Determining whether to send your child to daycare can be a tough decision. It was a tear-filled morning the first time I sent my son to daycare, and while it hasn’t always been perfect, daycare has been a positive experience for my family. It didn’t take long before my eyes were dry at drop off!
Over the years, I’ve found that there are many benefits of daycare. Here are my top 10:
Friends – Learning about how to get along with other children is an important step in growing up. Daycare can help facilitate that process, as there is no shortage of personalities or temperaments (aged 5 and under) at a daycare center! Friends challenge and comfort us. They help us grow. When I think about the connections and friends my boys have made while attending daycare, my heart fills with joy. Although he’s been in elementary school for nearly three years now, my oldest son is still connected to kids he met in daycare.
The Village – It takes more than one person to teach a child the ways of life. It can also take more than one person to help a new mom navigate their new world! Parenthood is easier when you are part of a network, neighborhood, or community. Daycare was one of my first villages, and I was grateful for it!
Toys – My boys have a fair amount of toys, but it’s nothing compared to the selection of toys at a daycare center. Trucks, cars, books, dress up clothes, blocks, magnets, dolls, and miniature kitchens with food – it would be impossible to list everything at my son’s fingertips while at daycare. It would also be impossible to purchase all of the types of toys with which he loves to play.
Structure – We’ve all heard that kids want a structure, and thrive when they follow a consistent routine. When you send your child to daycare, you know they’ll have a structured day. It’s guaranteed.
Lessons – Children who attend daycare learn basic math and language skills, but when I mention lessons, I’m not just talking about learning ABCs and 123s. Daycare also teaches children to follow directions, have patience, resolve conflict, negotiate, share, and to be responsible for their own belongings. They learn these skills and practice them every day.
Activities – A daycare curriculum includes a mix of activities aimed at teaching a variety of skills. From singing and dancing to arts, crafts, and storytelling, my boys were never bored. When my oldest first started attending daycare, I remember being concerned that he wouldn’t spend enough time outside. But there were plenty of outdoor activities, including building snowmen, exploring nature, and running through sprinklers.
Handmade Gifts – My heart melted the first time I got a handmade gift from my son. It can be tough to teach children the value of giving when the world surrounds us with messages about the value of getting. Daycare helps and/or reinforces the value of giving in a simple, fun, and creative way.
The Holidays – Who doesn’t love a party with their friends? At daycare, every holiday is celebrated with festive snacks and activities.
Connection to Community – Sometimes I think my boys know more people in my community than I do! I know more about my community, the people in it, and the activities it offers because my boys helped connect me to it.
The Freedom – Sending my boys to daycare was a tough decision but it gave me the freedom to be me. I love my kids, and I love being a mom, but knowing my boys had a place to go – and to thrive – while I was away allowed me to continue to work outside the home, which was important to me. It also gave me a little wiggle room to sneak in a pedicure, a kid free trip to the grocery store, or lunch with a friend from time to time!
Do your kids attend daycare? Is there something great about your experience that I’ve missed in my list?