What is the worst age to start daycare?
If you have a small child, starting childcare is a big decision, especially the age at which they start.
It can be a stressful time for parents to leave their children in the care of others and you probably have many questions about what life will be like at daycare.
Let’s start with the basics of childcare before we go into the age.
Daycare centers are places where young children can be cared for during the day while their parents work or education etc.
The facility could be open every day of the week but many are just open on weekdays.
Those running the daycare center will be qualified in child care or early childhood education.
They have the critical responsibility of taking young children and assisting them in learning the necessary abilities to continue their development.
There may be a variety of rooms for the children based on their age group and activities tailored to each child’s individual needs but here we’ll look closer into the worst age to start daycare.
By the end, you should have all the info you need to know the best time to send your child into daycare.
Worst Age to Start Daycare
Stability and continuity of care are critical for a child’s growth between 0 and 18.
Young children benefit from one-on-one attention from a single caregiver who understands their requirements.
This compassionate, one-on-one care allows children to recognize and build strong attachment relationships with their primary caregivers, allowing them to feel safe and protected around them.
Due to the reduced amount of time the child can spend with their parents, putting a child in daycare too early for too many hours may result in weakened or insecure parental-attachment connections. So what is the worst age to start daycare?
Insecure attachment is most common when a child is placed in medical care for days or weeks with little parental involvement.
Of course, this is not the same as a childcare center, where a kid is returned to their parents’ care at the end of the day.
A single caregiver in a daycare facility is likely to have numerous responsibilities.
A child will encounter multiple caregivers throughout the day, interrupting care continuity and reducing a child’s ability to build attachment connections to a single caregiver.
Daycare can be ideal for young children and toddlers if the caregiver-to-child ratio is low, allowing for a more stable group of caregivers who are more likely to develop sensitivity and respond quickly to their particular needs.
Then comes the aspect of your child’s readiness for childcare.
The most critical factor to consider is whether or not your youngster is ready to start daycare.
Your child must be able to conform to the daycare routine, especially if they are accustomed to eating whenever they want and resting for as long as they wish.
Serving snacks or reading bedtime stories simultaneously every day are simple methods to help your youngster adapt to routine.
Nap times, lunches, and play hours are all indicated on most daycare schedules.
1. Risks of Starting Daycare Too Early
Human cortisol, or stress hormone, levels change throughout the day. The high levels of peer contact in daycare settings are thought to contribute to the rise in stress levels.
For adults, let alone children, being in noisy, highly stimulating situations is stressful for an extended period.
Then comes the aspect of behavioral issues and aggression.
Early entry into extended hours of non-parental childcare before the first birthday is linked to an increased frequency of poor social conduct, behavioral issues, and hostility.
However, when familial variables were taken into account, mother sensitivity remained the most important predictor of children’s behavioral outcomes, offsetting the potential detrimental impacts of early childcare.
It is also essential to consider the quality of daycare services.
Regardless of the number of hours spent in daycare, children who receive high-quality care at any age have more excellent pro-social behaviors and fewer occurrences of hostility.
It’s these contradictions and variables that make it almost impossible to say that there is a bad or good time to start daycare.
The behavior of a child can be down to many factors with childcare being just one of them.
2. Things to Consider Before Putting Your Child (Of Any Age) In Daycare
According to one study, high-quality early childhood childcare enhanced children’s behavioral and social results and academic performance into adolescence.
Consider variables that will affect your child’s emotional, social, and cognitive well-being and have proper safety measures and childproofing, policies, and licensed trained staff.
A good daycare facility should offer a caring, sensitive environment with a low caregiver-to-child ratio to guarantee that every kid’s needs are fulfilled.
There should be at least a 1:4 caregiver-to-infant ratio for infants under 15 months old.
This is especially critical if your child has special needs or has medical or dietary restrictions.
A high-quality daycare should have a low turnover rate of caregivers.
Newborns should spend at least a year with the same caregiver to build attachment.
The consistency and permanence of having the same caregiver every day will provide children with a sense of security and permanence.
The length of time spent in daycare has a significant impact on a child’s growth.
During their time in daycare, children, particularly those under the age of three, face elevated stress levels.
For toddlers and young children, childcare can be an enjoyable experience, but extended amounts of time at daycare may increase their stress levels.
