According to research, children receive the most benefits from preschool when they are at least 12-months-old at the time of enrollment. Our Coral Springs daycare is open to children that are just 12 months old, but that doesn’t mean your child is ready for daycare at this time.
Parents don’t always have the luxury to wait to enroll their child due to work or other obligations. In which case, it is fundamental to find a low-stress daycare with attentive, high quality staff and adequate caretaker ratios.
No matter what age you enroll your child in daycare, the first few days, and maybe even weeks, might be difficult. It’s important to focus on the fact that you and your child will get through it and going to daycare will eventually become the norm.
Is It Ever Too Early To Enroll Kids In Daycare?
The best age to start preschool is largely dependent on the school your child attends and how your child responds to being separated from you. One Norway-based study found that starting your child in daycare too young may actually increases infant stress levels.
The study found that children received the most benefits and the least drawbacks from daycare when parents waited until children were at least 1-year-old before enrolling them in preschool.
The same study identified two fundamental factors that, regardless of age, determine how your child will adjust to daycare, 1) How long they stay at daycare each day, and 2) How stressed out they naturally are.
How Long Will Your Child Be At Daycare?
The length of time your child spends at daycare plays a big role in deciding the best age to enroll. Young children that spend a full day at daycare tend to have higher stress levels than young children that spend half days at daycare. In fact, until around 36-months, or 3-years-old, children experience heightened stress levels if they are left at daycare all day long.
Researchers identified elevated cortisol levels in children under 36-months that spent their entire day at daycare when compared to children that spent all or part of the day at home. The study accounted for age, gender, temperament, and even the quality of child care provided at daycare. Out of all of these factors, age played the biggest role in increased cortisol levels. Cortisol levels tend to be highest in children that are less than 36 months and spend the entire day at daycare.
You can read the full study here:
How Stressed Is Your Child?
Children are predisposed to different levels of stress. Naturally calm and easy going babies and toddlers are going to have an easier time adjusting to daycare than their more anxious peers.
Benefits Of Enrolling Your Child In Daycare
If and when your child is ready for daycare there are so many benefits to obtain, such as:
-Socialization and interacting with same-aged peers offers invaluable social experience your child can build on for life. Children that learn how to share, solve problems as a group and be team players are better behaved and better prepared to use their voices to effectively solve conflicts in the future.
-Offers an outlet to make new friends and build up one’s social circle.
-All of this exposure actually builds up a stronger immune system, which means your child will develop fewer colds in the future. At first kids enrolled in daycare tend to pick up more colds, but it’s for the better. As a result, their immune system strengthens leading to fewer illnesses and missed days of school when it really counts a few years down the road.
-Daycare gives kids exposure to learning materials that might not otherwise come into contact with. Studies have found children enrolled in daycare have higher intellectual abilities because of the unique opportunities for observation, socialization and parallel play.
-Daycare is a great way to prepare children for preschool, kindergarten and so forth.
-Parents have more time to get stuff done and maybe even take some “me” time. Before you start protesting “me” time, remember that in order to be the best parent possible, you can’t forget to take care of yourself!