The debate continues to rage about the right age to start your child in daycare. In fact, many parents experience extreme uncertainty or even guilt about this decision. Are there potentials downsides to starting your child in daycare too early? Could your child be scarred in some way if they attend pre-school at such a young age?
A new study just published sought to answer that question, and the results may surprise you.
Daycare Kids Showed Better Social Skills
A new study conducted by Sorbonne University’s Centre of Research in Epidemiology and Statistics in France sought to “better establish the importance of early determinants on the health of individuals, particularly with regard to the environmental factors that influence them in childhood and later in adulthood.”
Called the EDEN study, researchers determined that children who go to daycare are more likely to show better behavior compared to those who don’t go to daycare. Plus, kids attending daycare showed better cognitive development and improved social skills.
How Did the Study Work?
Researchers surveyed about 1,400 parents about their children from the time they were infants until they reached eight years old. Three research groups were composed for the study: at-home childcare; center-based daycare; and professional caregivers who looked after two to six children. Parents then documented their child’s behavior.
The main survey results indicated that “high-quality, centre-based childcare may be linked to lower levels of emotional symptoms.”
The study resoundingly showed that children who went to a daycare for more than a year exhibited better social skills and fewer difficulties with other kids. And even more surprising: Kids who went to daycare experienced long-term mental health benefits.
“Access to high-quality childcare in the first years of life may improve children’s emotional and cognitive development, prevent later emotional difficulties, and promote prosocial behaviours,” Dr. Maria Melchior, coauthor of the report, told Popsugar.
Plus, the study revealed that attending daycare may help a child get better grades in school and increase their academic skills, including “cognitive, language and preacademic skills.”
“Compared with children in informal childcare, those who attended centre-based childcare had a lower likelihood of having high levels of emotional symptoms, peer relationship problems, and low prosocial behaviours,” according to the published research results.
The Benefits of Daycare
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The bottom line: Many parents have found placing their young children in daycare has extensive benefits, including those mentioned above. And here are even a few more benefits of sending you child to daycare:
- They can more easily separate from their parents. Teaching independence at a young age helps kids be more independent as they grow up.
- They become better at socializing. Having experience in different social situations helps children learn how to deal more effectively with differing life circumstances.
- They are better prepared to attend school. Let’s face it: They learn a lot at daycare.
- Children who go to a high-quality daycare were more likely to get college degrees. “A 30-year study led by the FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that infants enrolled in a high-quality childcare program were four times more likely to have earned a college degree,” according to Working Mother
- They build up their immune systems. “Researchers from the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale in France studied 280 cases of childhood cancer, and found that kids who had been in daycare were less likely to have acute leukemias than those who had only been at home,” according to Working Mother