When you find yourself with a friend circle featuring children of similar age, it can be challenging to decide when to put your child into child care. While you may want to do as your friends do and put them into a centre sooner rather than later, you may worry that there can be implications for doing so in later life.
Because children differ in personality, there is no “right” time to enrol your children in child care facilities, but there is a general guide for what will benefit your child the best at a particular time of their life. However, no matter what you choose to do, know that children adapt to any situation quickly and no decision you make is going to be a bad one.
Zero to One-Year-Olds
If you aren’t able to spend 18 months with your baby or even a year, then you’ll find that a home-based carer is going to be in your best interests – as opposed to a child care facility. Between the age of zero and 12 months and up to 18 months, babies need a carer who will provide consistent care. At this age, they thrive on attachment and also require plenty of one-on-one attention. Often, child care facilities can’t offer as much of this time as they would like to.
Toddler to Three Years Old
While toddlers and three-year-olds still require that one-on-one care, they are also at a time of their life when they’re making new discoveries, learning how to play with others, and are full of energy. So, while home-based care is a good option for a toddler, there are also so many benefits of child care centres as well. What’s more, the child-to-teacher ratio is often beneficial for plenty of one-on-one time throughout the care period.
Three to Five Years Old
If you weren’t convinced that you should enrol your child into child care between zero and three years old, then maybe from age three to five is more convincing. At this point in your child’s life, they need to learn crucial social skills with both other children and adults. While home-based care with other children of a similar age is beneficial, so too is a child care facility.
Here, they can learn to share, communicate with other children, and take part in age-appropriate activities as well. What’s more, when you enrol children in childcare from age three onwards, they benefit from trips to the park and other exciting places with their peers.
Every child is different, so what works for one child at one age will not work for another. You know your children better than anyone. If you believe they are ready to go into child care, then discuss the prospect with your facility of choice. There are so many options from which to choose, so never be afraid to look at a few and ask as many questions as possible.