The difference between daycare and childcare is one of the most confusing things for many parents. But it’s also a crucial factor for picking the right type of care. Both types of care aim to provide children with a safe place for whole-child growth, including social emotional development, playful learning, physical activity and growing their communication skills. Daycare focuses on more routine care, such as feeding and napping. This can be helpful for parents who have to work during the day. It also provides childcare during the evening or on weekends when a preschool may be closed. However, this is not always ideal for a family who needs childcare more than once a week.
A child’s early social-emotional development is shaped in large part by the quality of the care they receive. This has been assessed in numerous ways–from infants’ self-regulatory behavior to their cooperation with and attachments to adults, their social skill (or lack of it) with other children, and the developmental level of their social interactions. For instance, NICHD Early Child Care Research Network studies of infants and toddlers have found that children who experience more positive caregiving have higher levels of maternal sensitivity (e.g., supportive presence, positive regard, and lack of intrusiveness or hostility) than children who do not. Similarly, higher quality childcare has been associated with advanced cognitive and language development in infants and toddlers enrolled in these arrangements.
As we know, socialization is the process of introducing people to norms, customs, and behaviors that are considered normal in a society. This process happens at various points throughout a person’s life and can take place both in the home and in school. One of the key differences between daycare and childcare centers is their focus on socialization, physical activity, and safety. Generally, daycares are less structured and offer more free-play time, while preschools tend to be more academically focused.
And while the care and supervision of children in a family childcare setting can be similar to that of an adult-staffed daycare center, it’s important to note that there are some key differences when it comes to safety. For starters, family childcare providers typically stay with a group of children for longer periods, giving them a deeper understanding of the child’s development and needs. This can help them anticipate risks and respond appropriately in emergency situations. This also means that parents and their children can feel more comfortable leaving their child at a family childcare facility, knowing that the center adheres to minimum safety protections. This can be a huge asset in a competitive childcare marketplace.
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How does routine play a role in child development? If you haven’t given this much thought, you should. Families with a routine are more likely to be organized and function together to accomplish goals or have fun. Routines establish expectations of what should be done and how often. Children are members of a family that thrive off of structure and consistency. Routines are good for children for several reasons.
Why Is Routine So Important for Children?
Daily routines are different for every household, but there is a consensus on their benefits. Here are some benefits of a daily routine.
- It helps children get on a schedule. A consistent routine allows children to develop positive behaviors, like having a more consistent sleeping schedule and better behavior at school.
- More bonding with family. Children with a routine understand what is expected of them and are more likely to create better relationships with their families.
- Creates expectations. Children with routines understand that there are rules in the house, and there will not be a power struggle with the parents.
- It creates more confidence and independence. Your children will not have to rely on you for activities like brushing their teeth or putting pajamas on. Children have greater pride in not having to rely on you for help all the time.
- Form healthy habits. Children on a routine will create good grooming habits and wisely manage their time. They will also develop self-discipline as they get older. Routines also help reduce stress and prevent your child from getting sick as often.
- Routines can also be fun. Don’t always think of routines centered around chores that you need to do around the house. For example, Saturdays might be your day to take your children to the park or go out for ice cream.
Ideas for Making a Quality Daily Routine
Good daily routines are ones that effectively suit your family. Generally, they have three components. They include:
- Well planned. The daily routine needs to be well-thought-out and discussed with your family. Each person should understand the role they play.
- Consistent. Routines need to be done every day in order for them to be effective. For example, your children might know that they have to get their backpacks ready for school on Sunday nights.
- Predictable. Routines also need to follow the same steps each time. For example, your children might know that they need to set the dinner table each night.
You’ll need to adapt the routine depending on your child’s age, but all routines have the same components. So start using a routine to take advantage of all the benefits it has to offer.
Caring for children is never easy. Each decision that you make affects your child and also your own mental state. Ensuring you are making the right choices when choosing between child centers vs home daycare can make all the difference.
Benefits of Sending Your Child to a Licensed Daycare vs Home Daycare
Of course, the best care does vary from child to child. Some kids do better in a social setting, like child care, while others do best at home. The key is to find what works best for your child. Sending your child to a child care center has tons of great benefits, both for you and the child.
First, licensed child care centers have the tools to keep your children safe. They have trained professionals that are able to provide care if your child is hurt, they know the Heimlich maneuver if your child chokes, and they can look out for the health of your child.
Another benefit is that they have enrichment items that will help your child flourish and help them do well. It also prepares them for school, helps them get used to being away from you for the day, and helps with social skills. It is important with small children that you do take the time to provide them with the chance to be social and to build their social skills, and daycare does just that.
If you have someone you really trust like a relative who can take care of your child at home, that may be better for you. If you are looking for an experience that will be as close to your child going to school as possible, daycare is a better option.
Choosing the Right Center
The first thing to do when choosing a child care center is to make sure that they will be able to take care of your child adequately. You want to choose a center that has enough staff, that perhaps has a special room that will fit your child’s needs, and a center that will enrich your child.
It is important that you visit the center before you put your children in their care. You should take the time to look at all the options that are out there and make sure you are choosing a center that is going to be a great fit for both you and your child.