When timid and reticent children are left in daycare, they are more likely to experience emotional stress.
Using short periods to ease your child into non-parental childcare can help reduce daycare stress.
To minimize high-stress levels, keep daycare hours to a minimum, especially for children under three.
If you know your child is anxious, consider combining daycare with at-home childcare from a nanny or babysitter.
You can increase your child’s number of daycare hours as they get older and more comfortable with it.
3. What is the Best and Worst Age for Daycare?
What is the best age for daycare and is sending them to daycare at six months too soon?
There are both advantages and disadvantages of enrolling your kid at six months. What are the benefits, you might ask?
According to several research papers, enrolling babies when they are only a few months old has a positive effect on their verbal and cognitive skills.
The second benefit of daycare is its positive impact on behavioral attributes.
When babies are exposed to other babies of their age, they quickly adapt to the environment. It helps them develop sympathy for others.
Also, they quickly learn how to behave in social surroundings and interact with others.
Developing social skills is impossible if you put your baby at home with a nanny. Moreover, daycare helps prepare your baby for kindergarten.
But what if you have missed the six-month window? Is it too late? Can you expect the same results if you enroll your baby at a daycare at the age of 12-months?
The first year is crucial for every baby’s development. In the first year, babies develop essential skills such as pointing, talking, standing, drinking, eating, etc.
When babies are put in daycare, they can learn from their peers which is often impossible in a home with any other (or younger) children.
Babies might fail at their first few attempts at walking, but when they see their friends walking without any assistance, they get a positive push to learn to walk.
According to several research studies, babies enrolled in quality daycare centers before the age of three can develop advanced cognitive and social skills.
If your baby is under three years, you should consider enrolling them in a daycare or a preschool.
There is still time to find a good daycare and enroll your baby in it.
4. Signs Your Child is Ready for Daycare
If your child meets the below-mentioned criteria, they may be ready for daycare:
- The kid has a close link with their parents but can play independently for brief periods
- They are interested in the world around them
- The child begins to adapt to patterns such as sleeping through the night and eating at set times
- The child is beginning to communicate through sign language or single words
- The child can communicate fundamental demands like hunger and thirst
- The child has a regular sleeping pattern
12 to 18 months is the best period to put a child in daycare. However, there is no worst age to start daycare as every child will develop differently.
While there have been plenty of studies into it, none of them can account for all of the variables.
As we have seen above, not every child needs daycare. It would be best if you tried experimenting.
If you don’t see any positive results from putting your baby at a daycare, you always have the option of keeping your baby at home or switching to daycare.
You can always find a balance between your work and personal life.
If your work offers flexibility, then it can be a great idea to spend plenty of time with your baby and send them to daycare part-time.
When it comes to your child’s development, you have complete discretion on what you want to do.
As parents, we never want to compromise our baby’s development, do we?
Lastly, you have the guilt factor. Parents often feel guilt after putting their babies at daycare.
Parents feel like they are abandoning their babies. The reality is there are many benefits to daycare and more often than not, you’ll miss your baby a lot more than they’ll miss you!
Whether they are six months old or three years old, there is no bad age to start daycare.
There may be an adjustment period but your child spending time at a high-quality daycare will only aid in their educational development and social skills.
Frequently Asked Questions
What age is best for starting daycare?
According to some studies, children who begin daycare at the age of 12 months are better behaved than those who do not attend.
This is likely because they have more opportunities for social engagement.
According to developmental psychologist Dona Matthews, children thrive in infancy when they can be at home with their families.
A warm, loving family setting provides them with more stability, allowing them to grow and gain emotional maturity but there are also many benefits of daycare.
How long does it take one year old to adjust to daycare?
There is no definite answer here. A one-year-old may go into daycare straight away, find a new best friend, adore their caregiver, and be instantly happy.
More often than not, an adjustment period will be needed and can last anywhere up to a month.
Do babies feel abandoned at daycare?
Most likely not but some children can have separation anxiety, and parents get it too!
If you feel like your child will struggle, then you can start slowly with daycare and leave them for a few hours.
Children usually adapt very quickly and you shouldn’t feel guilty about leaving them in daycare.
Mo Mulla is a work from home dad who enjoys reading and listening to music, He loves being a dad and husband to a growing family. He also loves writing about his passions and hopes to change the world, 1 blog post at a time!
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