To Day Care or to Not Day Care
“Nearly 11 million children under the age of 5 in America are in some kind of child care every week, according to Child Care Aware of America”. (Magher) Many families around The United States have to have their children in an aftercare program or daycare. In middle or even high school many students reflected on their daycare days or aftercare days. The topic at hand is to weigh out the negatives and positives of daycare and what harm it psychologically may or may not be causing.
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Back in the 1950s really only the male went to work so mothers did not have to worry about daycare for their children. Now a days most partners in each house both have to work in order to make ends meet. Daycare in that case is very beneficial for those families. There are situations where instead of daycare the children may be watched by another family member such as an aunt, uncle, or even grandparents. The positive aspects of daycare are as followed; regular schedule, time with peers, smoother transition into kindergarten, interaction with other adults, and benefits for the parents.
Being in daycare gives children a regular schedule to follow each day. The schedule starts with the parent dropping of the child and then from there the child partakes in multiple activities throughout the day such as; snack time, nap time, coloring, and even watching a cartoon. According to Magher “For toddlers, these fun tasks are essential to their intellectual growth and development” (Magher). The children having a regular schedule is also beneficial to parents especially is there are older children involved with school activities. The benefits of having scheduled activities also help parent worry less about the child’s behavior due to the schedule that the daycare follows.
Another valuable benefit of day care is the time with peers that the children get to experience. Whether a child is involved in daycare or not a child will most likely go on play dates. Daycare interaction is an extension of this phenomenon, where kids get to spend time around one another in a supervised, structured and safe environment. Kids learn how to problem-solve, share and otherwise play and learn well together, while their minds are still growing and personalities still emerging.
Continuing with positive aspects of daycare is children interacting with other adults.
Most children when they are younger are used to seeing adult figures such as a parent, aunt, uncle, grandparents. “A 2006 National Institute of Child Health and Human Development study found that high-quality daycare was directly connected to quality caregiving”. (Magher) In addition adults have a nurturing aspect which will help the children respect, and trust them. Making sure that any child in daycare gets that social interaction will only be beneficial in that child’s future.
Among other things daycare helps for a smoother transition to kindergarten. A mentioned by Magher “A study at the University of Texas at Austin found that parents who enrolled their children in daycare were more involved in school life as their kids got older” (Magher). Attending daycare helps each child with the structure for school later on. Not only do the children have the structure but there are some songs, stories, or even learning tools that will help the child advance later on in their school career.
Not to mention the social and economic benefits for parents. Dropping your child off at daycare may seem like a small part of your everyday, busy life after a while. Many parents do not have the luxury of being a stay at home parent, having a child go to daycare releases the stress of trying to find a babysitter. Not only does this releases the stress but it also is beneficial especially if there are other children in the house that is apart of other school activities. Even if a parent is a stay at home parent putting the child in daycare can also help the parent get certain tasks done at the house that need to get done.
As West said “The University of Chicago found that those few moments parents spent engaging in talk while dropping off their children provided immense long-term benefits. The parents gained “social capital,” which might also be thought of as a feeling of community. Parents had markedly lower rates of depression and experienced less financial hardship over the long term, and simply knowing the parents of other children increased the level of trust parents had in the institution. Daycares were especially beneficial in low-income neighborhoods, where the centers were used as a kind of pipeline for government support services.” (West)
Now moving onto the negative aspects of daycare one of those negative aspects is aggression. “The "Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development," supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), said that children who spend time in day care may be more aggressive than children who spend no time in day care”. (Miller) Each child may have certain days that he or she may not be having a good day and that is normal for not only children but adults as well. Children being around other kids and are forced to take part in certain activities such as story time, coloring, napping, eating, and even playing outside could make some kids act out of rage. Especially if that child is playing with another child and the child takes a toy away or even does not get their way this could enhance the child’s bad behavior and lead to aggressive behavior.
Another key component in this decision would be stress on the child.
In a study conducted by the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota, children under age 3 who spend time in day care may experience more stress than children of the same age who are not in day care. “Children in the study exhibited higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, when they were in the middle of full days at day care; the cortisol levels went down when they went back home”. (Miller) Being in day care could cause stress to the child in such ways as being away from home, or being away from people that they are comfortable with.
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Sadly, another negative effect of day care is diminished bonding. According to Miller… “Young children who spend time in day care may bond less with their mothers than children who stay home with their mothers, according to the NICHD study”. (Miller) Being with your child all the time such as twenty-four hours a day could not only develop attachment issues but anxiety issues later on in that child’s life. Now the conversation at hand is a diminished bond with the child, being away from the child could create a diminished bond since that child would not be in their parents care twenty-four hours a day. The child is spending a majority of he or she’s time with other adults at day care
The last negative being presented is the chance for anxiety or depression. Children who do not have a secure parental attachment are at greater risk of depression, anxiety and other mood swings. This part of the facts is more or less a double-edged sword because if you spend too much time with your child it could cause the child to develop attachment issues. On the other hand, if you don’t spend enough time the child could develop anxiety or depression disorders. Any child being separated from their parents all day could easily cause a state of fear or panic within the children. Going into a new environment not knowing anyone or having not a clue as to when they would be leaving can cause negative affects to the child in the near future.
The topic at hand was to weigh out the negatives and positives of daycare and what harm it psychologically may or may not be causing. Overall, there are many positives and negatives to this discussion on whether a parent wants to send their child or even put their child in a situation like that. Many parents live very busy lives so day care is the only option for some but in the end the parents are the only ones who should decide what to do if they were on the edge of sending their children to day care. On the other hand, the child may also grow and continue to excel later on in school but learning to have a structured day early on. The facts that were brought to the table are there for the parents who did have any questions about what day care might do to their child.
- Magher, Maria. “The Negative Effects of Day Care on Children.” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, www.livestrong.com/article/234110-negative-effects-of-day-care-on-children/. 27 April 2019.
- Miller, Christa. “Psychological Effects of Sending Children to Day Care.” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, www.livestrong.com/article/77119-psychological-effects-sending-children-day/. 27 April 2019.
- West, Lacey. “6 Benefits of Daycare for Young Children - The ChildCareAdvantage.com Blog.” ChildCareAdvantage.com, 25 Aug. 2016, childcareadvantage.com/benefits-of-daycare-for-young-children. 27 April 2019.
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