You need to return to work, but you’ve also heard all the “not so nice” reports about daycare’s and childcare providers. You want to be the best parent, but also want to have a fulfilling career. While the inability to do it all is often stressful for many parents, they can rest assured daycare is a viable option.
It’s never too early to begin engaging your child in activities with other children…whether its with other infants, toddlers or older children. Finding out how to interact with their peers prepares them for his or her first encounter with school. A daycare environment is an ideal place to get a child comfortable with other children because they will have to learn socialization skills, as well as learning the concept of discipline.
A to Z Learning Center and Childcare’s philosophy is that it is usually too late to make up for time lost in their early stages of development. Before the age of five, many researchers have proven that a child’s personality and social outlook have already been formed. There are subtle changes from ages 7-12 and 13-18, but for the most part, they are who they are going to be by the end of early childhood. So if you start your child’s interaction with others when they start kindergarten or first grade, then it could be too late in order for them to make up the time lost in their early stages of development. Check out this video of our graduating class of 2016-17 A to Z Learning Center and Childcare’s Preschool. Our Preschool and childcare facility is widely known as one of the best preschools in the Louisville KY area (J-Town, Jefferson town, Fern Creek, Middle town).
As we will explore in the blog article, there are many advantages to sending your child to daycare. A quality childcare facility like A to Z Preschool and Childcare offers long-lasting social, economic and academic benefits for children and their parents. If you consider a few of these benefits, it will help you determine whether daycare is right for you and your child.
If you are a person who likes statistics, studies show that children, (including babies and infants from the ages of 6 months to 4 years), benefit from the daycare environment. Some of the main advantages of a quality daycare is daily instruction, structure, and social lessons. If you still have doubts, maybe the following list of benefits of enrolling your child in a daycare facility will help ease your concerns about childcare and the daycare industry in general.
A Consistent, Regular Schedule…In other words “Structure”
Even young children have a schedule at daycare, 6 weeks old to 6 years old…it shouldn’t matter. I would argue that a schedule for infants is more important than a schedule for a 3 year old. A to Z Learning Center makes sure your child is in a structured environment. We are so structured that sometimes the parents are the ones that need to be reminded of this . Although children might not be aware of the ticking clock, children are provided with a full slate of activities that include learning, songs, memorization, behavior modification, and storytelling. These fun tasks are essential to their intellectual growth and development. The scheduled activities are also satisfying for parents, because their toddler’s behavior won’t be erratic at the end of the day due to a lack of structured times for eating, playing and napping. However, its imperative that the parents try to keep up A to Z’s schedule when away from the center (for example, a scheduled bedtime consistent each night)…otherwise, our efforts will be less productive .
Interaction With Other Children
Infants need interaction with other children too. It’s never too early to start engaging them in activities with other children…whether they are with other babies, young children, or older children. Learning to engage with other children prepares them for their first encounters with school and social life. A daycare environment is an ideal situation for children to become accustomed to other kids, authority figures, and discipline so that when they go into kindergarten or first grade then there is less adjustment and shock. Mainly because daycare is a gentler environment. There are rules, but there is also more flexibility than stringent teachers might enforce in a traditional school setting.
Time With Peers
Your child needs time with other children and they need time to make friends too. Stay-at-home parents value the regular play dates they arrange with families and neighbors. However, the parent is still dictating everything. The earlier children can start to learn to make decisions, the better their decision making abilities will be when they get older. Discernment is a muscle that must be exercised in order to develop and grow. Daycare interaction is an extension of this phenomenon, where children get to spend time around one another in a supervised, structured and safe environment. Children learn how to problem-solve, share, understand consequences, and otherwise play/learn well together, while their minds are still growing and personalities still developing.
Interaction With Other Adults
Children take advantage of a quality daycare environment by broadening their world to consist of people other than their moms and dads. When children are very young, they learn about adults mostly from their parents and senior members of their families. Children benefit from childcare services by learning self-discipline, the best ways to agree with others, and ways to share…to be less self centered and focus on others more than themselves. They are initiated into the world of relationships. Without daycare, your child only understands you…You are their whole world. What a shock to find out one day around their 5th or 6th birthday that he or she is going to be away from their parents all day. That is a big blow to the psychology of a child who only knows their parents and suddenly realizes their parents aren’t the only adults who can tell them what to do!
Smoother Transition to Kindergarten
If a child has remained in daycare for extended periods of time, there will be less chance of separation anxiety when they get into school. While at daycare everyday, children become used to their parents being far away; Daycare helps them learn to make new friends and teaches them to be content without the undivided attention they generally gets from their parents (or a grandparent, babysitter, nanny, etc).
This “Pre” school environment teaches your child a standard of understanding of what will be expected of them as soon as they go to kindergarten, 1st grade and beyond. Your child will learn how to listen and accept the information that will be thrust upon them in school. If your child’s first experience in a school setting is kindergarten or 1st grade, then it could be very challenging for you and for them. We feel, and have come to know, that children gain so much from being in a quality daycare facility because they are exposed early to a class-like environment.
Interestingly, there was a study at the University of Texas at Austin which found that parents who enrolled their children in daycare were more involved in school life as their children got older. This choice benefited not only the parents, (who had greater involvement in their children’s structured academic life), but the children who attended a quality childcare facility also found it easier to adjust to formal schooling and continued to excel.
