Are kids in daycare smarter?

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    No matter how much you love your job or your daycare centre, saying farewell to your little one every morning is never easy. But take heart, moms, because an array of studies show that high-quality childcare, where there are frequent, positive interactions between caregivers and children, which usually correlates with low teacher-to-student ratios and teachers with higher levels of education, pays off in several important ways, well into adulthood. Want proof? Check out these surprising perks of sending your kids to daycare, all backed by scientific research and guaranteed to make you breathe a little easier the next time someone tries to make you feel guilty for being a hard-working mother.

    Let's say right now that parents make the best choice they can when it comes to caring for their children. Then, of course, a new study comes along every few months to say that, welp, the choice you made was less than ideal. Yay, modern parenthood. Keeping that in mind, let's talk about daycare...

    A study published this month in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that daycare children are better behaved and socialized than children cared for in at-home settings. The study isn't likely to cause parents to upend their childcare arrangements, but it may make parents who attend preschools feel confident about their choice.

    Researchers at Sorbonne University conducted the study. One of the study authors, Maria Melchior, said daycare children see a long-term impact on their development into adolescence. 

    Benefit from Daycare

    Daycare makes kids better behaved

    The conventional wisdom would have you believe that daycare kids grow up to be antisocial bullies, but rest easy: A new study confirms that kids who attend "high-quality, centre-based child care" actually exhibit better behaviours than those who don't. Researchers at Sorbonne University in Paris surveyed nearly 1,500 parents. The parents were asked to chronicle their child's behaviour from birth until 8 years. Again, a distinct pattern emerged: Children who attended daycare for more than one year demonstrated better social skills and fewer peer-related difficulties. 

    Daycare may lower the risk of cancer

    It turns out all of those daycare germs may be a good thing, strangely enough. Researchers from the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale in France studied 280 childhood cancer cases. They found that kids who had been in daycare were less likely to have acute leukemia than those who had only been at home. They theorized that kids who aren't exposed to infections end up overreacting to germs, later on leading to immune system malfunctions like leukemia. Other studies have shown that kids who attend daycare or playgroups have about a 30 per cent lower risk of developing the most common type of childhood leukemia.

    Daycare makes kids smarter

    In 2006, the National Institute of Childhood Health and Human Development conducted a seminal study of over 3,000 kids. The verdict should be reassuring to moms everywhere: Overall, children cared for by others didn't develop any differently than children cared for exclusively by their mothers. However, one encouraging caveat: Children in high-quality daycare had better language and cognitive development during the first four-and-a-half years of life. Even better, the benefits remain at least through the age of 15.

    Studies show that one's gene makeup influences intelligence, but the environment your children grow in also plays a big role. For example, it is said that your caring strategy for the first two years of the child's development directly affects the child's brain and IQ development. If a structured environment that maximizes your child's learning potential is what you're looking for in a daycare, Salt Lake City has several that have qualified teachers and strong curricula.

    Daycares can help make your kids smarter—and that is backed up by science. In its 9th issue, the Cochrane Library published a study conducted by Brown TW and his colleagues. It reviewed a total of 34,902 scientific studies that investigated the link between childcare children's intelligence. Out of all the studies reviewed, they generalized that children under five (5) years of age that have experienced centre-based daycare have a more improved cognitive ability than those who did not attend daycare.

    Daycare makes kids more likely to get college degrees

    Again, it's high-quality daycare here that counts. A 30-year study led by the FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that infants enrolled in a high-quality childcare program were four times more likely to have earned a college degree. They also had significantly more years of total education than their peers in a control group.

    Daycare makes kids more likely to postpone parenthood

    Sure, you want to be a grandma—a long time from now. Well, good news: The same UNC study, dubbed the Abecedarian Project, found that the kids in high-quality care delayed parenthood by almost two years compared to the control group.

    Daycare makes kids more likely to stay employed

    That's right—daycare makes kids more likely to hold down a job as adults, the UNC study found. At age 30, kids in high-quality care were more likely to have been consistently employed (75 per cent had worked full-time for at least 16 of the previous 24 months, compared to 53 per cent of the control group).

    Daycare makes kids less likely to inherit their mom's depression

    It makes sense: If Mom is hurting, kids are more likely to pick up on it if they're at home than at daycare. That's the conclusion from a 2013 study conducted by the University of Quebec, examining 1,759 children with mothers who suffered from depression. Research shows that depressed women are more likely to have kids who also develop depression and anxiety disorders and that those problems can extend through the teenage years. But kids who attended daycare had a 79 per cent reduced risk of developing emotional problems compared to kids who stayed home with their moms.


    Daycare makes kids less likely to get sick in grade school

    If that isn't a reason to love daycare, we don't know what is. But, again, it seems that all those early childhood sniffles pay off down the road by toughening up kids' immune systems. A study of 10,000 Australian children found that kids under 3½ were more likely to have ear infections than those exclusively at home (duh). Still, that ongoing problems with ear infections were lower in children who had attended daycare as babies. So, take heart, moms: They're getting it out of their system now.

    Young children in daycare get more ear and respiratory tract infections, The Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development found. The study was published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Get the Coronavirus Watch newsletter in your inbox.

    Stay safe and informed with updates on the spread of the coronavirus.

    But daycare babies get fewer infections later.

    Parents worried that they might have sickly children can stop worrying. Getting sick while kids are younger seemed to lessen the chances of sickness in elementary school. Researchers found that, for reasons unknown, once daycare kids are in grade school, they have 21 per cent fewer respiratory infections and 43 per cent fewer ear infections than the children who did not attend childcare centres.

