In any given week in 2011 about 61 percent of the more than 20 million children in the United States were in a day care environment. Of these, 33 percent were in the care of non-relatives. The choice to place your child in the care of strangers is a big decision. But day care providers and centers can offer positive benefits in your child's development.
The number of moms who enter the workforce and remain working has increased from one-third to more than one-half since 1970, according to Academy of American Pediatricians. This means more young children are cared for outside of the home. A mom who works can have a positive impact on the family unit as a whole, states the AAP. When a working mother feels valued and supported by her family, other members are more likely to take part in household chores. Children help look out for each other, and the father may spend more time caring for the children.
Your child's physical development may benefit from a day care situation under certain circumstances, concluded a 2010 study in the journal "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise." The amount of vigorous physical activity your child receives depends on the day care's policies and practices around activities and its outdoor play environment. The study found that day care providers who offered play areas with lots of grass, trees and movable play equipment had the most influence on a child's physical activity.
The number of children in a day care environment offers opportunities for your child to develop and practice her social skills. Socialization is especially important if your child is 3 to 4 years old. A variety of playmates can provide a host of stimulating and new opportunities to learn how to get along with others. However, if your child is sensitive to external stimuli, a day care situation may be a bit overwhelming.
Finding quality day care for your special needs child can be a challenge, according to a report for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Those who do enter into non-maternal day care situations can expect their child to benefit in terms of positive changes in behavior. Some moms have reservations about the type of attention day care will provide and if it will match the attentive care given by parents. According to the report, your child will acquire the same level of cognitive, motor, language and adaptive functioning as if he had remained in a home setting.