High-quality child care can positively influence children's development and school readiness by providing valuable educational and social experiences. High-quality child care is characterized as:
- Having well-qualified, well-paid, stable staff, low child-adult ratios, and efficient management.
- It offers a program that covers all aspects of child development (physical, motor, emotional, social, language and cognitive development).
Research also shows that only high-quality provision can deliver well-being and appropriate development to young children. As an increasing number of mothers are in the workforce and most children ages three and older now attend a child care facility regularly, it has become critical that young children from all backgrounds have access to high-quality child care and early education.
5 Benefits From Early Childhood Education
If you're thinking of giving your child a head start before school, it pays to send them to a child care centre that focuses on child development and early childhood education.
Research shows that early childhood education is one of the best ways to help your child develop the social, emotional and cognitive skills they need to prepare for primary school and beyond.
Here are a few ways that your child can benefit from child development and early childhood education, now and in the future.
They'll develop good habits
Daily routines help children feel safe and secure. They're also a great way to teach children healthy habits, like brushing their teeth or washing their hands. In addition, when children know what to expect each day, they're more likely to be calm, settled and get into good sleeping habits. Over time, this early childhood development and education will help them start taking charge of daily activities, like getting dressed and packing their bag.
Childcare is ideal for helping your child get into a good routine. Educators know what skills your child needs to develop and use various techniques to help them develop these skills in a safe, structured environment. This not only prepares your child for kindergarten but makes family life easier, so you spend less time trying to get your child to cooperate and more time enjoying each other's company.
They'll develop literacy and numeracy skills
Literacy and numeracy skills form a foundation for child education, but it's more than just reading, writing and counting. Children learn literacy skills by listening to stories, talking about pictures and drawing shapes on paper. They learn numeracy skills by singing and playing music or pouring sand into containers of different sizes.
The literacy and numeracy skills your child learns before they start school dramatically impact their academic success later in life. For example, research shows that children who attend childcare for three years or more perform much better on year four literacy and numeracy tests, while 18 months of preschool has a greater impact on literacy and numeracy levels at age 11 than all six years of primary school.
They'll develop emotional resilience
Childcare gives your child an opportunity to develop social skills, which helps them form healthy relationships with other people. Early start child care will help them learn how to get along with other children, share and take turns, listen to others, communicate their ideas and become independent. Then, as your child grows older, they will use their talents to develop friendships that influence their sense of identity and future.
Childcare also helps your child develop emotional resilience. Research suggests that when they start childcare, kids who attend childcare at 2-3 years of age are more likely to be attentive and better able to cope with their emotions. Studies have even found that parents benefit from sending their children to childcare, reaping social, emotional, and even financial rewards from their relationships with other families at the centre.
They'll enjoy a successful future
Did you know the benefits of early childhood education can last a lifetime? In the United States, a 30-year survey revealed that adults who had a high-quality early childhood education from 0-5 years were more likely to be continuously employed and to graduate from university.
The skills that your child learns in the early years of their life are crucial for their social, emotional and academic performance. For example, research reveals that children who do not attend nursery or early childhood education are 50% more likely to start school with a developmental vulnerability.
They'll develop a lifelong love of learning
A high-quality early childhood education at a childcare centre will not only look after your child safe while you work but also inspire a lifelong love of learning. In addition, early childhood education can provide children with social and cognitive experiences that help them become independent and develop a positive attitude to learning. These skills help your child settle into primary school and drive their academic success4.
Whether your child is starting school next year or a few years, consider giving them an early start child care by sending them to a childcare centre that provides high-quality early childhood development education in fun, caring and supportive environment.
Benefits of Daycare for Both Children and Parents
Socialization & Interaction
Your child's experience at daycare provides an invaluable opportunity for them to develop their budding social skills as they interact with others.
One of the biggest advantages of daycare is your child's ability to build relationships with other children in a supervised environment. In addition, qualified teachers are trained to support and model prosocial behaviour, which can have a long-lasting impact on your child's social development. Studies have shown that a focus on prosocial behaviour in early childhood fosters altruistic traits and emotional intelligence, like empathy and compassion, throughout a child's life.
Your child's opportunity to build positive relationships with their new caregivers is also significant in their development. In addition, it will support a strong attachment style, which has significant long-term positive implications on their social and emotional well-being.
Connection & Communication
Stemming from the daily social interactions your child will have at daycare comes countless opportunities for connection and communication. One of the many benefits of daycare is the opportunity for your baby to engage with others in active communication as they make meaningful connections and strengthen their language skills.
The daily exchange of discourse with familiar faces and trained caregivers will promote your child's communication skills and their ability to express themselves. In addition, having a familiar environment where your child feels safe and comfortable will allow them the confidence to practice their expressive language skills at each developmental stage.
Consistency & Routine
The importance of consistency and routine in early childhood is undeniable – and daycare provides your child (and the entire family) with exactly that.
As new little humans in a big world, children need a solid foundation of structure and stability to learn and grow. So having a consistent schedule and routine is one of the big benefits of daycare: it's a great way to provide structure for children, which allows them to predict and anticipate what's next.
Predictability provides children with an opportunity to feel in control of their lives and increasingly confident in their place in the world.
Autonomy & Independence
Fostering your child's autonomy and independence at a young age is essential in setting them up to lead a life as a confident and capable adult. A quality daycare program will provide endless opportunities for children to strengthen their skills, becoming more autonomous and independent each day.
