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The Pros and Cons of Daycare for Toddlers

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not daycare is the right choice for your family.

Daycare can be a great option for working parents, but it also has downsides. This article will discuss the pros and cons of daycare for toddlers and help you weigh the decision.

What Is Daycare?

Daycare is a type of child care in which other people care for children during the day. Daycare centers are typically staffed by professional caregivers trained in early childhood education and child development.

There are many types of daycare centers, ranging from small home-based daycares to large commercial centers. Daycare can be an affordable option for families, but it’s important to do your research to find the right fit for your family.

Why Do Parents Enroll Their Kids in Daycare?

daycare kids listening to a story

There are several reasons why parents might choose to enroll their kids in daycare. For many parents, daycare is necessary because they work full-time and cannot be home with their children during the day. 

Other parents may choose daycare because they feel it will provide their children with social and educational opportunities that they might not have at home.

Below are some of the most common reasons why parents choose daycare:

1. It Allows Them to Work Full-Time

Some parents do not have help available from family or friends and therefore need to enroll their children in daycare so they can work full-time. For these parents, daycare is a necessity. After all, they are confident that their kids will have fun with other children the same age as them.

2. It Provides Educational and Social Opportunities

Some parents believe that daycare centers can provide their children with educational opportunities they may not have at home. Many daycares offer early childhood education programs that can help prepare children for kindergarten. 

A lot of children learn best when they learn with other children. Daycare centers typically have a large number of kids, which gives children the opportunity to interact with other kids their age.

Daycare for Toddlers: The Pros and Cons

Daycare worker reading to children

Now that we’ve discussed what daycare is and why parents might choose to enroll their children in daycare, let’s take a look at some of the pros of daycare and daycare services.

What Are the Pros of Daycare?

1. Enhanced Cognitive and Language Development

One of the most well-known pros of daycare is that it can enhance cognitive and language development in young children. Attending daycare can help children develop their vocabulary. 

In addition, kids who attend daycare are also more likely to score higher on cognitive ability tests. Many daycare centers offer quality time dedicated to preschool programs during daycare hours. This makes equal happy parents.

2. Improved Social Skills

Social skills are very important for kids because they will serve as the foundation for their social lives as they get older. 

Daycare can be beneficial for kids because it gives them the opportunity to interact with other kids their age on a daily basis. This interaction can help kids learn how to share, cooperate, and resolve conflicts.

3. Increased Sense of Self-reliance 

Kids who go to daycare learn to be more independent and self-reliant because they have to do things on their own without the constant supervision of their parents. This can benefit kids when they start school because they will already have some experience being away from their parents and being responsible for themselves. 

Self-reliant children are happy children. After all, they know how to take care of themselves with consistent care always available.

4. More Affordable Than Private Nannies

For families who cannot afford a private nanny, daycare can be a more affordable option. 

Daycare centers typically have lower rates than nannies; some employers even offer discounts for employees who use their childcare services. This benefits families who need childcare but cannot afford the high cost of a private nanny. 

5. Strengthened Immunity for Kids

Lastly, another pro of daycare is that it can help strengthen the kids’ immunity. This is because kids who go to daycare are exposed to various germs and bacteria, which can help them build up their immunity. 

Studies have shown that kids who go to daycare have fewer sick days than those who do not.

Although it might sound alarming, parents need to understand that this increased exposure to germs and bacteria is beneficial for kids because it helps them build their immunity. Therefore, daycare can actually help kids stay healthy in the long run.

Nonetheless, parents should also always be attentive to how care centers approach things like the safety protocol for all kids.

What Are the Cons of Daycare?

regular pencils on the left and color pencils on the right

Now that we’ve discussed the pros of daycare, let’s look at some of the cons. Some of the most significant cons of daycare are:

1. The Risk of Illness 

Because kids who go to daycare are exposed to different germs and bacteria, they are also at a higher risk of getting sick. This is something that all parents need to be aware of before enrolling their children in daycare.

However, this does not mean that kids will really get sick if they are enrolled in daycare. There is just a possibility that they might get sick more often than kids who do not go to daycare. 

2. The Cost of Daycare 

Another con of daycare is the cost. Daycare can be expensive, and some families simply cannot afford it. In addition, the cost of daycare can vary depending on the type of facility you choose and the location.

For instance, daycare centers in urban areas typically charge more than those located in rural areas.

However, daycare centers are still way cheaper compared to private nannies. Therefore, parents who cannot afford a private nanny might end up wanting to enroll their kids in daycare.

3. Inflexible Hours

Another downside of daycare is that the hours can be inflexible. 

Most daycare centers have set hours, and parents must drop off and pick up their kids during these times. This can be difficult for parents who work long hours or have a lot of errands to run.

However, some daycare centers offer extended hours. These centers are usually more expensive but can be very convenient for busy parents.

4. Behavioral Problems in Kids

Another con of daycare is that kids who go to daycare may develop behavioral problems. This is because they are constantly around other kids and may not get enough individual attention from their caregivers.

However, this is not always the case. Some daycare centers have a high staff-to-child ratio, which means that each child will get more individual attention. In addition, some daycare centers also have a lot of enrichment activities that can help kids develop socially and emotionally.

5. The Quality of Daycare 

Finally, another con of daycare is the quality. Some daycare centers are very good and provide high-quality care for kids. However, some daycare centers could be better and provide better-quality care.

