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What Is The Best Age To Put A Child In Daycare?

Daycare is like a safe and fun place where kids can play, learn, and hang out with other kids. It's helpful for families who need someone to look after their child during the day. But are you in a dilemma what is the best age to put your child in a daycare?

The answer to this isn't very simple as everyone's situation is different. Maybe you're going back to work or need some time to yourself. Or perhaps you want your child to make friends and learn new things early on. There's no one right answer, and that's totally fine! This blog is here to help you decide if daycare is a good choice for your family.

We'll explore the different ages kids can start daycare, the benefits they might experience, and some signs that your child might be ready for this new adventure. Remember, the most important thing is finding what works best for you and your little one

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What is the Best Age for Daycare?

Here's a breakdown of what you might expect at different stages:

Between 6 weeks and 6 Months

This is usually a bit early for most babies. They require a lot of personalized time, and daycare facilities may have more children than caregivers (ideally, there should be one caregiver for every three children). Their ability to receive the necessary cuddles and attention may be hindered as a result.

If you really do require daycare this early, search for facilities with an extremely low caregiver-to-child ratio, or think about hiring a nanny for extra individualized attention.

Do remember that they are only beginning to explore the world, therefore it is important to provide a clean and stable environment for them. For babies, this young, frequent changes in daycare could make them stubborn and irritated.

Between 6 and 18 Months

This is the time when your child begins to understand and respond to surroundings making it really fun! They might be crawling around, making baby sounds, and eager to try new things. At this time, daycare is a cool place where they can play with new toys, learn new routines, and most importantly, play with friends!

But sometimes, it's tough for them to be away from you, and they might get a bit anxious. Also, daycare means they'll be around more germs, so expect them to need some extra love and cuddles when they're back home.

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Between 18 months and 3 years

Experts suggest this is the best time for most children to start going to daycare. This is because toddlers are natural social butterflies, and daycare offers the ideal setting for them to play with other children, practice language, and take part in engaging planned activities.

However, toddlers need a lot of energy, so look for daycare facilities with low child-to-caregiver ratios and patient, enthusiastic caregivers!

Between 3 and 5 years

Daycare centers are fantastic for this age group especially those with preschool programs. As they help in developing strong social skills, learning by play, and preparing for kindergarten. Daycare may help set up your child for success in those foundation years by preparing them for the social and academic challenges of school.

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Signs Your Child Is Ready for Daycare

As we know starting daycare for your child is a personalized decision as every child develops at their own pace. Therefore, we have listed some signs that can help you decide if daycare might be a good fit for your little one or not.

1. Socialize

Does your little one light up around other kids? Do they reach out to play or seem curious about what other children are doing? This will help you understand whether they'll enjoy the daycare or might need more time to socialize.

2. No Separation anxiety

It's totally normal for kids to feel a bit sad when they're away from Mom or Dad. But if your child can say bye to you or their caregiver without getting too upset, that's a good sign they might be ready for daycare.

3. Follow Instructions

Can your child understand and follow simple instructions like "pick up your toys" or "it's time for a snack"? This shows they're developing communication skills that will be helpful in a daycare setting. If they can express basic needs like feeling hungry need water they are set for daycare.

4. Have a Routine

Does your little one thrive on a predictable schedule? For example, do they sleep better and seem happier when they know what to expect throughout the day? Daycare centers have routines built-in, so a child who enjoys predictability might adjust well.

5. Potty Training Progress (Not a Must)

While some daycare centers may require potty training, it's not always necessary. If your child is on their way to potty independence or at least shows interest, that's great. But don't worry if they're not quite there yet – many daycares are happy to help with potty training!

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Signs That Your Child Is Not Yet Ready for Daycare

Here are some signs that daycare might not be the best option for your little one right now:

1. Napping Routine

If your child still naps during the day, daycare may cause some disturbances to their sleep pattern. While many daycare facilities provide sleep time, it may not be the ideal fit for your child as they also have other activities for your child.

2. Special Considerations

If your child has any health conditions or requires extra attention, you might want to explore other childcare options like a nanny or in-home care. This way, you can ensure their specific needs are met with personalized care.

3. Have Separation Anxiety

Some little ones have a harder time saying goodbye, and that's totally normal! If your child experiences intense separation anxiety and gets very upset when they're away from you, daycare might be emotionally disturbing for them right now. There's no rush, and they might be more comfortable starting daycare when they're a little older.

4. Daycare Blues

If you've tried daycare, but your child doesn't seem happy there – maybe they're often sick, seem sad, or act differently – trust your instincts! It could mean daycare isn't the best fit for them right now, so it's okay to look into other options.

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Benjamin Preparatory School - Most Trusted Daycare in Kennesaw

Now that you have a better idea of when daycare might be a good fit for your child, you might be looking for some best daycares near you.

Benjamin Preparatory School is one of the leading daycares in Kennesaw with DECAL-licensed staff and curriculum. We offer programs for all age groups from infants to pre-kindergarteners and afterschool as well so your child could potentially grow and learn in a stable environment during their foundation years.

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In this blog, we've learned different ages for daycare, signs that might show it's the perfect time to start a daycare, and what to do if it's not quite right. But the big message? There's no perfect time to start daycare. It depends on your child and what works for your family. Some kids do great in daycare early on, while others do better later.

What matters most is finding a daycare that's safe, caring, and fun for your child. Trust your feelings, do some research, and remember, there's no rush! The most important thing is that your child feels happy and loved, wherever they spend their time.