Many working parents rely on daycare to return to their jobs. Daycare is a blessing for many parents, but daycare is not a replacement for parental care. Children need their parents to care for and raise them, so children shouldn’t be in daycare all day, every day.
But how many days–and hours during the day–is best for children to be in daycare?
The answer to this question is largely based on the child’s age. Let’s look at some of the factors to consider when finding the ideal schedule for your child.
How Many Days of Daycare for Infants?
Infants under one year are still forming a parental-child bond. For this reason, infants shouldn’t be away from their parents or relatives all day, every day. Only a few hours every day or a few times a week is best.
It might take juggling work schedules with your partner or relative to accommodate this need. Luckily, since the pandemic, many occupations are willing to let parents of young children work from home. Perhaps you can arrange for a few hours in the office and the rest of your work day at home, or align your work schedule with your partner or relatives so they can watch your baby for a few hours during your work day.
Even though it might be inconvenient to only have your infant in daycare for a few hours, it’s a decision you won’t regret in future years.
How Many Days of Daycare for Toddlers?
Although toddlers (aged one to three years) seem more independent, they need about the same amount of care and attention from their parents as infants do.
Try to arrange or cut your work schedule to have your child in daycare for 20-25 hours per week. With the help of your partner, friends, and relatives, this is attainable for many families.
How Many Days of Daycare for Pre-K and Kindergarten?
Children four years and older have a greater capacity to be away from their parents. Hopefully, children this age will feel secure in their relationships with their parents. Their social skills and classroom friendships are stronger and usually allow them to not be anxious away from their parents.
Additionally, children of this age must acclimate to the length of school days. So while you may need to slowly lengthen the hours your child is in daycare, it is appropriate to have your child in daycare for a full-time schedule.
Is It Okay for My Child to Spend More Time in Daycare Than the Recommended Amount?
A variety of factors come into play when answering this question.
- Family’s needs: Some children will be in daycare for longer because the parents have to pay the bills. Parents in this situation need to give themselves grace and rest assured that there are still opportunities to bond with their children.
- Child’s personality: Some children have a higher need to peer interaction with others. If your child is a social butterfly, they may do very well with a full-time daycare schedule, even at a young age.
- Sibling enrollment: Children who have siblings enrolled in the same daycare may feel more secure and therefore able to tolerate a full-time schedule better than a child without any siblings enrolled.
Full-Time vs. Part-Time at Children’s Academy
The advantage to full-time enrollment is it is a much more structured routine for your child. They know exactly where they will be and what to expect. With part-time enrollment, your child may be confused about when or how long they will be at daycare and who will be dropping off or picking them up. This may be upsetting for some children.
On the other hand, children enrolled in daycare full-time may miss out on important parental or family bonding opportunities. Children enrolled part-time will have more time with parents, family, and close friends and may experience greater family stability.
We offer full and part-time schedules at Children’s Academy so you can find the best fit for your child’s and family’s needs. If you opt for a part-time schedule, we can be flexible on drop-off and pick-up times.
If you’re looking to give your child a head start in school, contact Children’s Academy Childcare and Preschool today!