According to experts, the best age for a child to start daycare is at least 12-months-old. However, just because that is the earliest acceptable age does not mean that your child will be ready for daycare that early.
The biggest consideration you have to keep in mind is how your child reacts to being away from you. Some studies have shown that starting daycare too early creates increased stress levels in infants, so it is a balance that you have to strike. Most centers offering infant daycare accept babies who are 6 weeks of age or older.
When to start your child in daycare is a personal decision that may depend on many factors, including the length of your parental leave, your partner’s ability to take leave, your financial responsibilities, and whether you have other childcare options, such as family members.
Although infants can start daycare at 6 weeks, many experts agree that the longer you can wait the better. Note that this allows time for the establishment of a secure attachment with your child, complete healing of the umbilical cord, figuring out feeding and sleep patterns, and adjusting to a new life together.
Since many working parents have only a six-week leave and their families rely on their income, waiting until the baby is older is not always an option. And since daycare centers will not take babies under 6 weeks of age, and many facilities are not equipped to handle the special needs of infants born prematurely or with special medical concerns, there may be other ways to ensure that these newborns receive excellent care while you’re at work. In-home care providers, family members, and nannies or au pairs are all options to consider.
Ensure to ask a lot of questions about whether the daycare is licensed, the caregiver’s qualifications, the ratio of babies and caregivers as well as the structure of the day. Babies need a clean and safe environment as they start to explore the world around them.
Pros and Cons of Putting Your Child in Daycare
A daycare center is a good option for parents, who due to work constraints or due to other reasons cannot be with their babies. Here are various advantages and disadvantages of a daycare center;
When your child is ready, there are many benefits to be gained, both for them and for you.
- Early-age socialization with kids their own age teaches valuable social skills that will be used later in life. They will learn how to share, solve problems, and work as a team, which is all invaluable to ensure their success later, in school and life.
- Offers an opportunity to make friends early in life, making the experience less lonely or isolating.
- Note that being around other children will help them build a stronger immune system. Sure this means when your child starts daycare, they may get sick a few times, but it is actually building up their natural defenses. That means fewer colds and fewer missed school days as they grow up.
- Also by starting education early, they are more prepared for learning activities going forward, allowing them to make the most of them.
- You’re going to get some time to yourself or adult interaction which, when you have a young child, we know is hard to come by.
Daycare center is a wonderful option for your child, however, everything may have some pros and cons and the following are some of the cons or disadvantages of a daycare center:
- You may have to shed extra money for an extended stay at a daycare center.
- Some daycare centers may not be functional on holidays; you may have to look for alternate arrangements.
- In some cases, daycare centers may not permit a sick child.
- Coupled with other things, your child may be sharing germs too. This means your kid more susceptible to catching various kinds of infections and diseases at a daycare center.
- Daycare is a place where kids from various families and backgrounds may come. Where your kid may be learning good things but he is also exposed to various bad habits of other children too. Your kid may pick up bad words or habits from other children.
- Daycare centers follow a routine and sometimes your kid may not adjust well to it and it may create problems for you too.
- Also, note that your child may be in a noisy atmosphere and he may not like it.
- Spending time in a daycare center provides for a less personalized experience in comparison to the services of a nanny.
While choosing daycare may be a difficult option for many parents, there are clear evidence children will benefit over the long term. Locating 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.