When is the Best Time to Send My Child to Daycare?
If you are a parent with a young child, their academic, emotional, and social development might be a few of your top concerns as they begin to grow up. If you’re new to parenthood, you might not know the first thing about daycare, yet it usually comes onto the scene quite early on in your child’s life – maybe even earlier than you'd have expected.
But don’t worry if you’re not an expert in this area. Read on to know what to anticipate with daycare and when you should send your child to it, getting your child’s life off to the best start today!
Should I Send My Infant to Daycare?
You might feel apprehensive about sending your child to a new place, but there are plenty of benefits to be gained from this experience – for both you and your infant.
Allowing your child to socialise with other kids at a young age allows them to develop those all-important social skills that can be utilised later on in life. Learning how to work as a team, share, and solve problems will help create success in both school and the workplace.
Furthermore, your infant will have the opportunity to make friends, making being with a large crowd less lonely, not to mention allowing them to build a stronger immune system.
Being exposed to more people will help build up natural bodily defences, potentially reducing sickness as they grow up. And let’s not forget you as the parent – getting some adult interaction or alone time is vital for your own mental wellbeing. This precious time is, after all, hard to come by!
When to Send My Infant to Daycare
It’s recommended that your child should be at least a year old before they start attending infant daycare. This is only a recommended age, though, as some children may not be ready to attend to such a daunting situation so early on.
If you’re unsure of whether your child is ready or not, perhaps observe how they react when they are away from you. Separation anxiety can be quite common in young infants, so individual stress levels do need to be taken into account. Whilst some children are quite easygoing, others get very anxious about being away from their primary caregiver.
Infants under 3 years old usually have higher stress levels than older children, meaning that half days at daycare are recommended at this age. As your child grows older than 3, you could start considering sending them for full days at daycare. Slowly building up this separation over an extended number of days and hours a week will help your child adjust to this change.
So, whilst there is no fixed answer of when to send to daycare, there are factors to consider for your infant, including their individual stress levels and how young they are. Building up from half to full days from a young age is usually recommended and can provide your child with social and emotional development in the long run.
Writer: Vicky Dillon