If you’re here, the chances are good that you’re probably pouring over your childcare options. Sites such as goaupair.com will compare different options for you. Whether you’re planning to go back to work or just want a few hours a week for self-care, running errands, and whatnot, you’ll likely need to send your child to daycare sooner or later.
Although the thought of having someone else watch your little one can provoke a lot of anxiety, it’s important to remember that you aren’t alone. According to the latest figures from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), nearly 60 percent of children under five years are in some kind of childcare arrangement, and 62 percent of them attend daycare facilities.
Equally important as you consider your options, research shows that enrolling your child in daycare with quality caregivers can have an immensely positive impact on your child — cognitively, emotionally, and socially. Let’s learn more about these great benefits of taking your kids to a good daycare center.
1- Daycare Can Help Your Child Succeed Later in Grade School
It’s never too early to start thinking about your child’s education, and it turns out sending your little one to daycare can help set them up for success later in grade school. That’s right; in a study that began in 1991, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) monitored well over 1,350 kids from the time they were born through different childcare options (at home with a nanny, relative, or a parent, or at a daycare facility) to grade school.
The researchers noted that children who attended a high-quality daycare facility as preschoolers performed better across most elementary school metrics than their counterparts who didn’t, especially regarding vocabulary and cognitive skills. According to another 2016 study, going to a quality daycare center gives your child a leg up on math skills and reading.
Furthermore, elementary teachers have also applauded how the best daycare centers prepare preschoolers for grade school. In particular, they noticed that children who went to daycare learn the importance of routine and structure and are more likely to put on their shoes, put away their coats, and do other tasks independently.
2- Daycare Builds Social and Emotional Skills
The development and nurturing of social and emotional skills are the most apparent of all the benefits of enrolling your child in a daycare facility. While most parents dream of staying all day, every day with their little ones, the social benefits young children gain from being with peers in a daycare setting are incredibly valuable. They learn how to make friends, negotiate conflicting wants and needs, and develop invaluable social skills like cooperation, teamwork, and sharing.
Unlike at home, where your child will only spend time with the nanny or close relatives, a daycare environment allows your youngster to play with peers, resolve disputes amicably, and share with others. This early socialization can help your tot learn, embrace, and practice an array of social, emotional, and cognitive skills, ranging from problem-solving to self-expression, all of which can prove priceless later on in life.
In addition, daycare attendees also acquire better communication skills at a young age, helping them with socialization further along the road. The trick is to choose a daycare center known for supporting children’s social and emotional development. An ideal center is where your child will spend quality time with other kids in a safe, supervised environment with responsive, caring, and supportive caregivers.
The emotional and social benefits of daycare last long after your child has joined grade school. In fact, emotional health and social development can help with molding behavior and preventing separation anxiety as your little one begins to exercise independence.
3- Daycare Fosters Independence
The best thing you can do for your kids at a young age is teach them independence and emotional self-reliance. That’s precisely what they will get from attending a top-notch childcare facility. A daycare environment provides children with ample time away from their siblings and parents to develop their own sense of independence, interests, and dislikes in the world.
Daycare exposes your child to new and different experiences, activities, and people you may otherwise have not encountered at home or with a nanny. In a child-driven daycare environment, children get a chance to try new activities, lead some activities, and enjoy playtime with peers with adult supervision but not intervention unless there’s conflict.
As your child makes decisions, learns the consequences of their choices, and navigates new situations, they will develop a sense of agency, independence, and self-control. They’ll also appreciate the power of patience, cooperation, and achieving their goals collaboratively. Ultimately, your child will start to gain confidence and trust themselves through these experiences, challenges, and efforts at a daycare setting.
4- Daycare Promotes Your Child’s Health and Wellbeing
You may think that your child is more likely to catch a cold at a daycare center, and in the age of Covid, this can cause parental anxiety. But daycare sites have always taken measures—deep cleaning, hand washing and hand sanitizing, careful practices around sneezing and coughing—to minimize contagion. And licensed daycare centers play a crucial role in promoting healthy habits like balanced nutrition, exercising, sleep, and so on.
Children at daycare are typically exposed to a broader menu of food. They’re also more likely to appreciate other cuisines and try new foods, particularly when their classmates and caregivers eat with them and talk about what they’re consuming.
Let’s not forget daycare centers are big promoters of preventative healthcare initiatives like health screening and vaccinations. Overall, kids who attend daycare usually have robust immune systems and tend to take fewer sick days on average in grade school, which causes less disruption to their family lifestyle and learning.
5- Daycare Offers More Resources – Books, Toys, and More
Daycare facilities are known for offering the best of both worlds to kids – a structured learning environment coupled with supervised, ample playtime. Most day care facilities provide a wide array of games, books, toys, and play equipment. This gives your child more opportunity for creative play and learning with building blocks, educational games, and arts and crafts.
Some centers also have activities like yoga, dancing, or music. And these resources and extras are typically factored into your annual or monthly costs, so you won’t be paying additional costs for these benefits.
Taking your little one to daycare is one of the best gifts you can give your child. It helps build social skills, prepares your child for preschool, fosters independence, and provides great resources for play and learning like toys, books, games, and playground equipment. It’s a great way to raise an all-around child that’s better prepared ready for school later on.
About the Writer
Sandra Chiu works as Director at LadyBug & Friends Daycare and Preschool.