I went back to school at 38 after majoring in Social Work the first time around in college.
My mentor, a very wise and helpful nurse who taught in nursing school and has her Masters advised me NOT to take a CNA course and work as a CNA prior to school. The following are points she made to me.
1. You learn all the things CNA's do with basic and personal care of patients when you start school. Why pay an additional cost to learn something you are going to learn anyway?
2. You are about to embark on a long and time-consuming process to become an RN and my mentor encouraged me to spend the summer with my family instead of going to a CNA class.
3. There is a different mindset between being a CNA and being a nurse and transitioning can be difficult -as one other poster has mentioned.
Now, for you personally I think continuing to do daycare keeps you with your children and I think that is better than putting them in a daycare which will increase your costs and keep you from being with them.
There are many threads on this issue - do a search and read on . . .
As to whether being a CNA makes you a better nurse, I don't think it is necessary to be a good nurse. What makes you a good nurse is your work ethic, your values, your ability to work with a team, etc.
I've met many nurses who were CNA's who did not help out with personal care after becoming an RN. That is NOT to say that this always happens. But it also means that someone can't say that it is always beneficial to be a CNA first.
I had no medical background and did fine in school w/o taking a CNA class. You can too.
Good luck and best wishes.