Separating ourselves from our young children, if only for a few hours a day, can be a very difficult decision for parents. It's not something to be taken lightly. There's an emotional bond that's created when the child is born that can feel threatened by the topic of daycare. There's a sense of responsibility that parents have to their kids. When someone suggests they put their kids in daycare, either for career or personal reasons, they can become defensive. This is a natural response, though. There are a lot of things to consider before doing this.
There have also been a number of studies that talk about the cons of sending children to daycare, including exposing them to a lot more viruses at an age where they're more prone to getting them. And while a lot of these concerns have validity, there are also a number of very well-documented pros to putting kids in daycare. These benefits are things that kids will gain that they may not be able to get from being at home with a parent.
Without further ado, here are 20 things kids will learn from daycare that their parents may not be able to provide at home.
20 Social Skills Beyond The Family
Perhaps the most obvious thing that kids learn from being in daycare versus what they can learn from their parents is the ability to socialize. Sure, parents teach their kids some of the basics, but there is a natural bond between parent and child that doesn't cause the child to be challenged. Put them in a social world, however, and that changes.
Even though it's on a very basic level, these kids are learning how to be around one another as well as figuring out group-dynamics. Daycare offers moments for children to experience both liking and disliking others as well as how to properly share. They are also seeing more creatures just like them and thus learning from them.
19 An Artistic Skill
Carol Veravanich, a teacher, and mother, argues, in an article published on ocregister.com, that children will not learn things like maturity or respect from daycare. These are things that are taught first and foremost in the home. However, she does go on to describe the importance of daycare programs that are focused on artistic endeavors such as art or music.
Things like art help a child explore their creativity in ways that aren't fully understood. They're also seeing that against the creative exploration of the children around them and not just within the confines of their home. Not only that, but they also learn some technical skill. However, if we're talking about mastering skill and rhythm, music classes, as well as sports programs, are equally as vital.
18 Mastering Their Motor Skills
When a child is put into daycare, they are automatically put into a learning experience whether we know it or not. This is because they are surrounded by other children who are at different stages of mastering their own bodies. This means that a child's motor skills can improve greatly since they will have to keep up with kids who have already learned to crawl or even walk.
On Pediatricsservices.com, Claire Lerner, a child-development specialist at Zero to Three, in Washington DC, talks about, for instance, how a six-month-old watching how an eight-month-old folding "laundry" while playing house can actually impress upon the child to physically do the same.
17 What Separation Anxiety Is Like
There are a number of children who aren't faced with the reality that they have to leave their parents, until they go off to kindergarten. This can result in tearful reactions when suddenly separated at the school doors. But daycare offers children the opportunity to slowly separate from their parents (if only for a couple hours) at an age where they aren't fully aware of what's going on. It's a slow, kind, way of giving them the emotional tools to deal with separation anxiety.
At this age, it is vital that children spend quality time with their parents in order to develop. Mammals are like this by nature, but they do also need to learn that as they get older they will slowly have to leave the nest. And the world outside isn't always as daunting as it may appear to be at first.
16 Give And Take
In an article on this very topic, published by Pediatricsservices.com, an interesting thing they mention has to do with the ability to "give-and-take." The example given in the article has to do with nine kids in a daycare facility who all want to play with the one Elmo doll the daycare has. When presented with this circumstance, a child not only needs to learn how to share, but he or she also will experience what it feels like to let these things go. Maybe they'll find another toy they want to play with more or maybe they'll sit and cry about the fact that they can't play with it.
Teachers will often encourage the children to share or implement a system where each child has a certain amount of time to play with the toy before passing it off to the next person. Whatever the circumstance is exactly, it's a great learning experience for them.
15 A Sense Of Community
There's a big difference between tribalism and having a sense of community. If you do enough research on tribalism, you will see how detrimental it can be to the development of a society and, most importantly, the individual. But having a sense of community is something that is highly beneficial to both the spirit and confidence of a person. These are things that are important to instill in children at a young age. And it's something that daycare naturally does.
A sense of community doesn't need to have anything to do with religion, creed, gender, or race, it's simply about being in an environment with people who have commonality and who care for each other. It's basically like Cheers, a place where "everyone knows your name."