This is something that all parents need to consider before enrolling their kids in daycare. Make sure to visit the facility and talk to the staff before deciding.

Some parents might also feel guilty about sending their kids to daycare. They might feel like they are not spending enough time with their kids or not providing the best care for them.

However, no parent is perfect. Parents should not feel guilty and instead focus on finding a good daycare center that can provide high-quality care for their kids.

When Should I Send My Child to Daycare?

two daycare workers attending to children

Now that we have looked at some of the pros and cons of daycare, you might be wondering when you should send your child to daycare.

The answer to this question depends on a few factors:

  • Child’s age. Most experts recommend kids be at least 12 months old before attending daycare.
  • Parent’s schedule. If you work long hours, daycare can be a good option.
  • Child’s temperament. Shy or sensitive children might have difficulty adjusting to being around other kids.

If you are still trying to figure out when to send your child to daycare, you can always talk to your child’s doctor or a child development expert. They will be able to give you some advice on what is best for your child.

Below are the signs that your child is not yet ready for daycare:

1. Your Child Becomes Super Fussy

One of the signs that your child is not yet ready for daycare is if they become super fussy when it’s time to go. If your child is crying and clinging to you, it’s probably a good idea to wait a bit longer before enrolling them in daycare.

2. They Don’t Seem Interested in Other Kids

If your child doesn’t appear interested in other kids, it might be a good idea to wait a bit longer before enrolling them in daycare.

3. They Get Sick Often

If your child gets sick often, waiting a bit longer before enrolling them in daycare might be a good idea. This is because they might be unable to handle being around other kids when sick.

How Do I Choose the Right Daycare for My Child?

smiling kids at the daycare

If you want to enroll your child in daycare, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. This way, you can guarantee that your child will be in good hands and receive the best possible care.

Here are a few tips to help you choose the right daycare for your child: 

1. Visit the Facility Before Enrolling Your Child

It’s important to visit the daycare facility before enrolling your child. This way, you can see how the staff interacts with the kids and get a feel for the overall environment.

In addition, make sure to talk to the staff and ask them about their policies and procedures. This way, you can be sure your child will be safe while in their care.

2. Check the Staff-to-Child Ratio

Make sure to check the staff-to-child ratio before enrolling your child in daycare. This is important because you want to make sure that each child will get enough individual attention.

In general, the ideal staff-to-child ratio for infants is four to one, and the ideal ratio for toddlers is five to one. If you think the daycare center you’re considering has a good staff-to-child ratio, it’s likely a good place for your child.

3. Consider the Cost

The cost of daycare is another crucial factor to consider. Daycare centers can be very expensive, so you need to ensure you can afford the tuition.

In addition, you also need to consider the cost of transportation. If you have to drive a long way to get to the daycare center, then it might not be worth it.

3. Look for a Daycare Center with Enrichment Activities

Another thing you should look for in a daycare center is enrichment activities. These activities can help your child learn and grow emotionally and socially.

Some enrichment activities include arts and crafts, music, and movement. Look for a daycare center that offers these activity types so your child can get the most out of their experience.

4. Consider Credentials

You must also make sure that the daycare center is accredited. This accreditation means that the daycare center has met specific standards and provides high-quality care for their students.

You can check to see if a daycare center is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. If they are, you can be sure they provide high care for their students.

5. Talk to Other Parents

Finally, you should also talk to parents with kids in daycare. They can give you first-hand accounts of what it’s like and whether or not they would recommend it.

By following these tips, you can be sure to choose the right daycare center for your child. This way, you can rest assured that your child is in good hands and receiving the best possible care.

Below are examples of the other questions to ask a daycare:

  • What are the hours of operation?
  • What is the curriculum?
  • What are your policies on discipline and behavior management?
  • How do you handle illnesses and accidents?
  • Do you provide meals or snacks?
  • How often do you communicate with parents?
  • What is your policy on communication?
  • What are your policies on late pick-ups?
  • Do you offer transportation?
  • Do you have any discounts or financial assistance programs?


Deciding whether or not to send your child to daycare is difficult.

Consider all the factors involved and decide what will work best for you and your child. Hopefully, this article’s pros and cons of daycare for toddlers helped you make the best decision for your family.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best age for a child to start daycare?

Most experts recommend kids to be around 12 to 18 months old. However, every child is different; some children may be ready for daycare younger than others. You will need to consider your child's personality and temperament when deciding whether or not to send them to daycare.

How do I know if my child is ready for daycare?

Consider a few things when deciding if your child is ready for daycare. First, you should consider whether or not your child is social and outgoing. If your child is shy or introverted, they may need more time to be ready for daycare. Additionally, you should consider your child's age and whether or not they are potty-trained.

Is it better for babies to be at home or in daycare?

According to a study conducted by the Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), there are no significant differences between children cared for at home compared to those who attended daycare. However, most parents feel at ease in caring for their babies at home because they require a lot of attention.

What are some red flags to look for in a daycare?

Some red flags to look for in a daycare include dirty facilities, unqualified staff, and a lack of safety precautions. Additionally, you should be wary of any daycare that does not require parents to tour the facility or meet with the staff before enrolling their child. Therefore, you should always consider the pros and cons of daycare for toddlers before making a decision.

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