Enrolling your loved one in child care is a big step for many first-time parents. Up until their first day,
as parents you’ve been a constant presence in your child’s life. You’ve been involved in all the major
steps in your baby’s development, helping them to make sense of the world, take their first steps
and start talking.
Relinquishing that control can seem like a daunting decision. Not only do you feel like you might miss
out on some important milestones, but you worry that they won’t be able to cope without you. Who
will be there when they get upset? Will they feel abandoned? What will happen if they get scared
Children at day care learn to become themselves. Not only is there evidence to show that starting
day care is an important step in a child’s development, it also puts them on the right path to tackle
later challenges like starting school, making friends and improving upon the early lessons a parent
has taught them.
Day care never has been and never will be a replacement for a parent’s role, but a complementary
one that helps your child become the best version of themselves.
Social Interaction is Important To A Child’s Development
For a first child, their regular interaction is normally limited to their mum and dad. While there may
be visits from relatives and friends, and maybe even a music class or two with age-appropriate
peers, the majority of their time is spent at home.
While a loving home is important, it’s not the only thing a child needs. Learning to communicate is
more than just saying ‘Mama’ and ‘Dadda’, it’s about learning to share toys, take cues from others
and participating in activities with others. With a team of professionals and a trove of enthusiastic
toddlers and children to interact with, day cares are the perfect place for your child to grow into
By joining a day care, they’ll learn about social rules and pick up skills that help them throughout life.
Their communication skills – both verbal and non-verbal – will accelerate and you’ll be amazed at
how quickly they develop into little humans.
They’ll Learn To Follow a Schedule
The concept of time and deadlines is a myth to children. Any parent who’s tried to get a child ready
for a playdate or scheduled activity will have had experience of a child seemingly working against
their own best interests. Rather than getting ready so you can leave and go have some real fun, they
prefer to dilly dally and waste time.
Schedules, orders and routines are an important part of life. We put on socks before shoes, brush
our teeth before bed and eat savoury before dessert. When it’s just you saying it, it’s easy for your
child to rebel. But when they get used to the same sort of thing somewhere, it sinks in more.
Child care helps reinforce these messages. They begin to understand the structure of the day – when
meal breaks come, for example – and that certain tasks have steps that need to be completed – toys
need to be packed away before the next activity can begin.
As your child becomes more aware of routines at day care, they can apply that knowledge at home
too. Suddenly, the bedtime routine can become a lot more manageable.
The Development of Literacy and Numeracy Skills
Literacy and numeracy skills are vital for any child’s education. While you may be able to teach the
basics to your child yourself, sharing the workload with trained educators can help make the process
a lot quicker.
Often, children learn best when they don’t realise they’re learning. At day care, games are selected
that engage children and help them develop their literacy and numeracy skills.
From simple games like hopscotch — where you count the skips and mark down numbers in chalk —
to more diverse games where the learning benefits are more hidden, a day care is full of
opportunities for your child to learn in a fun and stress-free environment.
As they begin to develop their confidence in this casual environment, they’ll be able to transfer their
new skills to real life settings. Numeracy and literacy are two of the most important building blocks
for all types of learning, and encouraging this behaviour early on will enhance a child’s development
Child Care Prepares Them For School
Starting school is a major milestone for all children. It’s a new experience and can be quite daunting.
They go to a big building, often full of kids and teachers they don’t know. On top of that, the new
schedule and structure can be foreign as well.
Child care is a great stepping stone on the path to regular schooling. Many of the aspects that they
face in school are gently introduced, meaning the transition is smoother. They’ll be used to being
around different children, they’ll understand the hierarchy of educators and they’ll know that breaks
happen throughout the day for food.
Other small teaching points like roll call, fire drills and sitting down to complete tasks are also
incorporated in day care, which help familiarise children with aspects of school life before they
As well as the practical factors, child care educators are also trained to talk to children about the
changes that they’re going to experience. Kids have the chance to ask questions and make visits to
school as well.
It Helps Build Their Immune System
It’s an age-old complaint from parents: their children bring home all manner of bugs and germs from
child care. While it can be tiring at the time, it’s actually beneficial for children (and their parents!).
By being exposed to a wide variety of mild symptoms and colds, children begin to build up an
immune system that will do them well into the future. Studies have shown that children who go to
day care, and experience all the colds associated with that, have fewer days off sick when they go to
One study of more than 1200 children in the US found that from ages 0-3, children who went to
child care centres were sick more often than those who stayed at home. However, from 4-13, those
who went to child care were sick less often.
They’ll Learn While Playing
As mentioned earlier, children can learn a lot from playing. This includes essentials like sight reading
and counting, but also a lot of soft skills that are just as important.
Games and general play teach a valuable collection of lessons like kindness as they learn how to
share, patience as they have to wait for their turn and problem solving skills as they encounter new
Along the way, they’ll become more confident as they learn new skills, improve their gross and
minor motor functions and develop their mental capacities in concentration, imagination and more.
No matter what interests they develop over their lives, the more developed that basic building
blocks are early on in life, the better they’ll be able to adapt to new challenges.
Perhaps best of all, they won’t realise they’re learning so it won’t be a chore. They’ll just see the
game and the excitement, anything else is just a bonus.
They’ll Learn New Communication Skills
It’s a proud day for any parent when their child first speaks. After months of enticing those first
sounds, it’s hard to imagine how much more work goes into creating a fluent speaker.
Parents are instrumental in this work, but the more people your child engages with, the quicker
they’ll learn to talk. At child care, not only do they interact with the educators, but they also spend a
lot of time with other children. And that’s where a lot of the magic happens.
As your child’s vocabulary and confidence with words grows, you’ll notice one lovely side effect:
fewer tantrums. With more words to voice their queries and demands, it’s much easier for them to
communicate with their caregivers about what they want and need, so it’s much more likely that
their needs are met effectively and efficiently.
It Will Develop Their Independence
Young children are incredibly dependant on their parents. Babies need constant care and attention,
with a parent generally needed for feeding, changing nappies and entertainment. While it’s richly
rewarding for parents, it can be exhausting.
Everyone gains independence at different stages. Generally, this comes through confidence and that
is a result of being given a safe space to experiment. Child care offers constant supervision, child-
friendly activities and soft places to fall.
It’s also a source of inspiration and encouragement. By watching older and more confident children,
younger kids get ideas about what they can achieve if they try. Their imagination grows and their
ability to think and weigh up options develops.
Learning about independence leads on to other lessons that educators can guide children through.
Individuals have responsibilities both to themselves, to others and the environment around them.
Your child might be able to decide that they want to do colouring in, but they’ll also learn that they
need to pack away the pens when they’re done.
How Child Care Will Benefit You as a Parent
Child care has numerous benefits for a parent. The first is that it gives you time back. Even if your
child is only at day care one day a week, that’s a day you get back. You can meet up with friends, run
errands unhindered and you can read a book in peace. Many parents take this opportunity to go
back to work and, with government child care subsidies available, it’s more financially viable than
It also gives you joy to see your child develop — socially, mentally and physically. You’ll notice that
they do and say things that they learnt outside your household, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly
they’re becoming a small person. They’ll make friends, go on adventures and learn about the world.
Some parents worry that they’re losing time with their precious ones, but child care can help families
have more quality time together as communication, confidence and other skills develop.