For some parents, daycare is either an all-or-nothing proposition: they either rely on daycare because of work schedules, or they don't because they can be a stay-at-home parent. But what if daycare could work in concert with your at-home care, and could teach the child important foundational lessons before they even start school? That's exactly what a good daycare program will provide, and is one of the many reasons why you should consider enrolling your child in daycare, even if you are a stay-at-home parent.
Here are some other great reasons to consider daycare.
1. Develop Other, Non-Parental Authority Figures
No one will ever be able to replace or replicate the influence that a parent has on their kid, but every child needs to develop a healthy respect for other adults, besides their parents. Daycare teaches kids to listen and learn from others, and interact with people that can be a positive influence. This will translate to a more seamless transition to school for the child since they already have learned to respond to authority figures outside the home.
2. Greater Academic Achievement
Every child is different, but one study found that 90% of teens who scored high on cognitive development tests were also enrolled in "high-quality daycare" before the age of four. In this case, high-quality is defined as facilities where interaction was high and the kids could participate in regular thought-provoking activities. This is due in large part to the foundational aspects of education—basic math and the alphabet, for instance—were taught at an early age, alongside the socialization provided by other students who were eager to learn.
3. Increased Social Awareness
Behavioral skills develop very early in life, so it stands to reason that the more children are exposed to others, the better their social skills develop. This is one of the primary reasons that daycare works so well: Children are forced to interact with each other in a controlled environment where authority figures can moderate behavior. The children learn to share, talk, work together, and even resolve differences, all while having fun.
4. Learn to Keep to a Schedule
Toddlers have no schedule. In daycare, however, they're forced to keep to a regular retinue of activities: playtime, snacks, songs, storytelling, etc. This routine teaches them to accomplish things at a certain time, as well as expose them to a variety of fun activities on the same day.