Another extensive study by the United States National Institute of Health found that young children had higher cognitive and academic achievement scores as teens if they spent time in high-quality daycare as young children. Of the more than 1,300 children studied, over 90% had been in the care of someone other than a parent before the age of 4. The study defined “high-quality” daycare as facilities that provide extensive interaction with care providers, support and cognitive-boosting activities.
Aside from learning socialization, children at a quality daycare like A to Z Learning Center and Childcare will learn many things in preschool that most 1st graders would know. We try to teach children to read as early as 2 years old…click here to download this kit to help your kids learn to read too. At the very least, if you decide to enroll your child at A to Z Learning Center and Childcare your child will learn simple math, counting, the alphabet, some Spanish, emergency phone numbers, as well as what is an emergency is, consequences, problem solving and simple logic to just name a few of the topics taught throughout the year.
A 2006 National Institute of Child Health and Human Development study found that high-quality daycare was directly connected to quality care giving. A to Z Learning Center and Childcare feels that it is more than just “quality care giving” that is responsible for a “high quality daycare”. There are several attributes that go into making a childcare facility extraordinary. They are vast and that is a topic for another blog article. However, I can touch on a few of the traits that we implement at A to Z Learning Center and Childcare, and we feel should be included in “quality care giving” or a “high quality daycare facility.” Specifically, quality childcare providers should respond to children’s vocalizations, provide encouragement, provide guidance on manners (i.e. “don’t eat with your hands”) and moral issues (i.e. “don’t pull Sally’s hair” or “don’t steal Johnny’s
toy”), what is right and wrong, teach patience, show a positive attitude and discourage negative interactions in a daycare environment. Once the child is old enough to attend school, a quality childcare facility can aid with homework. Some daycare facilities like A to Z Learning Center and Childcare also offer before-school and after-school care. Some other extracurricular activities that childcare facilities might offer are scout meetings, football, dance, soccer, and on-site gymnastics. When the child remains in a
quality childcare environment, his or her horizons begin to broaden. Also, by choosing the right daycare provider, you will feel as if you are helping your child grow into a well rounded, happy child…Instead of penalizing the both of you by keeping them with you at home, with a grandparent, a nanny, or other caregiver.
Social and Economic Benefits for Parents
Children can and will take advantage of everything a high quality childcare facility has to offer, but it is actually the parents who ultimately make the most impact on a child’s life. Dropping your child at daycare can seem like a rushed, often anxiety-provoking experience. But as we will discuss, it is wise to take advantage of those moments to and from daycare.
After spending a long day away from you, ask your child to tell you about their day when he or she gets picked up from daycare. Ask them who their friends are, was anyone nice to them today, and ask them information regarding their teachers, the topics discussed, etc. Getting a child to verbalize these things is very beneficial. Your child starts to learn that they can connect with you no matter what their age is, and getting them to strongly describe their day is exciting to a child – particularly if the parents show interest and positive reinforcement. Naturally, you are interested because this child is a smaller variation of yourself, taking on the world one day at a time, and their choices and desires will be a direct reflection of you. Take advantage of those times when we can talk, relate, and impart our wisdom onto our children. Children are only “kids” once, don’t take the time you have now for granted! Once they become teenagers you will be lucky to get a full sentence out of them (LOL!!).
To back up this theory of child development, the University of Chicago found that those few moments parents spent engaging in talk while dropping off their children provided immense long-term benefits. The parents gained “social capital,” which might also be thought of as a feeling of community, trustworthiness, and as an “authority” on all topics. Parents had markedly lower rates of depression and experienced less financial hardship over the long term, and simply knowing the parents of other children increased the level of trust parents had in the institution and the child’s social network.
Even if you have done your research and are actively engaged in learning about the daycare’s
staff, credentials, and day-to-day operations, you are still leaving your precious child with a group of people you don’t know too well. I get it…it can be a tense moment. At A to Z Learning Center and Childcare, we try to do the best we can in order to minimize this anxiety. What we have found that works the best is a clean, fast break. It is almost always the best option. Those parents who “draw out the goodbye’s” are only making it harder on them and the child to get used to the temporary separation.
Another socio-economic impact Clinical psychologist Francine Lederer stated in a recent article is that some women who are financially capable to stay at home may choose to go back to work for their own mental health. While this decision may seem counter-intuitive, it may be what’s best for the baby. According to Lederer, women who don’t work can suffer from depression, which may harm their children. If mom is happier working, and children thrive in a high-quality daycare, the placement may be best for everyone. You may have little to no interaction with people who are sharing your experience: other parents. However, a recent study showed that even a small amount of time with other parents provides immense benefit.
I hope you have found this article helpful. In order to sum up, whether its structure your child needs, or interaction with other children, adults, making friends and/or spending time with peers…Or maybe you happen to be concerned with the socio-economic benefits for parents and children…Whatever the situation might be, I think we all could agree that children will benefit from a loving, caring, quality childcare environment. A to Z Learning Center and Childcare does its best to ensure the safety and well-being of each child enrolled. We use positive reinforcement and negative consequences to provide a wonderful atmosphere for your child to grow and develop. We give every child the tools he or she needs in order to succeed and become a better person. Feel free to contact us in order to get more information on why all of our customers say: “A to Z, that’s the place for me!”