5 Benefits of Daycare for Young Children

By Erminia Cardenas

Daycare is a necessity for most parents because many families require two incomes to get by financially. Others have made a personal choice to combine working and a supportive home life for the benefit of all members of the household. Single parents usually don’t have the capacity to raise their young ones and hold down a job at the same time.
While the inability to do it all is often stressful for many parents, they can rest assured daycare is a viable option. It offers long-lasting social, economic and academic benefits for kids and their parents. Studies have shown that children, including babies and infants from the ages of 6 months to 4 years, benefit from the daycare environment, including its quality instruction, structure and social lessons.

1. Regular Schedule and Activities 
Even young children have a schedule at daycare. Although they might not be aware of the ticking clock, children are provided with a full slate of activity that includes physical activity and storytelling. For toddlers, these fun tasks are essential to their intellectual growth and development. The scheduled activities are also satisfying for parents, who have less worry that their toddler’s behavior will be erratic at the end of the day due to a lack of structured times for eating, playing and napping.

2. Academic Advancement
A study by the U.S. National Institutes of Health found that young children had higher cognitive and academic achievement scores as teens if they spent time in quality daycare as young children. Of the more than 1,300 children studied, over 90 percent had been in the care of someone other than a parent before the age of 4. The study defined quality daycare as facilities that provide extensive interaction with care providers, support, and cognitive-boosting activities.

3. Time With Peers
Stay-at-home parents value the regular play dates they arrange with families and neighbors with kids of a similar age. Daycare interaction is an extension of this phenomenon, where kids get time around one another to spend in a supervised, structured and safe environment. Kids learn how to problem-solve, share and otherwise play and learn well together, while their minds are still growing and personalities still emerging.

4. Interaction With Other Adults
When children are very young, they learn about adults mostly from their parents and senior members of their families. Daycare provides an opportunity for children to see other adults as mentors and authority figures able to provide positive guidance. A 2006 National Institute of Child Health and Human Development study found that quality daycare was directly connected to quality caregiving. Specifically, adult care providers respond to children’s vocalizations, provide encouragement, show a positive attitude and discourage negative interactions in the daycare environment.

5. Smoother Transition to Kindergarten
A study at the University of Texas at Austin found that parents who enrolled their children in daycare were more involved in school life as their kids got older. This choice benefited not only the parents, who had greater involvement in their children’s structured academic life but the youngsters themselves. After going to daycare kids found it easier to adjust to formal schooling.

Daycare May Help Your Family Thrive
While choosing daycare may be a heart-pounding option for many parents, there is clear evidence children will benefit over the long term. Finding a quality daycare center where children are supported, engaged, encouraged and exposed to a positive attitude can help babies and toddlers set the groundwork for later intellectual strides.



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