Good news working mums! We can officially ditch the daycare drop-off guilt and pat ourselves on the backs every day we drop our children at childcare.
Research confirms we’re actually doing them a world of good by letting them learn and play in childcare longer.
The more days in childcare, the better!
Let’s face it, most children thrive in a structured environment. So having a safe space away from home offers significant benefits for children in childcare.
Research tells us that children who attend high-quality early learning programs have better outcomes in school and later in life than children who do not,” says Simone Myskiw, Curriculum Mentor at Guardian Childcare & Education.
“In fact, the Australian Government suggests that between 10 and 15 hours of early learning a week optimises these outcomes. So, sending your child for one day a week has less benefit than sending them more often.”
The benefit of more days in childcare
Of course, 10-15 hours a week (two or three days a week) is just the recommendation.
There is no magic number when it comes to childcare. If you are using childcare full-time, this isn’t going to harm your children in the least bit. And if your children don’t attend childcare at all, don’t stress – this is just a suggestion, not a rule.
However, if you are returning to work or considering childcare for whatever reason, it might be a good idea to start with two+ days a week rather than starting with just one.
Here are a few of the extra benefits of extended childcare days:
1. Easier transition
I made the mistake of starting my daughter off with just one day a week and she had a really hard time settling week after week. It was almost like she forgot she went to childcare and it was like starting fresh every week.
Once we added another day, she started to get used to it much quicker and it became part of the weekly routine.
Attendance at childcare for more than one day a week supports children to get comfortable in the environment, particularly those who may be feeling anxious about separating from their family,” Simone adds.
Of course, this isn’t the case for every family but it is something to think about.
2. Stronger bonds
High-quality childcare gives children the chance to build on their emotional development and create trusting relationships with people outside the immediate family as well as other children.
The benefit of sending your child to a high-quality childcare is they are interacting with skilled teachers and educators who know how to nurture your child, develop their emotional skills and encourage engagement with other children as well as the world around them,” says Simone.
The more time spent with others, the more opportunity you are giving your child to build these relationships and form this sense of trust.
3. Skill development
This is also the case when it comes to interacting with other children and working on those important social and language skills. One of the best and easiest ways to foster this is through exposure to language-rich environments such as childcare.
By mixing with an array of people, your child will learn how to interact with others, share, play and problem-solve … all essential skills needed for life.” says Simone.
Many parents are surprised to notice just how quickly their children’s language develops when they add more days of childcare.
4. Independent learners
It’s bittersweet when our children start to showcase their independent spirit. On the one hand, we want to encourage it. But on the other hand, hearing our children say “Me do it” and then spending 30 minutes watching them attempt to put on their shoes (wrong) can be a bit much. Ain’t no mumma got time for that!
Another of the benefits of childcare is the time and opportunities for self-care and attempting new tasks. Feeding themselves, using the toilet, setting the table, cleaning up after snacks, hand washing, and even cooking – these are all a part of the childcare experience.
5. Better prep for prep
Like it or not, primary school is in the not-too-distant future which requires five days of schooling, scheduling, listening, and learning. They are big days for our little children which is why the more exposure to this school environment early on, the better for this transition.
By sending your child to childcare for multiple days, especially consecutive days, you are creating a routine and preparing them for formal schooling, where they will spend five full days a week out of home.”
More days in childcare also provide children with a chance to develop their love of learning through play-based activities that mimic real-life scenarios and have real learning outcomes.
6. Cherished home time
It’s so hard to get the balance right between family and work. One of the things about choosing more days in childcare is that it allows parents to get more out of their working time and enjoy family time more.
I’ve heard so many parents say that they value the time with their child so much more after a day without them. After all, we all need a bit of a break from our children every once in a while. What’s that saying:? Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
The bottom line?
Every family is different but if your child attends childcare, it’s nice to know you’re doing them a world of good every day you drop them off.
With frequent exposure to a high-quality childcare setting, children gain greater structure, routine and a feeling of safety and security as they know what to expect. This paves the way for greater developmental and learning outcomes than if they are to attend only on a casual or ad-hoc basis.”
Book a tour today
If you are considering childcare for your child, whether she’s four months or four years, we definitely recommend starting with two days rather than just one.
It’s always easier to make the childcare drop-off if you know your child is not only in great hands but excited to be there. Another great reason to give Guardian Childcare a call and ask for a tour today.