All parents experience at least a small amount of trepidation at the thought of sending their little ones off to day care. Fortunately, the day care experience is mostly positive, especially with today's families being smaller than ever before, meaning that many children are lacking social interaction with their peers -- in other words, playmates. Following are five major advantages of modern day care programs.
Strengthened Immune Systems
One of the major concerns many parents have about introducing their preschool age child to a day care situation is that the child will come down with all manner of contagious illnesses. While it's probably true that your child will catch colds and perhaps even the flu from his or her day care playmates, this may also serve to strengthen your child's immune system through exposure to a variety of viruses and bacteria. Studies have also shown that children who go to day school actually have a 30 percent less chance of contracting childhood leukemia than their stay-at-home counterparts.
Strengthened Academic Performance
Children who attend quality day care programs are more likely to perform better academically throughout high school. A study by the U.S. National Institutes of Health shows that kids who attended good day care programs enjoyed higher scores on cognitive and academic tests in later years. A quality day care environment is one with a high child/provider one-on-one interactivity quotient. However, you should avoid day care situations in which providers are overly controlling and intrusive -- the best allow for a healthy mixture of responsibly led structured activities and free play. Counting and word games prepare children for the material they'll be introduced to in kindergarten, and free form play helps develop problem solving skills. Age-appropriate crafts unleash creativity and foster self confidence if projects are displayed throughout the classroom with pride.
Strengthened Emotional Health
Anxiety and depression on the part of the mom can have significant effects on the emotional health and stability of their children. However, a recent Canadian study shows that these children are less likely to form emotional problems if they go to day care. The study clearly showed that children who attended a structured day care setting gained more benefits that those who were looked after in a private home by a relative, friend, or paid babysitter. The risk of developing emotional disorders was reduced by 79 percent among children of depressed mothers who attended day care.
Strengthened Social Skills
Children who attend quality day care programs develop superior social skills than those who remain solely in the home environment during their formative years. Structured activities provide children with opportunities to cultivate cooperation skills as well as learn to successfully negotiate with others and to work as a team. Learning to get along with other children from a variety of backgrounds and with varying temperaments also helps teach them how to make friends and to solve conflicts without resorting to physical altercations.
Strengthened Physical Development
With today's increased emphasis on the development of academic skills, physical development is often overlooked by parents. Children who stay at home frequently fail to get the exercise that they need. Almost all parents are familiar with just staying in on a rainy day instead of going to the park or to the indoor play ground. Day care environments with good physical education programs will make certain that the children receive the required amount of exercise they need to keep their growing muscles and bones healthy.
There are many benefits of day care. However, parents need to make certain that they do their due diligence. All day care situations are not created equal. Before making a commitment to one, visit several and go with the one that best suits the individual needs and preferences of you and your child. For more information, contact local day care centers like Basics Primary School & Day Care.