If you are a new parent, or expecting, you probably should be thinking of how to manage your child, and career or business at the same time. Truth be told, this aspect of parenthood can be overwhelming.
But thanks to daycare centers, parents, most especially mothers can resume their jobs as quickly as possible after giving birth. Instead of living the kids for grandparents, most parents choose the option of sending them to daycare.
Kids pick up useful skills and knowledge at daycare centers. Their eating, and sleeping habits are often monitored in daycare.
So, if you’re a parent and plan to send your kids to daycare, you’ll benefit from this post. Now let’s dive in and answer the questions.
At What Age Does Daycare Stop?
Well, officially, daycare, and as we all know and accepted it, is for pre-schoolers. The pre-school aged kids usually accepted into daycare, are under 6 years old.
However, logically, daycare doesn’t stop. Children always require someone to watch over them. Schools know this, and so do parents.
The reason parents send their children to daycare is to ensure they are watched over by qualified individuals. Parents get to pay for this service, and it can sometimes be quite expensive.
However, schools have diverse programs lined up for kids of various age groups. So, instead of thinking your child won’t be accepted into daycare because of age, find out the daycare program he or she qualifies for.
You see, some schools run daycare programs for toddlers as little 2 months to children around 12 years. So, don’t worry about your child’s age and the possibility of him or her getting admitted into daycare.
The major thing you should feel concerned about is the daycare programs the school you’re interested in getting your child into offers.
How Schools Group Kids For Daycare Programs Based On Their Ages
The National Child Care Information and Technical Assistance Center defines daycare or child care as programs and qualified individuals who care for children and are paid for their services. The daycare is done during any hour when the children’s parents aren’t around to look after the kids.
So, as you can see, the definition of daycare doesn’t include a specific age group. Instead, it talks about the care of children. Children need someone to watch over them. It is dangerous allowing them to be by alone.
That said daycare group children into diverse classrooms, based on their chronological ages, and some use the kids’ developmental stage. Check them out below.
1: Infants & Newborn Care Program:
At what age does newborn care start? As the name implies, newborn care programs are designed for infants. Infants 6 – 12weeks can join this program.
So, the newborn care program is as the name implies. It is a program for babies. When admitted into this program, your baby will remain through the nursery until his or her first birthday at 12 months.
Once the infant gets to 12 months then he or she can move to toddler care. The name varies from one facility to another.
A Handy Tip: Please note that some daycares don’t accept babies (six weeks older) into their programs.
2: Toddlers/Toddler Care Program:
Young children that are 2 years old are commonly referred to as toddlers. But the thing is “toddlers” doesn’t have a specific age. Instead, it’s more of a developmental phase in a child’s life.
Most schools have toddler program for children 18 – 36 months old. However, some bigger schools have classes for toddlers. What these schools do is divide the classes based on the children’s age group.
For instance, they have toddler program for children age 2 years and 2 – 3 years.
A Handy Tip: Toddlers comprises of kids too young for structured pre-school program, though their needs are different from those in nursery.
3: Preschoolers/Preschool Program:
In daycare, preschool is a program for children and it includes children of diverse age groups and abilities. Note that 3 – 4 years is the recognized age bracket for preschoolers. However, some schools admit kids that are 5 years old.
Most kids in this age bracket are not yet ready to begin kindergarten. Furthermore, how the preschool program is structured varies from one school to another.
There are schools that do not accept the multi-age classroom. Instead, they divide their classrooms according to the age of the kids. That is, pre-school classroom for 3 year olds, four year olds and five year olds. Each age group will have a separate classroom.
On the other hand, schools that support multi-age classroom combine kids of different age groups in one classroom. That is, 3, 4 and 5 year olds.
A Handy Tip: Preschool programs are designed for kids that are not yet ready for kindergarten. This program prepares the kids for the next phase, which is kindergarten.
Kids are taught colors, shapes, numbers and letters in preschool.
4: Transition/Alternative Kindergarten Program:
The alternative kindergarten or transition program is for kids who have spent at least a year in preschool. The program is for kids considered too young and developmentally unprepared to get into kindergarten.
How old are kids that can attend alternative kindergarten program? This program is for kids age 4 – 5. Kids that are age 6 may also be sent to alternative kindergarten if the parents and teachers believe they aren’t ready to start kindergarten.
A Handy Tip: This transition or alternative kindergarten program operates like an in-school kindergarten, but usually offer the same comfortable environment and space that daycare has.
5: Afterschool/school age program:
This program is designed to help busy parents, who may need someone to look after their kids before they get back from work. So there are school-aged daycare programs for children in kindergarten or older classes.
Families that have kids in school can sign-up for this program. The kids are supervised before, during and after school hours.
In addition, there are school-aged daycare programs during the summer period where schools are yet to resume a new session.
Pros And Cons of Daycare
Daycare has its pros and cons. Therefore, before you send your kid to a daycare program, it’s advisable that you go through the pros and cons. Let’s discuss them.
Pros of Daycare/childcare programs:
- Daycare affords a child the opportunity to interact with other kids his or her age group.
- Your child will learn and participate in activities leading up to formal education.
- Schools scrutinize daycare staff to ensure they hire the right person for the job. They understand how delicate and sensitive training a child can be, and that’s why they always ensure those hired for the job are qualified. So, your kids are in safe hands. Besides, they’re trained in a structured environment that will be beneficial in the long-run.
- Your kids may experience separation anxiety when far away from you, but that’ll go away in no time. And what’s more, your kids will be independent.
- Your child will learn vital skills at daycare. These include social activities, languages, and diverse topics.
- Sending your child to daycare can boost their health. That’s because these centers promote healthy habits, which includes good nutrition. Your kids will have the privilege to try a wide variety of foods too.
- Daycare programs are much cheaper than hiring nannies. However, keep in mind that they’re more expensive than getting a family member to look after the kids or an in-home care.
Cons of Daycare/childcare programs
- Quality daycare can be expensive. Though the cost of daycare will vary from one region to another, the average cost in the United States is $11,000. The price could also go up if you arrive late to pick up your kids now and then, or hire someone to look after the kids whenever they fall ill.
- Unlike nannies, your child may not receive individual attention at a daycare. The teachers in these centers sometimes have to care for two or more kids simultaneously.
- There’s a possibility for kids that haven’t built a strong immune system to fall sick. Some may have cold or other contagious illnesses. If your kids eventually fall sick, the school will ask you to take care of them at home until their health improves.
- Most quality daycare centers are already full, and may not admit your child. So they may have to put your child’s name on the waiting list, pending when there’s a spot for him or her.
- Finding a good quality daycare is important. However, for this, it will be advisable to rely on other parent’s review to make a decision. Ask for their opinion of the school, especially if their kids have passed through the same school and program.
What age does daycare stop? The official age daycare is supposed to stop is 6 years. But the truth is, daycare doesn’t really stop. Children need supervision probably until they turn 12.
You as the parent will decide when you want the daycare to stop, not the school. And note that regardless of your child’s age, you can always get a care program.
Most schools have various daycare programs, designed according to kids’ age group and developmental stage. So whenever you’re ready to send your kids to daycare program, you’ll find a suitable one for his age.