It's a scene that's been played out countless times: a parent takes their wailing child to daycare, only to walk away feeling riddled with guilt for the rest of the day. Not only does the parent worry that their child will be traumatised by the separation, but they also worry that their child will be exposed to social and physical ills at the daycare.
A study conducted in France found that children who attend daycare at a centre are better behaved and more cognitively advanced than their peers who stay at home with a parent or caregiver. This means that working parents no longer have an excuse to feel guilty about sending their children to daycare.
Babies - 0 to 18 months
Babies do best in environments in which they receive a great deal of undivided attention from a single caregiver, and care that is provided in the baby's own home is ideal at this stage. However, in order for child care centres to be successful, the number of infants in each caregiver's charge should be kept to a minimum. This will enable the caregiver to attend to the requirements of the infants in a timely manner.
At this point, the continuity of care is the single most important factor to consider. Babies require a period of time before they can form an attachment to their caregiver and gain their trust. As they begin to discover the world around them, infants have a fundamental requirement for a setting that is both clean and secure.
Toddler - 18 months to 3 years
When it comes to child care, the requirements of infants and young toddlers are very comparable. Caregivers need to have a lot of patience and energy to work with toddlers because they respond positively to low caregiver to child ratios. However, this is the time when children begin to test their boundaries, and they require caregivers who are able to assist them in comprehending the bounds of the world in which they live.
Toddlers are very active and require a secure environment that allows them to explore while minimising the risk of getting scrapes and bumps. Children of this age benefit tremendously from having in-home care provided by professionals such as nannies and au pairs. Child care centres and family daycares can both be successful if they have low caregiver-to-child ratios, and they must also have a high rate of employee retention.
Another advantage of centre and family daycare for children of this age is that they give toddlers the opportunity to socialise with other children and give them the chance to participate in activities that they might not be able to do at home. This is a benefit that toddlers do not have the opportunity to experience at home.
Preschoolers - 3 to 5 years
Putting children in preschool in an environment where they can learn social skills and practise their language is beneficial because it gives them more opportunities to interact with other people. Children between the ages of three and five are eager to form relationships with their peers and engage in cooperative play with their pals.
A good child care centre can be very helpful in assisting children at this age in the acquisition of many early skills. It can also offer children the opportunity to take part in a wide variety of activities that they may not be able to do at home.
Home-based care is also beneficial for preschool-aged children, provided that they have access to materials and games that are suitable for their age group and that they interact frequently with children the same age as themselves. An in-home caregiver is able to supplement care with activities in the community such as those held at a local library or park, playgroups, or other group activities such as swimming lessons.
Benefits of Daycare for Young Children
Regular Schedule and Activities
Even infants and toddlers follow a schedule at the daycare. Children are given a full schedule of activities, including songs and storytelling, even though it is possible that they are unaware of the ticking clock. Some of the activities on this schedule include playing games. The intellectual growth and development of toddlers can be greatly aided by engaging in activities such as these. The scheduled activities are also satisfying for the parents, who have less worry that their toddler's behaviour will be erratic at the end of the day as a result of a lack of structured times for eating, playing, and napping. This is because the parents know exactly when their toddler will be eating, playing, and napping.
An exhaustive study conducted by the National Institutes of Health in the United States discovered that young children who spent time in high-quality daycare as young children had higher cognitive and academic achievement scores as teenagers. This was the finding of the study. Over ninety percent of the more than 1,300 children who were investigated had not been living with either of their biological parents by the time they turned 4 years old. According to the findings of the study, "high-quality" daycare centres are those that facilitate extensive interaction with care providers, as well as support and activities that boost cognitive functioning. If you're looking for a Early Learning Centre Sydney that develops children's unique capabilities, you’re in the right place.
Time With Peers
Parents who stay at home with their children value the regular play dates they set up with other families and neighbours who have children the same age as their own. This phenomenon is exacerbated by daycare interaction, in which children are given the opportunity to spend time around one another in an environment that is supervised, structured, and secure. As a consequence of this, children acquire the skills necessary to collaborate effectively in solving problems, sharing, and other forms of play and learning while their brains are still developing and their personalities are still taking shape.
Interaction With Other Adults
When kids are very young, the primary sources of information about adults they learn about are their parents and other more experienced members of their families. Children get the chance to interact with and learn from other adults at daycare, who can serve as role models and authoritative figures who can teach them positive life lessons. A study that was conducted in 2006 by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development discovered that the quality of caregiving was directly related to the quality of daycare. Specifically, adult care providers respond to the children's vocalisations, encourage positive interactions, and demonstrate a positive attitude in the daycare environment. They also discourage negative interactions.
Smoother Transition to Kindergarten
A study that was conducted at the University of Texas in Austin discovered that parents who put their children in daycare were more involved in their children's education as the children grew older. This decision was beneficial not only to the parents, who had a greater involvement in the academically structured life of their children, but also to the children and teenagers themselves. In addition, children reported having an easier time adjusting to the demands of formal education after having attended daycare.
Social and Economic Benefits for Parents
The act of bringing your child to daycare can feel like a frantic, stressful experience for both you and your child. Even if you have done your research and are actively engaged in learning about the staff, credentials, and day-to-day operations of the daycare, you are still leaving your precious child with a group of unknown individuals. This is something you should keep in mind. In addition, it's possible that you don't interact much, if at all, with people who are going through the same thing you are: other parents. A recent study, on the other hand, demonstrated that even a brief amount of time spent with other parents confers significant advantages.
According to research conducted at the University of Chicago, the brief amount of time spent by parents engaging in conversation while dropping off their children was associated with enormous long-term benefits. The parents developed what is known as "social capital," which is synonymous with a sense of belonging to a community. Parents had noticeably lower rates of depression and had significantly less difficulty financially over the course of the study period. The mere fact that the parents of other children were known to them increased the level of trust that the parents had in the organisation. Daycares were especially helpful in low-income neighbourhoods because the centres served as a kind of conduit for government support services. This made daycares especially beneficial in these areas.
Francine Lederer, a clinical psychologist, stated that some women who are financially able to stay at home might choose to go back to work for their mental health even though they have the option to stay at home. Although taking this course of action might go against common sense, doing so might actually be in the child's best interest. According to Lederer, non-working mothers are more likely to experience depression, which can have a negative impact on their offspring. On the other hand, the placement might be ideal for the family as a whole if the mother enjoys her job more and the children do well in a daycare centre of higher calibre.
Other things that affect children's feelings about starting a child care
There are a few other factors that can influence how your child will feel and react when it comes time to start attending child care, and they are as follows:
- Trusting, caring relationships with your child's educators: these relationships help your child respond well to child care.
- The child care setting: your child might feel more comfortable if the setting is like other places your child is familiar with.
- Your child's experiences of being cared for outside your immediate family: these experiences give your child practice in building relationships and help your child learn that you'll always come back.
- Your child's temperament: this affects the way your child responds to changes, including changes like a new child care setting.
- Your child's personal preferences: for example, your child might feel more comfortable if the setting's routines are a good fit for the way your child likes to be fed, comforted and soothed.
- Your child's age and stage of development: for example, babies younger than 6 months are often happy to be left with educators because they haven't yet developed separation anxiety or fear of strangers.
- The number of days your child is in care: children attending fewer days a week have less time to get familiar with and comfortable in their new setting.
How can a daycare assist you in your child's development?
At the daycare, especially for the youngest children, each individual child is given one caretaker who sees to all of their specific requirements. During the child's nap time, appropriate activities are selected for them, such as building with blocks or listening to music, based on their age and areas of interest. The child is then fed and put to sleep. The food is provided by the parents given the recommendation made by paediatricians that infants should only be fed from one specific source in order to develop immunity. In addition to this, we offer recommendations regarding the types of foods that should be given to children of varying ages. However, beginning at the age of 15 months, we begin to provide meals at the daycare facility itself. As a result, the kitchen in our house is fully functional. Looking for an early learning centre in Sydney ? Then Little Angels early learning centre is what you’re looking for.
Children who are cared for at the daycare centre are not coerced into adhering to a schedule. Instead, the goal is to make the day as interesting and participatory as possible." Your child might benefit from going to daycare because it provides the opportunity to socialise with a large number of other youngsters. And this is a much better option than giving them an electronic device such as a mobile phone to play with. A daycare is where a child will first be exposed to important aspects of socialisation and development, including empathy. Because they are constantly speaking to one another, it also assists children of this type in starting to talk at a very young age.
The majority of daycare centres will take children as old as six or seven years old at the earliest. When they reach this age, children typically begin attending primary school and may also begin participating in additional activity classes. On the other hand, there are still some of them around beyond that age. "For instance, we have a child who started attending our daycare when she was just one years old, and she is almost 10 years old now. There is such a strong bond that develops between you and the child, as well as between you and the child's parents. It is difficult to part ways with them. They are like a member of the family.
Is a daycare safe enough?
When looking for a daycare, one of the primary concerns that parents have is their child's safety. After all, the child is going to be in the care of strangers for an extended period of time while the parents are going to be absent. To begin, the likelihood of an infant becoming infected is increased when they are confined in a single space along with a large number of other children. Therefore, the layout of the daycare is very important. There ought to be a sizable play area that receives an adequate amount of natural light and has access to adequate ventilation. Some child care facilities adhere to international standards and regulations, which guarantees the same level of quality. It's important for parents to keep an eye on that. On the other hand, if your child were to be exposed to more germs, this would increase the likelihood that they would develop immunity. It goes without saying that no parent would ever wish for their child to become ill; consequently, it is best practise for children to be immunised before they attend daycare.
Because of the potential dangers to a child's health as well as the possibility of being abused, it is imperative that parents exercise extreme caution when selecting a daycare for their child and do extensive research before making their decision.