For parents, one of the many advantages of daycare is the independence it offers you as well. Yet, in addition to providing time to devote to work and other family duties, your time for independence as a parent is still important yet often overlooked.
Squeezing in solo time for self-care and activities that support your emotional well-being are essential in caring for your family. Even if it's just a quick 15-minute window where you can take a peaceful pause in your day — everyone needs their indepen
8 Tips for Choosing Child Care
Whether you choose a formal childcare centre, family daycare, or in-home care, there are some basic things you should know and insist upon. To help you make this all-important decision, we've talked to mothers and other experts who have been in the childcare trenches. Here are eight ways to size up a childcare option.
When you're visiting a potential site, pay attention to how the staff interacts with the children. Ideally, a caregiver should be on the floor playing with the kids or holding one on her lap. However, babies need close, loving, interactive relationships with adults in their early years to thrive.
That's why it's especially important that babies' first caregivers be warm and responsive and that even in group care, infants and older babies get a healthy dose of one-on-one time. (Though individual states set their staffing ratios for childcare facilities, the American Academy of Pediatrics specifically recommends a ratio of one adult for every three babies up to 12 months of age.)
Ask for a commitment
Babies need consistent, predictable care. It helps them to form a secure attachment to their caregivers, according to Debra K. Shutoff, a family therapist in private practice in St. Louis. If you're looking at an in-home caregiver, request that the person you're considering make a one-year commitment to the job.
If you're considering a centre, find out how long the current caregivers have been working there and how much turnover the centre usually experiences.
Do a policy check
Find out whether you share parenting philosophies on topics such as discipline (Do the caregivers use time-outs, scoldings?); television (Is the TV on all day or used sparingly, if at all?); feeding (What snacks or drinks are provided for older babies?); sleeping (When are naps offered? How are fussy babies put to sleep?); and so forth. Inquire about the sick-child policy (What symptoms prevent a child from attending?).
Also, ask whether there's a backup plan should the family daycare provider or in-home caregiver get sick and be unable to work. The more questions you ask early on, the less likely you are to be unpleasantly surprised later.
Drop by and spy
While word-of-mouth referrals from other parents or trusted resources are important, you need to look at a place for yourself to assess whether it meets your needs. Of course, any childcare environment should be kept clean, childproofed, and well stocked with sturdy books and age-appropriate toys.
Other details to consider: When older children share the space, toys with small parts (choking hazards) should be kept away from younger babies. Ideally, infants and babies should have their area where older toddlers won't get "loved" too much. A room or separate area dedicated solely to swings and bouncers may look appealing at first glance, but keep in mind that growing babies need plenty of floor time to develop and strengthen their muscles.
If possible, try to visit the same centres at different times to get a sense of how the staff interacts with the children and what the routine is. In addition, you may want to consider popping in unannounced a few times after you've enrolled your child, just to see how things are going. Sometimes your visits will confirm that the place is right for you, but sometimes they'll be a real eye-opener.
Until your baby can talk, you will be relying on what the caregiver tells you about your child's day.
Make sure you can communicate comfortably with each other. For example, when you first hand off your child in the morning, you should tell the caregiver how your little one slept the night before, if he is teething, and whether he ate breakfast. You'll want to know similar information, such as the number of diapers he went through when he napped and if he seemed happy overall. It's always preferable to speak to the caregiver in person.
If that's not possible, ask if there's a convenient time to phone, perhaps at nap time.
You'll inevitably experience conflicts with your caregiver, both large and small. Address problems right away rather than ignoring them until they grow out of proportion. Some issues can be resolved quickly; others may require more discussion. Whatever the conflict, respectfully treat the caregiver, but don't be afraid to speak up, says Deborah Borchers, MD, a pediatrician in private practice in Cincinnati.
When broaching a difficult subject, ask the caregiver's opinion, and hear her out. As the parent, you have the final word with an in-home caregiver, but you're more likely to elicit cooperation if the caregiver knows she has been heard. For example, instead of demanding an earlier nap time to make bedtime easier, ask the caregiver if she has ideas about how to adjust your baby's schedule so he won't grow so overtired in the evening.
Trust your gut
Every parent knows when something doesn't feel quite right. You may be turned off by a centre everyone in town raves about or clash with a highly recommended sitter. If that happens, keep searching. Babies deserve and thrive under good, nurturing care. On the other hand, investigate other options if something just doesn't feel right about your situation.
Be open to change
You're not married to a particular person or situation, and if things don't work out, you can always make a switch. So yes, you want consistency for your baby, but that doesn't mean you can't alter arrangements. Babies are resilient; as long as they're having a positive experience with their new caregiver, they'll be just fine, points out Dr Shatoff.
No matter what your work hours, you are still your child's essential caregiver—the most consistent source of love and support in her life. Under your care and guidance, along with the help of your well-chosen caregivers, your baby will flourish and grow into a happy, healthy child.
High quality child care can have a positive influence on children's development and school readiness by providing valuable educational and social experiences. High quality child care is characterized as: Having well-qualified, well-paid, stable staff, low child-adult ratios, and efficient management.
While some parents fear sending their babies to child care too early may cause behavioural and developmental problems, new Australian research turns that theory on its head. A study involving about 1,000 children indicates that entering child care before a first birthday does not impede development.