With more and more dual-working families, daycare is becoming a necessity for young parents who need (or want) to continue working. While family leave policies for employees in governmental agencies can sometimes run for twelve weeks (unpaid), such generous leave policies are rarer in the private sector. In addition, small businesses can rarely afford to lose a good employee without replacement for any significant amount of time.
With more and more infants heading to daycare, the question arises: What’s the impact of daycare on infants?
Many parents worry that putting their infants in daycare will have an overall negative effect on cognitive growth and development. The good news is that long-term scientific research shows that a quality group setting can have a number of positive effects.
- Some infants in daycare develop, over time, a better vocabulary than their peers due to the exposure to lots of adult conversation.
- Some infants in daycare, as they grow, develop social skills more quickly due to the amount of time in contact with peers.
- Some infants in daycare, over time, show advanced development in cognitive function and some advances in reading, memory, and math.
- Some infants in daycare, depending on the child’s background, show increases in IQ compared to children of a similar socioeconomic status who stay at home.
Just as the loving engagement of skilled parents has a large effect on a child’s growth and development, so does the affection, skill, and engagement of the caregivers at any given daycare.
If you’re looking for a daycare for your infant, the key to boosting the positive effects and minimizing any possible negative effects is to find a facility with engaged, affectionate caregivers, a small caregiver-to-infant ratio, smart sanitary rules, and a clean, colorful, safe, and age-appropriate toy-filled environment.