Keeping your child active and engaged from a young age is important. With kids starting to use cell phones or tablets from a younger and younger age, too much screen time will hinder childhood development in various areas. Getting your child involved in educational activities or activities that involve other children their age is the way to go.
Whether that’s preschool or a daycare center or summer camp, there are plenty of options available for parents to explore. This is especially important given that the Center for American Progress reports that under one-in-three kids today have a parent who is stay-at-home full time, so children need to be occupied and cared for in other ways. Instead of plopping a child in front of the TV or a tablet, organized programs can keep kids active and learning in these important, formative years.
Talk to Me About Childcare Options
Almost one quarter of kids who under five years old belong to some type of child care arrangement like day care centers, preschools, and nurseries. Some parents might also hire nannies or babysitters, depending on their resources and needs. Almost five million children go to a preschool or daycare center on a regular basis. These type of organized care options can be optimal for childhood development, as they give children the building blocks for future schooling and development.
They might be given rudimentary lessons — identifying colors, learning to count, and learning to spell, for example — and they’ll also learn how to interact with their peers. Sharing, making friends, and learning manners are taught and reinforced in these spaces. Preschool, daycare, and nurseries also ensure that your child is being looked after by trusted child care professionals, which can put many parents’ minds at ease. Furthermore, every employee at a state licensed preschool must undergo both a fingerprint and an FBI background check.
What’s Important for Proper Childhood Development?
From birth to three years of age marks the time that the brain develops at the fastest rate it ever will over the course of a person’s whole lifespan. Although each child moves at their own rate, there are four main areas where development and progress are measured.
Physically, their body, muscles, and senses need to be growing. They also need to learn how to play and talk to others, and learn how to relate to others. Emotionally, a child should have an awareness of themselves, be able to express his or her feelings, and take care of him or herself. And of course, cognitively, there should be signs of thinking, reasoning, problem solving, and language should be progressively expanding.
Organized child care programs can help stimulate and encourage all of these steps in childhood development. Recess or playtime outside can help strengthen muscles, improve coordination, and increase endurance. Interacting with their peers helps socially and also likely emotionally. Structured lessons and even free play creative activities will help a child develop cognitively.
What are the Benefits of Preschool and Other Organized Programs?
A good preschool program can help lay a solid foundation for a child’s future education. Three separate studies showed that 80% of children enrolled in preschool did better than their peers who were not enrolled in good quality education or childcare programs.
Organized childcare programs also give your child structure, set them in a routine, and help them with fundamental social skills like making friends, learning to interact with others, and following etiquette and manners. Plus, you know that your child is safe and engaged, with qualified adults looking after him or her while you’re away at work.
There are so many advantages to enrolling your child in a preschool program — why not do so? Local summer camps and daycare can help fill in any other childcare gaps and still provide your child with new experiences, skills, and life lessons.