Deciding when or if to send your child to childcare can be a tough decision for most parents. The fact is that for the majority of parents, the choice is made for us as we have to return to work, but whether you have a choice or not it can still leave parents feeling torn. If you suffer from childcare anxiety or the infamous guilt that plagues many parents when they are away from their children deciding to enrol your child can be a stressful experience. To try and lessen the load, I have compiled a list of pros and cons for you to consider. I find it helps to focus on whichever side makes you feel better.
Pros of Childcare
They learn valuable social skills at an early age - Childcare provides an opportunity for children to socialise and interact with other kids their age, experiencing how other children behave and react. It also allows them to develop friendships and consider others, this will put them in good stead for kinder and primary school where they will be forced to interact with many other children whether they like it or not.
Children learn more in a structured environment – I am not questioning anyone's ability to teach their children new words or how to write their names. However, it is less likely that children at home have designated learning time each day. Childcare can provide a structured environment with age-appropriate activities and educational opportunities that make it easier for children to learn.
Your child's carers are professionals - Childcare facilities don’t just let anyone walk in and care for the kids. Accredited childcare centres have staff trained to look after children. They have to have police checks and working with children certificates. They are all trained in first aid and for the most part, the carers have chosen this career because they genuinely adore children.
Children love a routine – All parents know that kids like to know what they are doing and when they are doing it. The sense of structure and consistency make children feel secure. Childcare centres are all about routines and processes.
It allows you time to yourself – Whether that time is spent at the office or doing housework or just going for a walk. Whatever you want or need to do, you can do it child-free.
Cons of Childcare
It is expensive- the average cost of childcare in Australia is $120 per child per day. Although a Government rebate can pay up to 50% depending on your income, it can certainly impact your family budget, particularly if you have more than one child in care.
Your children will be exposed to more illness - Childcare centres can be quite the breeding ground for germs, and as children have no social distancing skills they are more likely to get sick which is no fun for them and no fun for you.
Separation anxiety – most children struggle at first with being away from their parents, but some suffer from serious separation anxiety. This can make childcare drop off’s extremely traumatic for both of you.
You can't control your child’s environment – Your children will be subject to the rules of the childcare, these rules may differ from what is accepted at home. You also have limited choice over your child's activities and interactions which can be difficult for many parents.
So there you have it, there are many reasons for and against enrolling in childcare, however, you only need to consider what is best for your family and your situation. Trust me, whatever you decide, some days you will be happy with your choice and some days you won’t.
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