Every parent wants to be there for their kids. However, with the overwhelming bills to pay, many parents have to take two to three jobs to cover their bills. This may cancel out the possibility of taking care of children. However, there’s the option of daycare, which actually has multiple benefits.
As much as this may be stressful for many parents, they can be rest assured that daycare is a valid option. Although you may not be there like you would have wished, your baby acquires academic, social and economic benefits.
Studies have proved that kids of ages six months to 4 years, benefit from the daycare environment, including social lessons, structure and quality instruction.
Things to look out for in a day care centre
Choosing a daycare center is not an easy task. You will need to find something that is suitable for you and your family. Here are some things that you can look out for in a day care center to ensure that your child gets the best care possible.
- A safe environment – children are naturally curious and safety is of paramount importance. You will need a place where your child is never left unattended.
- Low child to caregiver ratios – a lower ratio means that caregivers will be able to pay personal attention to each child. Lower child to caregiver ratios also means better safety.
- Trained caregivers – Not only should the day care center have staff that are trained to take care of children, they should also know basic first aid in case of emergencies.
- Licensing and accreditation – Make sure the center is legit and has all the necessary licences required
- Positive teacher/carer and child interactions – Observe if the children are generally happy or if they seem afraid or reluctant to interact with the teacher or carer
Social benefits of daycare
Daycare offers several social benefits for your child when compared to staying at home. Sending your child to a daycare provides them the opportunity to interact with others who they might not otherwise meet. These interactions will help shape who they are and help them build relationships and confidence.
Time with peers
Parents usually try to arrange play dates with their neighbor’s kids of similar age. However, our immediate social circle may not always have families with children of the same age. A childcare facility is an extension of this phenomenon where kids spend time with each other under supervision in a structured and safe environment.
Kids learn how to share, problem-solve, and otherwise play together while their personality is emerging and their minds are still growing.
Smoother transition to kindergarten
Preschool enrollment can be hectic if the child has not adjusted to schedules, staying away from parents among other factors. Kids who attend daycare have been observed to have a smooth transition in kindergarten. Also, a study by the University of Texas at Austin showed that parents who enrolled their tots in child care were more involved in their children’s academic life later in life.
Interaction with adults
Toddlers look up to adults to learn especially their parents and other seniors in their family.School care provides an opportunity for kids to have other individuals as mentors and get guidance from high authority figures.
A National Institute of Child Health and Human Development study carried out in 2006; showed that high-quality day care was directly related to quality caregiving. This is because childcare providers create encouragement, respond to kids’ vocalizations, and encourage a positive attitude by discouraging negativity in the environment.
Long term benefits of daycare
Daycare benefits are not only immediate in the sense that you have someone caring for your child while you’re at work, but also generates long term positive effects. These long term benefits can be seen even in adulthood, where daycare kids excel in college and work.
Better immune systems
The more children are exposed to various strains of flu and colds, the stronger better their immune systems will get. A kid who misses daycare is likely to take more sick days due to illnesses compared to those who go to daycare.
Those who go to daycare are exposed to sicknesses earlier and may have a stronger immune before they enroll in preschool. This, however, does not rule out the value of immunizations. Some care providers will even need proof of immunization to enroll your child to their program.
A happy baby with her mother after day care
Exclusive research carried out by U.S. National Institutes of Health found out that teenagers who have high academic achievement and higher cognitive went through high-quality childcare center as children.
More than 90% of the 1300+ children used in the study had someone other than their parents taking care of them before they were four years old.
The study defined a “high-quality day care” as a facility that provides extensive cognitive-boosting activities, healthy interaction with care providers and enough support system
Daycare kids are likely to attain college degrees
This is definitely something to celebrate. A three-decade study carried out by FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill learned that children who attended a quality daycare were four times likely to go to college compared to those who had not set foot in a daycare. Also, they had a higher number of years of total education than their other peers who were part of a control group.
Daycare kids are likely to postpone parenthood
You sure want to be a grandma, but you want that after a long time from now. Good news is a study by UNC showed that daycare kids were likely to postpone parenthood, with at least two years compared to the controlled group thanks to a great childhood development programme.
Daycare makes children consistent in their jobs
The UNC study also showed that children who attended day care were more likely to keep their jobs compared to the other group. At age 30, 75% of the kids who attended daycare had worked full-time for at least 16 out of 24 of the past months, while only 53% of the controlled group had the same result
Benefits of daycare for parents
Daycare does not only benefit the child, but also the parents. You can put your mind at ease if you are still wrestling as to whether to send your little one to a daycare or child care center. Here are a few benefits of daycare for parents that may help you to decide.
Regular schedules and activities (from original)
Although young children are not aware of the ticking clock, they have a schedule that they follow in the daycare. They are kept busy with a slate of activities which include; listening to stories, art, and craft, painting, songs among others.
These fun activities are critical to the intellectual growth and development of your toddler. The scheduled activities are also great for parents. This is because they do not have to worry about the unpredictable behavior of napping, eating, and playing of the child.
Social and economic benefits for parents (from original)
Dropping your child to childcare providers is a rushed and an anxiety-provoking experience to every parent. Regardless of the research that you may have carried out to choose and see that daycare is a good fit for your tot, it is still not easy to leave your precious toddler with strangers.
You have very little to no interaction with other parents sharing your experience.
However, a current study showed that a small amount with other parents provided immense benefits.
Research carried out by Chicago University showed that the few minute interactions with other parents while dropping off kids had long-term benefits. The parents gained “social capital” which gave them a sense of belonging. The small talks reduced financial stress and rates of depression among the parents. Additionally, talking to other parents helped them trust the institution.
Francine Lederer, a Clinical psychologist, encouraged other women who are financially stable and stayed at home, to resume work for their mental health. While this may seem against what’s best for your child, it may be the best decision for them.
Lederer argues that a majority of women who stay home suffer from depression, which is not good for their kids. If mom is happy working, and children are happy in a quality daycare, then it’s a win-win for everyone.
Daycare will help your family thrive
While the daycare option may not be the ideal idea of bringing up your precious tot, it is clear that the kid gains huge benefits in the long-run.
Finding an excellent daycare where kids are engaged, encouraged, supported, and exposed to a positive attitude can help toddlers and babies set a foundation for later intellectual strides. As kids learn to interact with grown-ups and kids, and tactics of problem-solving, their parents get a chance to know other parents and grow their social capital in society.
At what age is daycare beneficial?
Choosing when to start sending your little one to daycare is not an easy decision. In fact many factors will influence your decision. These include:
- Financial commitments
- Length of parental leave
- Your support network
- Your child’s health
- Distance and commuting comfort
- Reliability of the brand
While it would be best to wait until after your child turns one, the best time to send your child to daycare will most probably be dependent on factors other than your child’s age.
Thus, rather than deciding on the age to start sending your child to daycare, focus on choosing the right daycare provider for your child. There are pros and cons to starting daycare at any age, but most educators agree that high quality daycare is generally good for your child.
Do keep in mind that what works for one family may not be the answer for another. Individual circumstances play a large role when it comes to deciding when to start daycare. If you are a working parent and need to return to work soon after the birth of your child, pick a daycare that is able to cater to infants.
If you are starting at a later age, choose a daycare that provides a programme that is age appropriate. Toddlers and preschoolers are much more active so safety is also important.
As you can see, sending your child to daycare has plenty of benefits. In fact, the benefits of sending a child to daycare far outweighs staying at home. There is no perfect age to start daycare and each family has to decide the best time to do so. Rather than stress out over how old your child should be when he or she starts daycare, look for a high quality daycare center that is able to help your child grow and develop holistically.