6 Reasons Daycare is Good for Toddlers (and Parents)

Consider these benefits of daycare for toddlers.

Deciding to put your toddler into a daycare facility can be a tough decision, and research often paints a conflicting picture of the benefits of daycare for toddlers. While some families rely on daycare because of work schedules, stay-at-home parents often begin to grapple with whether or not their child is ready for out-of-the-home care, if only for a few hours, a few days a week, around age 2.

Not sure what's right for your family? Here are six reasons why daycare can be beneficial for toddlers, as well as for parents.  

Plenty of Social Interaction

Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury

For many parents, one of the biggest benefits of daycare is ability to provide a toddler with more social interaction. Kids in daycare learn how to negotiate social interactions like sharing, playing together, and can learn both verbal and nonverbal communication skills to support these relationships. While it's definitely possible for a toddler to get plenty of social interaction from playdates and the park, daycare makes the planning process a little easier for families. 

A Stronger Immune System

Sure, younger kids will likely get more colds, infections and illnesses the first year they are placed in a daycare setting. But in the long run, daycare means more immunity, not less. According to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics in 2002, children who attended large daycare centers often had more colds through the preschool years, but fewer colds once they entered early elementary school. The exposure to germs early on helps to boost a young child’s immunity – though the extra boost does not seem to last as times goes on. According to the study, “This protection waned by 13 years of age.”

A Solid and Stimulating Routine

Toddlers thrive on routine and high-quality daycare facilities are masters at creating and sticking to a schedule that benefits little ones. Daycare often provides nutritious breakfasts, lunches and snacks, plenty of time for naps, and creative and developmentally appropriate activities that keep toddlers busy and stimulated. 

Preschool Readiness

A quality daycare facility with an engaged and caring staff can play a strong role in ensuring your child is reaching developmental milestones – skills your toddler will build on as he approaches preschool. In addition, daycares will often help parents manage potty training – a requirement of most preschool programs – and even part-time daycare can help a child begin to socialize with other children away from mom and dad. 

Access to New Activities

While mom and dad are certainly able to expose their toddlers to many things, quality daycares will take the time to plan a thoughtful curriculum that is developmentally appropriate and may include various subject areas – like science, foreign language, reading and math – as well as field trips, art and other creative endeavors. These curriculums will expose your child to new activities and knowledge. 

Balance for the Family

Conversations about whether or not daycare is right for your toddler often leaves the needs of mom and dad out of the picture. In addition to giving parents more flexibility in being able to work full- or part-time hours, daycare can also provide a break from the intense parenting that comes with the toddler territory. Often even a part-time or half-day program two or three days a week can give parents the break they need to have more balance, and parents who get a solid break are often able to be more patient and engaged when they are with their toddlers.

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