The benefits of day care

Working parents have a choice to make when it comes to the care of their children; they can use family or friends, a nanny or babysitter, or send their child to day care. It can be a tough decision, and one they won’t make lightly. For some, the idea of sending their precious child into large and noisy day care centres is a scary one. However, parents should be rest assured that day care can be very beneficial to young children. Here are some of the pros of sending your child to day care:

Structure is good for kids

Babies and children crave routine and structure in their day. If you’ve read a book on babies, you will certainly have come across this information before. Give your child some structure to their day and they will be more settled and likely to be better sleepers. When you enrol your child at day care they will fall into the routine that has been set by the carers. There can be a routine set with your nanny as well, but it is more easily broken where as a centre needs to stay on schedule for all of the kids.

Older children need structure in their day so they can begin to learn on their own. When they have a parent hovering over them, telling them what to do at each step of the way, they don’t learn to think on their own. But when there is structure, the children can be left to do things by themselves a bit more, giving them some independence and room to learn. For example, when a child knows the cues for lunchtime they will learn to go and wash their hands all by themselves.

Social skills

Kids love being with their parents, but they also love playing with other kids. If they can’t be with their parents, then the next best thing is to be in a room full of playmates and potential new friends. Being in a day care will help children come out of their shell and learn to interact with peers as well as the adults at the centre. Kids will learn how to make friends, how to take it in turns and share and how to behave with other kids (such as no pushing or bullying). By the time they start ‘big school’ they should have a good little social group already formed. A child who has been to day care or pre school before starting primary school will also be used to listening to and following instructions.

Combat depression

An interesting study came out in 2013 which revealed that the children of depressed mothers who are enrolled in day care are less likely to have mental health problems passed down to them. According to the study, children who are at home full time with mothers suffering from depression are more likely to have separation anxiety, social withdrawal and emotional problems. This is good news for mothers with mental health issues, as they can now place their children into day care without worry or guilt, and use the time to help themselves or simply take a much needed break. The type of care used was highlighted as being important, with results showing that children flourished more, and suffered less problems, if they were in a day care centre with other kids to play with rather than being babysat by family or friends.

It’s fun

It’s a simple point, but so true. At the end of the day, kids love to play and they would play all day long if they were allowed. Rather than being stuck at home bored while mum does the cleaning or any of the other million chores and errands on her list, the kids can be happy making friends, doing craft and playing all day long. Even having a nanny or babysitter could be less interactive than a day care setting, where they have set activities as well as a plethora of toys and equipment. There’s nothing wrong with a little childhood boredom, it helps creativity, but it’s also nice to know the kids are happy playing as well.

School readiness

Some kids turn up to their first year of school completely unprepared and not at all ready for a classroom setting. However, if they’ve been enrolled in a high quality early learning program such as day care or pre school, they are more likely to be more advanced in key areas of development compared to other kids who have not had any exposure to early learning programs. These areas of development are; language and literacy, creativity, music and movement, initiative and social skills. They are generally more eager to learn, and they are good at following instructions and sitting still to listen.

If these points haven’t convinced you that it is ok to send your child to day care, just remember; they are in good hands. The people who are trusted to look after your little ones are qualified professionals and love children. You will be able to pick up on that from your initial visits to day care centres when you are searching for the right one.

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