A quality daycare is a community where children can laugh, learn, and play together while under the supervision of those who have their best interest at heart.
14 A Regular Schedule
As most adults do, children thrive on structure. Routine schedules are something most parents make sure they put their kids on at home and quality daycare extends these values in a way that will prepare them for the bigger schedules of adolescence and adulthood. These daycares have organized playtimes, meals, and nap times for all of the kids that they are pretty strict about.
Many parents in parenting communities around North America seem to agree with this benefit. Circle of Moms mother, Dora, found that these structures at daycare greatly benefited her 15-month-old son: "He is in a structured classroom which I love because that is how I was with him at home. They have a daily schedule that they follow: circle time, snack times... art class, reading time, etc..."
13 Playful Exploration
When young children are playing with toys suitable for their age they begin to examine the properties of these objects. They learn how to coordinate things by color and generally categorize objects. We all know that shapes and colors are very important to the development of cognitive skills in young children, but we may not be able to give them all of these opportunities at home. Or, at least, we may not be able to expose them to it as much.
In daycare, one of the prime objectives is that they are constantly given time to playfully explore. Not only with things like toys, but with each other, nature, and the space around them. This gives them more of an opportunity to learn how to be creative in reaching solutions when faced with practical problems.
12 How To Have A Friend
It's typical that stay-at-home parents spend a great deal of time trying to organize playdates with other kids so that their children will be exposed to people their own age, as well as build the necessary skills needed to make and hold friendships. Daycare is actually just an extension of these values. In fact, it kind of highlights these values. After all, kids are constantly around each other on a day-to-day basis. This gives them further opportunity to learn the necessary skills it takes to not only make a friendship but continue it.
All of this, of course, is structured and supervised so that the children can play and make friends in an environment that's safe and secure. By being around one another, they will learn how to manage each of their growing and differing personalities.
11 Learning Independence
Remember what it was like to leave your home and head off to high school for the first time? Remember how scary that felt? You were out there in the big bad world without your mom and dad to protect you. You had to figure out where you belonged really fast or face the consequences. And if you couldn't find a place, or simply didn't want to, you had to learn to be on your own. Well, that's the point...
When children leave home and go to daycare, they are learning some very important things about independence. Sure, it's the first attempt at learning independence, but we all need to take the leap. Unfortunately, unless you're constantly away from your child, this is simply not something they'll learn at home.
10 Building That Confidence
When at home, children are usually around parents who will guide them in every direction. If they stumble and fall, they have someone who will pick them up. This creates a level of nurture that's required in the development of mammals. But it's not the only development that's required... Confidence that's learned through independence is equally as important. Renowned psychologist Jordan Peterson even speaks about this subject in a very informative video as does Childcare Advantage.
At daycare, while teachers monitor the children closely, they are able to explore on their own. They have to carefully listen to instruction and solve problems by themselves without the help of their loving parents. Sure, these tasks may be very simple, but they are the building blocks for developing a confidence, independent person.
9 Getting Ahead Academically
Well-run and superior daycares tend to support a child's cognitive development, better preparing them for the harsher and more challenging learning environments they'll soon face. This is because they are constantly exposed to stimuli that cause their brains to react. This could be in the form of puzzles, music, drawing, stories, random play, and so on. This generally leads to better memory skills as well as math skills.
According to a study done by The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, children who are placed in daycares at a young age had, on average, have higher IQ scores (by 10 points) than children from similar backgrounds who didn't attend daycares. So, it's just something to think about...
8 Interacting With Other Adults
Putting your child into a daycare environment automatically gives them the opportunity to be around adults that they aren't related to on a daily basis. This gives them the basis to understand how they should interact with them when they get older.
Children's relationships with their parents, especially while they're growing-up, tends to be very different than the relationships they have with adults they aren't related to. Exposing them to other adults at an early age means that they can learn how to build emotional connections with other adults, parental-figures, teachers, and friends. It also means that they can start building a respect for authority figures who they don't have that parent-child bond with.
7 The Ability To Tell A Story
Sure, at home your child is probably being exposed to stories. You're probably reading to them every day or even making up tales on the spot whether they fully comprehend them or not. But story-time is such a monumental part of almost every daycare center. It's also something that other kids do when they play. They're making up stories as they play house, chase each other, or play with dolls. It's something that's constantly surrounding them when they're in the center.
