By Stephen Shankland
Whether or not to send your child to child day care is a hard choice for some parents to make. Of course you want to spend as much time with your child as possible before they enter kindergarten, but it can cause emotional stress to go from being one-on-one with a parent’s undivided attention to abruptly being torn away from the nest five days a week.
A great way to lessen school induced separation anxiety for both of you is to start sending your child to a day care center two or three times a week. The more gradual shift can help prepare them (and you) for a successful transition into school.
1. The social benefits of early day care for your child are fantastic. The earlier you invite your child to interact with other children, the more quickly they learn how to get along with others.
2. Making friends gives them an opportunity to learn how to share and how to work in a team of peers.
3. Those early experiences at a day care center will encourage them to be curious and excited about learning on their own.
4. In kindergarten, your child will be expected to sit still, listen and retain information. Day care is less rigid than a school environment, but by choosing a day care center facility structured towards learning rather than just supervision, they will get early exposure to that environment.
5. Their vocabulary will automatically increase, just by exposure to other adults, children and new situations.
6. You want to make sure that the ideas they are being introduced to are geared towards preparing them to get ahead in school. One huge benefit is that you will have help introducing the basics they will need. Day cares which have a developed, set curriculum can guarantee that your child will participate in fun activities that stimulate cognitive abilities by engaging both left and right brain, all while familiarizing them with the concept of structure.
7. The social benefits of a day care center also extend to you! While your children are making friends, you also get the opportunity to create a support structure for yourself made up of other parents who are going through the exact same things you are.
8. In addition, by giving your child the gift of time to develop themselves away from you, you also receive that same gift. Parenting is an enormous gift, but it can be intensely stressful. Having a few hours during the week where you can relax, recharge or simply cross things off your list that are impossible to get done while taking care of your kids will help you in ways you cannot imagine!
When you pick them up from child day care and hear the excitement and confidence in their young voice as they recount their adventures and accomplishments, you will know that you are already giving them the tools they need to succeed!