You need to put your child in daycare. You have a job, go to school or have some other major reason that takes you away from your little one. That's okay. Plenty of parents choose daycare. Almost 11 million children under age 5 are in child care each week, according to Child Care Aware of America. Even though you picked a center to provide supervision and care while you're away, your child is actually benefitting from her day there. How? Check out the ways that these early childhood environments help kids.
Building Basic Skills
Will your 5-year-old 'graduate' from child care knowing how to write a novel, do calculus or perform physics experiments? Probably not. But, she will start building the basics of a life-long education. This includes early literacy, beginning math, science, social studies and the arts. Your child will get the chance to hear stories, look through books, draw letters and see plenty of words in print. She'll also come out of daycare knowing how to count (most likely to 10), recognize numbers, identify shapes, measure, make comparisons and play with patterns. When it comes to other content areas, most daycare center provide at least some science, social studies (such as community helpers or "Where we live" lessons) and arts activities.
Less Colds, Eventually
Some, but not all, children seem to get more colds and minor illnesses during the preschool years. The constant exposure to other kids' germs and the close quarters can lead to the spread of viruses and other infections. How is this a plus? In a study published in JAMA Pediatrics researchers found that children in daycare may have more colds in the early years, but had less of them later on when they got to elementary school. It's thought that this early exposure might protect these children later on in the first few grade school years.
Social skill-building requires other people. By taking part in the daycare's class-like set-up your child is getting the chance to develop crucial social skills. This includes making friends, sharing, taking turns and social communication (such as when to listen and when to talk).
Your child is growing into an individual. At some point she'll need to take care of herself. Even though she doesn't need to move out on her own just yet, she does need to develop a sense of independence. Child care can helps kids to engage in self-care behaviors, away from mom and dad. This doesn't mean that the child care teachers and staff won't help the young students. Instead, they'll give them the chance to build independence while under their watchful eye.
Daycare is much more than a place to drop your child off while you're at work. It's an early learning center that teaches the basics, helps to build social skills and can help your child act independently. Along with those benefits, you may find that your child is healthier (than kids who weren't in care) when she enters elementary school.