Finding the right childcare arrangement for your family can be overwhelming, especially if you only recently realized you needed to make alternate arrangements to your current childcare plan. Daycare centers, like any other childcare arrangement, have both potential positive and negative effects. Understand that the quality of facilities, management and staff varies with each daycare center, so potential pitfalls of one center may be less of a concern with others.
One of the positive effects of being in a daycare center is that children have ample opportunities to interact with peers who have different abilities and interests, according to Colorado State's Extension Program sheet on Selecting a Childcare Facility. This constant socialization can help children practice conflict resolution, basic manners and appropriate play between just two children or several in a group.
At a daycare center, children participate in scheduled, educational activities throughout the day. This exposes children to new information and gives them a chance to practice new skills, like drawing, tracing letters and reading words. Daycare center staff are required to meet certain training and educational backgrounds, so their knowledge of child development, behavior and learning allows them to provide developmentally appropriate activities.
Despite the fact that most daycare centers won't allow children with fevers or sickness to attend, germs and bacteria still run rampant. Lots of children also means lots of germs, infections and illness, according to an article from the American Academy of Head and Neck Surgery called "The Childcare Dilemma." While there's nothing inherently wrong with a few sniffles here or there, children who are especially prone to illness or ear infections may end up being home sick more often than if they spent their days away from dozens of germ-carrying peers.
Spending long hours having to share their toys and fend off potentially unfriendly peers can raise children's stress level, according to the National Institute of Early Education Research. This increase in stress level can lead to more aggressive behavior, according to the center. This isn't to say that all children who spend any amount of time in daycare will become aggressive bullies, but it may be worth breaking up long hours in daycare with a part-time nanny or in-home sitter, according to the center.