the formative years.

Adhering to the schedule is more important than learning or building. Conforming to the whole is above the interests of one.

Let My People Go

Plastic nipples, faceless nannies, and an ever changing environment is the norm for thousands of children world wide.

It didn’t used to be this way. 

*I write this while my little prisoners are napping on cots strewn around the room, refuge style. A rogue napper with sparkly blue eyes named Kate has wriggled onto my lap and, as if to sabotage me, refuses to budge. She actively subverts my crusade for baby freedom by grabbing my hands and giggling into my neck. Kid’s got spunk.

“Kate when I was a little girl I never went to school,” I whisper.

She grins at me in disbelief.


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