Don’t fret; as long as you do your research, sending your child to a structured child care center is perfectly safe, and, in many ways, provides growing opportunities for both you and your little one.
Before making your decision about child care options, let’s take a look at five of the benefits of child care.
1. They Get More Time to Socialize
It’s critical that your child is around other children so that they can learn important socialization skills, according to Child Care Advantage. They will learn how to share, bond, problem-solve and work on teams. According to Children’s Campus, it also gives them the opportunity to learn who they are as an individual and determine what is expected of them from other people.
They can see how to handle their emotions in front of others and deal with situations that are tough. For instance, if they get mad when another child takes their toy and acts out, and the other child starts to cry, they will hopefully learn that it is important to share and not get angry over it because it can end up hurting others. Young children are all about themselves; it’s about their needs in a certain moment. They think, “I’m hungry right now, therefore, you must feed me.” With child care, they can learn to control that emotion and become less egocentric while learning to become more empathetic.
Teachers, caregivers, and other children will help your child learn that there are consequences for the actions they take. Maybe your child throws a tantrum because they want a toy another child is playing with. A teacher or caregiver will help course-correct the behavior while other children provide a lesson that everyone shares and gets a turn to play.
Another great benefit of child care is the time spent running around the playground with other children. Your child will get extra exercise without even noticing, which has positive impacts on their physical and mental health.
2. Flexibility to Focus on Your Career
Most child care centers operate during a standard work-week (M-F), opening early in the morning and closing late enough in the evening to allow for work schedules. This means you can get ready in the morning, drop your child off at the center and then spend an entire day focusing on your career.
Some parents, in order to make child care affordable will reduce work to part-time or offset hours with their partner to cut costs at their child care center. Others will opt to stay home entirely, which may seem like the most reasonable option at the time. This can make it difficult to grow your career and/or reduce the amount of quality time spent as a family. Typically parents that stay home to care for their child are ready for a break by the time their partner arrives. The parent that has worked all day becomes the primary caregiver in the evenings. Regardless of the situation, most parents find balancing care, career and quality time is a challenge with little ones.
Leveraging the benefits of a child care center allows both parents to flex their career growth potential while opening up opportunities to keep standard schedules, increasing quality family-time. By the end of your work day, you’re ready for some togetherness to talk about what the entire family experienced during their day.
3. It Prepares Them for School
You wouldn’t believe it, but pretty soon, your child will be in preschool and then in elementary school. Get a head start on ensuring their success in school by sending them to a child care center during the day.
In a center, they will learn to socialize, which is a critical skill in school through the rest of their life. They will also learn to be independent as they discover the world beyond home, which will prepare them for school. As they start their first day of kindergarten, you want them to be comfortable so they can focus on learning how to read and other valuable skills.
According to VeryWell Family, child care facilities will also teach your kid about putting away their shoes, hanging up their coats, and other tasks they will have to do as soon as they get to school. Plus, most child care providers will give your kids a head start on things like learning their ABCs, some early reading practice, how to do simple math and science, and broadening their communication skills.
Child care centers have very structured schedules, which is going to come in handy in preschool, elementary school and beyond. Getting your child into a structured routine early is only going to be beneficial in the years ahead.
4. You’re Leaving Them With Licensed Professionals
When choosing a child care program, it’s best to find one that is licensed. That way, you know they are following the minimum requirements set by the government, according to ChildCare.gov. The license will determine how many children an adult can watch, how safe the building must be, the nutrition of the food provided and training required in order for on-site child care attendants to work there.
When you hire a babysitter or a nanny, unfortunately, there is no licensing required. Sometimes, you may just hire a stranger online or hire someone your friend recommended leaving you unsure how much you can trust them. Licensed child care facilities are regularly monitored and inspected through unannounced visits. Any violation of the strict rules these centers are required to follow are posted at the center for at least 30 days and recorded online for historical viewing. Social media is also a common way for parents to communicate with each other on how a center is doing with their children. There’s enough information available with licensed facilities that parents can get a true sense of comfort entrusting a center with their child.
5. They Will Learn How to Interact With Adults
Not only is your child going to learn how to socialize with other children, but also with adults. They will learn to look to adults when they need help with a social situation, if they have an accident, if they need help pronouncing a word in a book they’re reading and much more. They will see adults as authority figures who are their mentors.
This will also come in handy when they go to school, where they will need to follow rules set by their teachers, classroom helpers, crossing guards, librarians, principals and other support staff. Being in a child care facility will broaden their respect for adults as they learn to be on their best behavior around them. This may help you avoid behavioral issues inside and outside of the classroom as they’ve had a head start on having rules reinforced by many different authority figures before they start their school career.
Finding the Right Child Care Facility
When searching for the best on-site child care facility for you and your kid, make sure that it follows licensing requirements, the staff has experience, the hours are flexible to your schedule and that other parents you know have had good experiences there. If education is highly important to you, ask about reading, math, science and other prep work they do to ensure kids will thrive in school when the time comes. Research a broad set of options so you feel good about the child care benefits you and your child will receive, including your closest child care center, Montessori schools or language immersion programs.
Of course, cost is very important as well. Child care costs can be pricey, ranging up to around $1,500-$2,000 per month. If you’re going back to work or expanding your work schedule, you may need assistance in order to pay for child care services. If that’s the case, make sure you reach out to Jump Start Finance today to help reduce your monthly payment for your child care tomorrow and beyond.