The Importance of Day Care

To many parents, day care is a necessity, causing feelings of guilt and stress for leaving their children in the hands of either a home or commercial day care center. However, studies have shown that young children can reap benefits from being placed in child care facilities at an early age.

A Necessity for Working Parents

Many parents place their offspring in day care due to the need to work or educate themselves. They must go to a job or school and relatives might not be available to help. Without day care, a parent might have to stay at home, which could cause financial hardships for the family. Although it might not be the best alternative for young parents, for many, it is the only option. Finding quality child care with a friendly and nurturing staff is one of the main concerns and priorities of working parents with young children.

Making Friends and Learning to Socialize

The Childcare in America 2012 State Fact Sheets states that "nearly 11 million children under age 5 in the United States are in some type of child care arrangement every week." These children have opportunities to learn socialization skills and how to deal with different types of personalities and cultures 5. They can learn to play together and share with other children. As they get older, this may pave the way to better relationships with their peers. According to the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning, it has been found that "teaching children appropriate social skills, providing them with willing and accepting peers to use these skills with, and creating opportunities for children to practice these skills, teachers can improve all children's social behaviors, potentially for a lifetime." 4

Learning the Basics

Day cares may also offer children the chance to pull ahead in their scholastic endeavors. Although most do not offer formal classroom instruction, caring staff members may often read to their young charges and introduce them to basic colors, numbers and letters. According to James A. Griffin, deputy chief of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's Child Development and Behavior Branch, “High quality child care appears to provide a small boost to academic performance, perhaps by fostering the early acquisition of school readiness skills." 23

Long-Lasting Benefits

Studies have shown that children who attend a quality day care may have a higher likelihood of future successes. It was found that those who spent their younger years in a quality setting had easier transitions to elementary school and beyond. Also, parents with children in day cares were more involved in their child's elementary and secondary school activities and programs. A 2012 study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, published in the journal "Developmental Psychology," found that children who attended a high quality daycare were more likely to go on to college, have a job, and delay having children.