Deciding on quality childcare for your baby is one of the biggest stressors new parents face. Do you? Don’t you? What are the drawbacks to sending your child to daycare? To a Family Childcare? Hiring a Nanny?
Among all the fears that come with considering your childcare options, one of the things parents don’t often hear are the terrific ways family childcare benefits their kids.
After all, studies show that 85% of a human being’s brain development happens in the first five years. Where you decide to send your child, the programs you pick, the caregiver you leave them with MATTERS, vitally. (Not to put anymore pressure on you. I know the mom guilt is bad.)
Here is a little background on me. First and always, I’m a mom, but before having kids, I spent 5 years as a nanny. For the last 5 years, I’ve had the privilege of raising tiny humans in a family childcare setting. (In layman’s terms, I run a small home daycare). So when I say that I’ve experienced first hand the stress parents carry when trying to find the perfect fit for their child, on both sides of the fence, I mean it. It’s not easy for anyone involved, and that’s okay. However, the benefits of raising children in a family childcare environment- they’re there, they’re real.
And it’s worth it.
From my experience, a lot of children who stayed at home with mom most of their lives arrive scared or nervous. It’s new, unfamiliar, and LOUD.
One of the best parts of my jobs is getting to help these kids bloom. Joined in a social environment, kids’ language skills begin to explode. In awe, I marveled as small babies and toddlers performed tasks that most babies and toddlers wouldn’t dream of. They did this simply because they see their bigger friends doing it. I have seen rough and rowdy preschoolers learn sensitivity and gentleness when growing up with much smaller infants.
So frequently, when a parent leaves their child with a caregiver for the first time, there are tears on both ends. But dry your eyes, mama. Your sweet baby will be just fine.
3 Developmental Benefits for Kids in Daycare
- Increased Immunity
- Social Skills
- Sense of Community
1. Increased Immunity
Kids who grow up in a large childcare environment tend to get sick. A lot. I’ve had so many bugs and illnesses come through my little home it would make your skin crawl. Don’t get me wrong, I keep my home clean. It may not look like I have much to show for it, but I spend half my days scrubbing to keep the germs at bay. (Moms, you know what that’s like- now multiply it, by 5.) Yet, despite my best efforts (and lots of bleach & thieves essential oil), if one child comes in with a bug, chances are by weeks end, half of my kids have contracted it. As a provider and parent, it is frustrating.
So why is this a benefit? Because infections now mean fewer later. So while you may cringe at all the snotty noses when you drop your darling off at daycare, know that he is building his immunity. In fact, Dr. Morgan, Pediatric Doctor states that daycare children are shown to have lowered cases of infections, respiratory illnesses, asthma, even leukemia, as they age.
There are plenty of studies linking academic and socialization success to daycare in children. Everyday interaction with children, both younger and older than themselves, teach them how to relate to others, how to compromise, share, work together. Five-year-olds learn patience and gentleness with their younger peers. Infants follow around and copy the preschoolers. Putting aside the studies who show that daycare children excel in communication skills, I see the socialization benefits in my Littles every day.
Sure, the kids squabble. They argue, fight over toys. Sometimes they even bite. But, in those many arguments, they learn to discuss their feelings. They problem solve. They know each others favorite song, show, color. At such a young age, my Littles are best friends. Toddlers join us who are largely nonverbal, and in a few months time, I watch their verbal skills explode. I see their compassion and when I hear parents tell me how they babble about their friends, I know that they are receiving something more valuable in my home and childcare than they would ever receive at home by themselves all day.
3. Sense of Community
It could be, in part, that I run my family childcare business in a small, tight-knit, farming community. By our home, the kids run barefoot in the streets, roaming in packs throughout the neighborhood. When my Littles emerge outside to our play area, it is not uncommon that they’ll find themselves joined with several neighborhood children. Playing tag, racing on bikes in the cul-de-sac, jumping in muddy puddles, pushing each other on swings, my Littles and my neighbors’ children form their own, miniature sized community.
Part of the magic and what I love about this environment is that these same kids get to know one another from the time they could walk. They will go to school together, play soccer together, go to prom together. They are forming relationships that will last their lifetimes. Likewise, just as my Littles bond, so do their parents.
Some of my closest friendships grew from this daycare environment. Just as their children become friends, the parents bond as well. We look out for one another. We are our own community. And we are are a village. Together, through daycare, we are raising each others children. Our community grows and thrives together, from within and extending out from this simple daycare environment.
So yes, choosing to find someone else to raise your baby is nerve-wracking.
But the benefits to your child’s health, social development, and the socioeconomic repercussions could alleviate some of your fears and concerns. As it turns out, growing up daycare, grows some pretty awesome kids.
Drop a line in the comments! What factors went into your childcare decision for your little one? What were your concerns in choosing the right place? How has placing your child in daycare affected their development?