The majority of our clients are referred to us by other parents. Concerning the matter of safety, we have not had any incidents of this kind take place up to this point. We can chalk that up to good fortune. Every parent would want to have peace of mind knowing that their child is safe. We keep the parents apprised of the situation on a daily basis, sometimes even at lunchtime, and they are free to call at any time to have a conversation with their child.
Are you ready for a daycare?
Regardless of how wonderful a daycare may be, it is never simple for a child's parents to surrender their young child to the care of someone else in an unfamiliar environment. The child is typically unaware of the circumstances surrounding their separation from their parents, which causes the parents to experience a constant state of worry. And for this reason, parents need to mentally prepare themselves to part with their children before they embark on this journey. This change is challenging for many parents, and they would be wise to seek advice from specialists in this area. In addition, many daycares provide their students with an opportunity to attend a workshop on coping strategies for separation anxiety. The staff members at the daycare need to be well-trained in order to handle the situation with the child in a sensitive manner; otherwise, it will have a negative effect on them.
When is best?
The characteristics of both your child and your family's work schedule should be taken into consideration when determining the optimal time for your child to take part in organised activities or be dropped off at a daycare centre. There is no ideal age, and every child will adjust to the environment of the childcare centre in their own unique way.
You know your child's personality better than anyone else does; therefore, when you are deciding whether or not to put your child in care, you should take into consideration the following questions:
- Is your child confident with new people and quick to make new friends?
- Do they adjust well to new and unfamiliar environments?
- Is your child easily overwhelmed by noise and activity?
- Is your child a physically active little person who wants to participate in everything or more of an observer?
When considering care for children under the age of five, group size and the amount of stimulation should be taken into consideration. If you want to keep the noise and activity levels under control, the group size should ideally decrease as the child's age increases. See our list of available early learning programs Sydney to help you make an informed decision for your child.
Consider the stability of the group: if the caregivers and other children in your child's care environment are the same from week to week, your child will have the opportunity to cultivate long-lasting friendships and relationships, as well as a comfortable foundation for their own personal development. On the other hand, children whose living situations are less stable spend more time making new acquaintances than they do cultivating long-term relationships.
Even if you plan to be a full-time stay-at-home parent, it is still a good idea for your children to get some practise in a group care setting before they start school. This will help them transition more smoothly. As a consequence of this, they have no problem with having their needs met by adults who are not their parents.
Keep in mind that there is no such thing as the ideal age to put your child into care because it varies from family to family and situation to situation. You should make an effort to relax into your decision, and know that your upbeat attitude will have a significant impact on your child.
It is not necessary that young children's participation in child care, in which they are cared for by an adult who is not their parent, be associated with less-than-optimal cognitive development. On the other hand, it may be connected to increased development or even be a factor that compensates for a deficit.
However, the quality of child care must be high enough for it to meet the requirements necessary to either promote or inhibit the child's development. A high-quality day care centre provides more than just a secure environment for children; it also cultivates nurturing relationships and intellectually engaging settings that structure and support children's educational development. The financial and emotional means that a family possesses play a role in determining the quality of the child care that is made available to their children.
There is a shortage of child care that is of a high quality, with only about 10–15 percent of all child care slots being filled by these positions. However, it is important to note that the quality of care provided to children is not synonymous with the type of care provided; rather, children can receive care of a high quality in a variety of settings. Despite this, there is a paucity of research on the concurrent and long-term consequences for children who are exposed to very informal child care that is of poor quality, in addition to family poverty and mothers whose sensitivity may be impaired as a result of their challenging working conditions.
There is compelling evidence that children will benefit in the long run from attending daycare, despite the fact that this decision can cause significant anxiety for many parents. Finding a good daycare centre where children are supported, engaged, encouraged, and exposed to a positive attitude can be helpful for babies and toddlers in laying the groundwork for later intellectual strides. In addition, as children gain the ability to solve problems and interact constructively with adults and other children, their parents have the opportunity to meet one another, thereby increasing the amount of social capital they hold within their community.
FAQs About Daycare
Regarding cognitive development, studies have found negative effects, no significant links, and positive daycare effects. Research has shown that daycare hinders the quality of parent-child relations, does not hinder it, that the adverse effects are small and transitory, or intermittent.
Why is daycare good for babies? The growth and development that occurs in the first few years of your baby's life are significant. From ages 0 to 2 months, your baby is setting the foundation for their sense of security and safety. Daycare will offer plenty of opportunities to support this growth.
Starting daycare can be a stressful time, for both babies and parents alike. Some babies will adapt quickly, while others will cry every morning for many weeks.
Expect some tears. According to Wittenberg, the amount of time it takes for a child to adjust to their new environment at daycare can range anywhere from one day to four weeks, depending on the child's personality. Until then, there may be some crying when you pick up your child.
If your child is unhappy at their daycare, their behaviour can become extreme. You might find they become clingy, either not wanting you to leave them at the service or becoming clingier at home. On the other hand, you may find they begin to ignore you.