When is the Best Age to Start Daycare?
For parents and family members, deciding what age to start daycare for your child can be just as difficult as deciding which daycare center they should attend.
There is no right answer for deciding when to enroll your child. Every family and child is different, but enrolling your child in a daycare center is one of the best things you can do for them. We encourage you to consider the following when deciding when to enroll your young children in high-quality early learning environments.
Whether your parental leave (maternity or paternity) is running out or you’re interested in rejoining the workforce after being a stay-at-home parent, a family’s work schedule is the first item to consider.
Less than three percent of parents in the U.S. are full-time, stay-at-home parents making it a reality that you will likely have to send your little one to a daycare at some point. If you know you will be returning to work after having a child or anticipate a change in your work schedule in the future, be sure to do your research on local daycare options early.
It’s no secret that the cost of early education can be a barrier for families. The average cost of child care in the U.S. is more than $14,000 per year and has risen significantly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you need day care to accommodate your family’s schedule, be sure the cost won’t have a significant negative impact on your family’s financial security. Consider having a family member or friend watch your child until they become more independent allowing you to save up for a high-quality daycare in the future.
Many states offer various voucher and scholarship options for families that need assistance to access child care. Some programs even have their own assistance programs.
Day Early Learning, for example, offers a unique Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) to its families. Qualification for these scholarships is based on family size and income. These scholarships are funded by the contributions of generous supporters, including the United Way of Central Indiana, corporations, foundations and individuals in our community.
During a child’s first 18 months, a stable routine is important to a young child’s development. During this stage, infants need to be fed, changed and nap on a consistent routine. An early care and education program can help maintain that regular schedule in a safe daycare environment.
As a child moves into the toddler and preschool age, they are becoming more independent. They are able to walk on their own and will eventually be able to use familiar words or even sentences. At this stage, stimulating activity is important to the development of a young child and allows them to express themselves based on observation. Some parents who work from home or have younger kids to care for can enroll their toddler or preschooler in an early care program to ensure they receive developmentally appropriate activities to enjoy.
Below is an example of a daily routine in one of our Day Early Learning classrooms. During “group activities” and “learning centers,” young children will be given age-appropriate and hands-on activities along with one-on-one instruction. Your child’s teacher will post their specific weekly schedules outside the door to the classroom.
|7 a.m.||Learning Centers|
|8:30 – 9 a.m.||Learning Centers|
|9 – 9:30 a.m.||Morning Snack|
|9:45 – 10:30 a.m.||Learning Centers|
|10:30 – 11 a.m.||Outside Time|
|11 – 11:30 a.m.||Group Story Time or Songs|
|12:30 – 2:30 p.m.||Nap or Quiet Time|
|2:30 p.m.||Afternoon Snack|
|3:30 – 4 p.m.||Learning Centers|
|4 – 4:30 p.m.||Outside Time|
|4:30 p.m.||Learning Centers and Clean Up|
Day Early Learning is passionate about providing the best child care option for central Indiana families. We have classrooms for five different age groups to ensure every child is able to experience a specialized learning environment to fit their development stage.