In today’s fast-paced world, both parents often feel the need, or the desire, to continue working and furthering their careers. Daycare has become the primary solution for taking care of these little ones while Mom and Dad are away. But some parents may wonder: Is it Healthy for Babies to go to Daycare? Like many problems, there are several different angles to consider. In this article, we’ll look at some of the Advantages, and the Concerns, for sending babies and toddlers to childcare.
The Advantages of Daycare for Babies
- Social Development: Childcare provides babies with critical opportunities to socialize and interact with their peers. Early socialization is pivotal for emotional and interpersonal growth. As Dr. Jack Shonkoff from Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child points out, social interactions in early childhood lay the foundation for future emotional resilience and adaptability. If you keep the baby at home by themselves, they will miss this opportunity.
- Cognitive Stimulation: High quality childcare centers like Big Hearts Little Hands offer a wide range of activities specifically designed for babies and toddlers. From music to art, these sessions promote cognitive development. A study published in Child Development indicates that structured environments can facilitate better cognitive growth in young children. While most parents have age-appropriate toys at home, they may not be as educationally targeted, or as effective, to encourage this type of growth as the ones your childcare provider hand-curates for your child.
- Routine Consistency: A predictable routine in daycare aids in better sleep patterns and meal timings for babies, contributing to overall health and well-being. In childcare, mealtimes and nap times are on an exact schedule, and the child is encouraged to participate along with all their peers. At home, mealtimes and naptimes might vary widely or even be skipped, depending on the temperament of the child and the parent. And that can be detrimental to the baby. Daycares help ensure a stable routine day-to-day.
- Building Immunity: Daycares get a bad rap for bringing home “the plague”. And yes, putting a bunch of children together in close proximity, for long periods of time, does facilitate germ spread. But paradoxically, while new babies attending daycare might initially catch some common colds or gremlins, the constant exposure actually strengthens their immune system over time. Dr. Elsie Taveras, chief of general pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital, suggests that early exposure to germs can lead to a more robust immune system in the long run4. And it’s commonly observed that in daycare babies, they eventually acclimate to each other, and stop becoming sick any more often than a child at home.
Concerns Surrounding Daycare for Babies
- Germs and Illness: Though Building Immunity should happen eventually, parents should still be prepared for possible frequent illnesses, especially in the initial months. It’s no fun to watch your little one struggle with a sickness, and even less fun when they inevitably pass it to you and the rest of the family. Immune system boosters like Elderberry Syrup, or preventative medication, could help avoid nasty microscopic gremlins!
- Attachment Considerations: Like all things, daycare is a balance. Quality parenting time is still absolutely essential to maintain and strengthen the parent-child bond. Parents may be exhausted after a long day at work, but they should find it within themselves to still spend some quality time with their child, who has been missing them all day.
- Quality Assurance: It’s of utmost importance to select a high quality daycare or childcare center, like Big Hearts Little Hands daycare in Powell OH. Not all daycare centers maintain the same standards. Rigorous research and regular checks are essential to ensure a baby’s safety and well-being.
No one can make this decision better than you, the parent. Daycare offers numerous benefits for babies and toddlers. But the decision of whether to attend daycare, and what center to choose, is up to you. Big Hearts Little Hands is one such high quality daycare in Powell, OH. Since 2014, we are committed to providing a safe, loving, and nurturing atmosphere, with learning experiences that are fun, creative and educational. We have a phenomenal in-house designed, theme-based curriculum, supplemented with rich extracurricular activities. We have tenured, experienced and credentialed teachers that are passionate about early childhood education, including some that have been here 5+ years. If you’d like more information about our center, Book a Tour Today, or Check out our Facebook!
- Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child – Dr. Jack Shonkoff
- Structured Environments and Cognitive Growth in Children – Child Development Journal
- Benefits of Routine in Childhood – Psychology Today
- Dr. Elsie Taveras on Immunity and Early Childhood – Massachusetts General Hospital
- The Role of Parent-Child Bonding in Early Childhood Development – American Academy of Pediatrics