Making the decision to send your little one to daycare can feel scary and overwhelming. You may wonder if it’s better for your child to stay home with you or another family member, or if daycare will really offer anything of benefit for your little one. Well, whether you realize it or not, there are actually numerous social and emotional benefits to sending your child to daycare, especially during their toddler years.
Social Benefits Of Daycare
The social benefits of daycare are one of the main reasons mothers make the choice to send children to a childcare center or preschool. These social benefits are countless, but there are several that really help set your child up for future success both during childhood and through their adult lives. Let’s look at a few of them:
Daycare Teaches Sharing & Cooperation
Sharing and cooperation can be especially difficult skills for toddlers and preschoolers to master. However, daycare helps provide the perfect space for children to learn and practice these skills in a setting with trained professionals who can help them troubleshoot when issues arise. It’s important for children to learn skills like problem-solving, conflict resolution, and cooperation during early childhood, and this can be harder for children to do from home.
Children Learn Structure & Routines
According to the team at Cornerstone Learning Center, daycare centers also provide another important social benefit to children: the concept of routines and structure. The rules and routines children learn in daycare help them understand how routines and rules help with socialization and society as a whole, which again benefits them both during childhood and adulthood.
Routines and structure also help children with emotional regulation and healthy habit building, which are highly beneficial for a child’s overall physical and mental health. Furthermore, routines teach children about expectations and cooperative living, which are additional social benefits.
Since daycare is often the first time children engage with others outside their own family, it’s a great place for children to gain a sense of community and collaborative living. Children often build relationships and participate in group activities through daycare, which are vital parts of development. Furthermore, daycare can help children gain exposure to cultural diversity, which helps them develop their acceptance skills.
Children Develop Friendships Through Daycare
Obviously, one of the biggest social benefits of daycare happens through the friendships children forge with their peers. In fact, research studies have proven that children who attend daycare get exposed to a wide variety of social situations, and this helps them learn how to adapt and make friends with people in various ways. This helps set children up for social success throughout life.
Emotional Benefits Of Daycare
While the social benefits of daycare are absolutely a major draw for many parents, children also gain emotional benefits from daycare, too. This can really help set the stage for future success, as you’ll see with some points below.
Children Engage in Social-Emotional Learning
Many daycare centers teach social-emotional learning (SEL) throughout the day. According to Edutopia, SEL helps children learn self-awareness and self-management, along with social awareness and decision-making skills. Believe it or not, all of these things can help children learn to regulate their emotions and communicate with them more effectively, which ultimately benefits children in the long run.
Daycare Teaching Behavior Management
According to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, children who attend daycare in a childcare center are less likely to display emotional outbursts or behavior issues once they begin attending public schools. This is often because children who participate in daycare on a regular basis learn skills during their time in daycare that help them better manage their emotions as they grow. This includes things patience, emotion regulation, manners, and emotional intelligence. While that’s not to say these skills cannot be taught at home, the difference is stay-at-home moms may or may not focus on these concepts, especially if their little one is the only one at home.
Children Work Through Separation Anxiety
Unfortunately, separation anxiety can be a major struggle for infants and toddlers, and it only gets worse the more they stay at home. However, daycare provides the perfect opportunity for little ones to learn that mom and dad do come back, and they learn that even without their parents, they can still feel safe and loved. This can really help kids better handle situations as they start school and helps them emotionally handle life.
Routines Boost Emotional Health
While routines offer many social and cognitive benefits, they also boost a child’s emotional health as well. In fact, most young children need routines and structure to feel safe and secure. When kids feel safe, they are more in control of their emotions and will express themselves in effective ways. Furthermore, this sense of safety benefits kids’ mental health too.
Daycare Fosters Independence in Children
Independence is important for kids, especially as they move into public schools. However, we don’t have to wait until kindergarten to teach kids about independence. In fact, that’s another great emotional benefit to daycare.
Although the student-to-teacher ratio in most daycare settings is fairly small, kids still don’t always receive 1 on 1 attention in daycare. This helps them learn to be more independent and do things on their own, which ultimately helps kids (and parents) in the long run.
Other Benefits Of Daycare
As you can see, the social and emotional benefits of daycare are great. However, there are a few other key benefits that parents should also note when they make the decision to send their child to daycare.
Daycare Centers Build Stronger Immune Systems
According to the Greater Cincinnati area YMCA, daycare centers also help children develop stronger immune systems. While dealing with colds and other illnesses isn’t fun, these early exposures ultimately help children build higher immunity levels, which means they end up sick less frequently as they grow older. Also, this boost during early childhood can be far more beneficial since they won’t remember being sick now.
Early Education Helps Children Perform Better Academically
Multiple studies have determined that early childhood education through daycare or preschool helps children maintain stronger reading and math skills as they grow up. This is great news for parents since college entrance requirements are harder than ever and the job market is competitive. In other words, this early investment can really pay off for kids as they grow up.
As you can tell, daycare offers many great benefits for your little one. Even if they just go part-time, it can really help them start off on the right food socially, emotionally, and academically. However, do be sure to research your daycare center before starting as not all daycare settings offer the same level of education and care.
Sources: Cornerstone Learning Center, Science Daily, Edutopia Journal of Epidemiology & Community HealthYMCA of Greater Cincinnati, University of Virginia
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