Why is the ability to tell a story so important? Well, you don't have to be a creative person to do it practically every day. Stories are how we communicate with one another. We do it when we meet someone and tell them about us. It's what we do when we tell our loved ones about our day. It's what we do in a job interview. The ability to tell a compelling story is not only good for our creative but also our honesty and communication skills.
6 Hand-Eye Coordination
According to experts at Parents.com, one of the important things that a child must know how to do before entering kindergarten is to be able to use scissors. This leads to a larger topic of hand-eye coordination. It's something we've all had to learn at some stage. And if you've ever played a particularly bad game of beer-pong, you may still need to learn.
At these daycares, most children will learn to draw beyond mindless scribbles, as well as use a number of other tools that not every household may have access to. They'll also be doing it alongside other children who may have better or worse hand-eye coordination skills than they do. This will help them improve so they won't embarrass themselves when they're 21 and are playing that ever-so-popular university drinking game.
5 A Larger Vocabulary
There isn't much that tends to impress people more than someone who has a large vocabulary and knows how to use it efficiently and effectively — especially when it comes to insulting someone. Well, your kid will have an easier time getting just that if they go to daycare.
Hara Estroff Marano, a Psychology Today writer, reports that babies who are placed in high-quality daycare facilities often develop superior vocabularies due to the fact that they are exposed to more adult conversations.
This makes sense if you think about it. Usually the only way two frustrated daycare workers can vent to each other is through conversation. Little do they know, a lot of these kids are actually absorbing their words.
4 To Run Like A Maniac
"Dizzy play," a term coined by the researches at gnb.ca, essentially means the crazy energy that a child has when they run around and fall, hop, skip, and generally act like a maniac. This energy is usually what endears us to children in the first place. It's the type of reckless abandon that we wish we still had as adults. It just looks like so much fun after-all.
But this behavior is more than just fun, it also challenges their limitations. They become aware of themselves in ways that they couldn't before. It also establishes a level of acceptability for their actions.
Sure, all of these things can happen at home, but children are more likely to go and explore these things when in a room full of other kids who are doing the same. Just feel bad for the daycare workers who have to manage all of this energy in order to keep a safe environment.
3 Raise A Little Risk Taker
According to a study written by researches in the journal, Child Development, kids who spent a large amount of time in daycare at the young age had a slightly greater tendency toward impulsiveness and risk-taking by the age of 15 than those who spent less time in daycare. Perhaps you see this as a bad thing, but if you think about it, you may change your mind.
Some of the most successful people in the world have gotten where they are because they have the ability to take measured risks. There is also a degree of impulsiveness that's naturally built into that trait. Moreover, they aren't the type of people to sit around like Spock and calculate every possible decision, sometimes they just have to go for it.
2 Respecting Environments Outside Of Their Home
As soon as you take a child out of the house and place them in a new environment, they are faced with new rules. These rules could be anything from not wearing shoes in a specific room, cleaning up after yourself, or keeping quiet. Every space runs differently.
Due to early experiences, such as grade school and daycare, we learn how to act in different environments as we get older. Seriously, every single day we enter a different location that runs very differently than what we're normally used to. This is why exposing children to a school environment will essentially prepare them for how they should be interacting with their office space when they enter the work-force.
1 A Smoother Transition Into Kindergarten And Grade School
For almost all of the reasons mentioned above, ultimately, children learn how to transition into kindergarten and grade school more efficiently after going to daycare. This is not only due to things like the fact they've been exposed to things like art, music, story-telling, and a variety of academic studies, it's also because they've left the nest. They know how to be around people who aren't their family members. They know how to be in an environment that's not their home. They are more prepared to step forward into the world...
There's even a study done by the University of Texas at Austin that found that parents who put their children into daycare were more involved in school life as their kids got older. This means that the benefits are not only there for the children, but their parents as well.
References: HeavenSelect.com, ocregister.com, PediatricServices.com, gnb.ca, childcareadvantage.com, babycenter.com, Parents.com, LiveStrong.com, HuffingtonPost.com, PopSugar.com, FoxNews.com, TopNanny.net, Reuters.com, Time.com, Scholastic.com, CircleofMoms.com
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