    Daycare prepares kids for school

    Quality, as always, is key, but a 2016 study found that by age 5, children who attended formal childcare programs had substantially stronger reading and math skills relative to similar children who attended informal, home-based childcare settings. According to researchers from the University of Virginia, Cornell University, the Urban Institute and Stanford University, teachers with lots of education and training in early childhood development are pretty good at developing little learners.

    Daycare makes kids more efficient communicators

    One key to effective communication is adjusting your speech based on who you're talking to, and it looks like kids in daycare may be more intuitive in this regard. To study the neural mechanisms that support verbal and non-verbal communication, Dutch researchers watched 5-year-olds playing a two-person game and discovered that the more days children spent in daycare, the better they were able to adjust their communication style to the other player—likely because of their exposure to a greater variety of social situations, they suggest.

    Daycare moms are more likely to participate in their kids' schools

    It's time to say goodbye to the stereotype of the busy working mom who misses the PTA meeting. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin studied 1,300 children. They found that moms whose kids were cared for in daycare centres or others' homes were more likely to be involved in their children's schools starting in kindergarten—even more likely than mothers who cared for their kids themselves. That participation included everything from regular communication with teachers to attending an open house and forging friendships with other parents.

    Your child will have a regular schedule of activities

    Daycare services and institutions often follow a day to day schedule of activities for our young ones. These interactive learning sessions are not only fun for your tykes but are developed to nurture a specific area of your child's development. It may look like play, but these activities trigger our children's emotional, physical, social, and mental development towards their holistic growth and development.

    Daycare provides time with kids their age

    The importance of your kids' social development cannot be underrated. The social and emotional development they gain in the early years has profound effects later in life. Daycare centres provide an opportunity for children to hang out with other kids their age. This social network is very important. Through this, a child learns how to have a relationship and interact with others, take turns, play together and cooperate. It is also the time for kids to learn about trust, how to express themselves, and recognize their feelings. This is good training in understanding themselves and their environment.

    When this social development is nurtured, our children may gain positive attitudes, academic success, career growth and other good life outcomes. In addition, your child is less likely to get sick in grade school.

    Did you know that daycare boosts your children's immunity? According to research conducted by Thomas M. Ball, MD, MPH, and Anne Wright, PhD involving around 1000 children, children in daycare aged 2-3 years old caught a cold more frequently than children being cared for at home. However, at age 6-11, these children experience fewer colds than those cared for at home. In addition, Dr Thomas noted that the acquired immunity obtained by the child during their daycare years protects them from colds later in life. Also, a study from the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology suggests that children in a daycare centre have a lower risk of developing asthma.

    Daycare indeed has notable and surprising benefits. Daycare age represents an important stage in a child's development. Thus, you should choose the best daycare service in your area to give your child the best possible care and effectively harness their potential.

    Attending preschool can provide advantages for children that last well beyond early education

    • According to new research, children who attend quality preschools display greater self-regulatory behaviour and academic skills than their counterparts who don't attend preschool.
    • Benefits such as increased vocabulary gained through socializing with other kids and a love for books can provide a leg up for children throughout their academic careers.
    • Children attending preschools where teachers receive additional training can still show academic gains by as much as a quarter of a letter grade by the start of high school.

    With a new school year in full swing, parents of preschool-aged children may be asking themselves whether or not attending preschool makes much of a difference for young developing minds. After all, the costs can sometimes be high. Also, the children going into these programs are usually so young, it's not hard to see why some parents might feel their kid could gain the same benefits from daycare or stay at home.

    So, can attending preschool make a difference in a child's development? According to a new study released in the journal of Child Development, the answer is yes — if the program is a quality one. About half the participants attended Head Start programs where teachers received professional development and coaching focused on positive discipline strategies and providing help in managing their stress in the classroom. The other half attended traditional Head Start programs.

    The participants in those classrooms where teachers received additional training showed gains by as much as a quarter of a letter grade by the start of high school.

    Researchers concluded that the training teachers received led to a more positive class environment that resulted in immediate results in student's self-regulatory behaviour and academic skills — benefits that continued for years down the line. However, the study notes that "the program's effects on early self-regulatory skills did not predict improvements in executive function when the participants were in high school."

    Nevertheless, it's not the first study to produce similar results. For example, the Perry Preschool Project of the 1960s also highlighted how preschools run by highly trained teachers could have lasting impacts on the students attending, particularly those from disadvantaged and at-risk backgrounds.

    Choosing the right preschool for your child

    Nearly all the research that has been done in this area has shown that for kids to experience the lasting benefits of preschool, the teachers need to be highly trained in providing early childhood education. So what should parents be looking for when choosing a preschool program? First, parents should research the availability of high-quality preschools in their area to know what to expect from the programs available.


    That means if you have a child with special needs, you can contact your local school system for an evaluation, and they may be entitled to free preschool education. While most parents recognize the potential benefits of preschool, not all families can justify the cost. But there are options when money is a concern. 

    That means if you have a child with special needs, you can contact your local school system for an evaluation, and they may be entitled to free preschool education. In addition, we work with families to determine what type of financial support is available to them. For example, families may qualify for tuition assistance from a federal or state program or through their employer.

    Child care centres are better for children's development than home-based child care settings. The NICHD study [1] compared children who attended child care centres with children who attended home-based care (e.g. a home-based daycare, or care within the child's home by someone other than the child's parents).

    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.

    Many experts feel that 12 months old is an optimal time to transition an infant to daycare. It's commonly held that separation anxiety peaks at 9 months by many childhood care experts.

    Scroll to Top