There are lots of great things about daycare -- your little one gets to socialize with others her own age, sings fun songs, plays games and learns new things every day. Along with some wonderful newly acquired skills, however, your daycare diva may also bring home a few things you'd rather she didn't.
It's no secret that kids share everything, including germs. Findings from a study published in the December 2012 Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine indicate that children in group child care settings do develop more infections, such as colds, ear infections and other respiratory illnesses. The good news -- the study also indicates that young children who attend daycare early in life might develop stronger immunity, translating to fewer illnesses during the elementary school years.
2. Learned Behaviors
Your young progeny is an eager sponge just waiting to absorb a host of useful new skills from her daycare environment. Don't be surprised if she comes home flaunting her language development skills with newfound vocabulary words or knowledge of shapes and colors. Unfortunately, daycare is also a place where children may learn undesirable behaviors from each other, like hitting, temper tantrums or use of inappropriate words. If influences at daycare do turn your charming cherub into a handful, just remember you have the power to undo any bothersome behavior in your child. Retraining against bad habits picked up at daycare gives you a chance to practice dealing with real world influences you will encounter throughout your parenting career.
3. Less Adult Interaction
Another possible disadvantage to the daycare setting is that your child typically receives less one-on-one adult interaction than she might while she is home with you or another parent. If your little one is high-needs, this might be tough on you both. Take it in stride, though, because there's a chance this aspect could help foster healthy self-reliance and independent play. If you're concerned about it, look for a daycare with a lower ratio of children to caregivers that may allow daycare providers to offer each child more individualized attention.
4. Rules and Regulations
Any daycare you choose operates under certain rules, which you may not agree with but still have to accept. These may be state regulations governing the operation of childcare facilities, or they may be center-specific. For example, you may have an established routine of lunch at 1 p.m. followed by a nap at 2 p.m. Although it may drive you bananas experiencing an upset in your normal home routine, your little one has to adjust if your daycare center serves lunch at 11:30 a.m. and has everyone down for nap by noon.
- Journal of the American Medical Association Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine:Short- and Long-term Risk of Infections as a Function of Group Child Care Attendance
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Preventing the Spread of Illness In Child Care or School
- Journal of the American Medical Association Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine: New Information About Group Child Care and Infection Rates
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