Sending your child to a daycare center can be a difficult decision to make. We all want the best for our little ones, so your primary concern is probably whether your child’s age is appropriate for this big change in their life.
Can your child be too young to be left at the daycare facility? How can you, as a parent, be certain that your child is getting everything they need to grow both emotionally and physically?
In this article, we’ll answer all of these questions and more, so keep on reading to learn everything you need to know about sending your child to daycare.
1. Small infants – should they be sent to daycare?
Even though you’re probably not entirely ready to part with your baby for 8 hours a day, parental leave doesn’t last forever. If you’re not able to find someone to babysit while you’re at work, daycare might be the only option you have.
Now, when your child is between 0 and 18 months old, it needs consistent 1-1 attention from their caregivers, which means that overcrowded daycare centers simply won’t cut it. So, if you’re sending your child to daycare because your parental leave is coming to an end (and your child is still an infant), make sure the center of your choice has a stable infant-to-care provider ratio. In this way, you’ll be certain there’s always someone responding to your child’s needs quickly and efficiently.
Most parents would argue that a child that’s only a couple of months old is too young to be sent to daycare. However, this doesn’t always have to be the case. There’s no perfect age for daycare – it all depends on your specific circumstances and your baby’s needs. As long as you find a reliable center, your child’s needs are bound to be met.
2. Toddlers – is sending them to daycare a good idea?
Toddlers between 18 months and 3 years of age require constant attention from their caregivers. They’re extremely active, so they need to be provided with a safe environment to explore and learn new things. While home-based care (such as hiring a babysitter) can work wonders at that age, sending them to a daycare center isn’t much different. In fact, your child will enjoy additional benefits simply by being surrounded by other children they can socialize with.
Now, of course, finding the right center is of the utmost importance. Make sure you meet the staff, examine their space to ensure it’s safe and clean, and don’t forget to ask about the number of children they take care of.
Overall, as we’ve already mentioned before, children of all ages can be sent to daycare – the best age depends on numerous factors that only you can decide on.
3. Preschoolers – can they benefit from daycare?
Modern daycare centers have everything your child needs – organized activities, safe surroundings, and constant adult supervision and care. Preschoolers can benefit tremendously from being in a daycare center as they’re able to socialize with their peers and practice their language skills there.
Again, you have to make sure to pick a quality center such as Wee Watch that employees caretakers you can trust. Don’t hesitate to compare different options until you’ve found something that suits you and your child’s needs. After all, nobody in this world knows your children better than you do. We cannot tell you what’s best for them – you have to figure it out by yourself.
4. It depends on the child
Some children will adapt to daycare more easily than others. If you think your child will have difficulties adapting to other children (and adults taking care of them), perhaps you should give yourself some time to prepare them for what’s coming.
This especially goes when we’re talking about preschoolers – children aged between 3-5. If your little one has some issues socializing with their peers, daycare can be an excellent place for them to learn social skills. However, you shouldn’t do it out of the blue – talk to your child, and make them excited to go to the center first.
5. The younger the child, the smaller the group should be
Small children and babies don’t react well to overstimulation. If your child is very young, they should be placed in a smaller daycare center that doesn’t have many babies in their care. Otherwise, the new environment can be overly stressful for your little one.
Again, you shouldn’t ask about the right time to send your child to daycare. It should rather be „how to find the right center for my child’s specific needs and circumstances?“
Either way, the younger your child is, the more attention it needs. If the caregivers are busy managing too many children at once, your child probably won’t get what it needs right away – make sure to consider that when you choose your center.
6. If you’re unsure about it, consider a homecare alternative
Hiring a nanny can be an excellent way to ensure your kids are happy and safe while you’re away. So, if you already have home care options at your disposal, and you’re not sure whether your child is ready for a daycare center, don’t hesitate to hire a nanny.
This individual should be someone you can trust and someone your child likes. Otherwise, you’ll have to deal with a plethora of issues down the road. So, if the nanny is not someone from your family circle, make sure you do a thorough „background“ check on them before inviting them into your home (and more importantly, into your child’s life!).
The bottom line
All in all, there’s no such thing as a „perfect age“ for sending your child to daycare. It all depends on your specific circumstances and your child’s personality and unique needs.
Either way, we hope this article shed some light on the topic in question, and we wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors.