Times are not easy for working parents.
Trying to juggle a job and simultaneously care for their young children often leaves working parents stressed and burned out. The situation becomes even more stressful when there is no other caregiver available (such as a grandparent or a family member), and their job offers little to no flexibility on working hours.
Add to that the perpetual concern of giving their children the right experiences to help them grow emotionally, cognitively, and physically makes the burden of working and raising children at the same time become even heavier to carry.
Unfortunately, few parents have the luxury of enjoying a stay-at-home-parent status. Prices are rising, yet the minimum wage has not kept up with the pace. As more and more parents enter the workforce to manage to stay financially afloat, the importance of child care is more pressing than ever.
Fortunately, working parents and child care is not a compromising situation, and enrolling children in daycare centers is actually beneficial for parents and children alike.
Benefits For Parents
Child care for working parents can be a true blessing as it offers parents several benefits.
1. Job Security
Caring for your child full-time and maintaining consistent employment can be challenging. As more employers require their employees to work set hours, finding a job with a flexible schedule to accommodate child care is extremely difficult.
However, enrolling your child in a daycare center will allow you to secure a job and provide a steady income for your family. In the uncertainty of the times we are living, job security is paramount in sustaining a healthy and stress-free family life.
2. Helps Parents Enter The Labor Market
Child care allows parents to enter the labor market.
According to research by Columbia University, child care helps parents return to work and generate an additional $94,000 in lifetime earnings for mothers alone.
A report by Child Care Aware America supports the importance of child care, as daycare centers enable parents to stay employed and work more hours for more extended periods, regardless of parents’ education level.
3. Increases Work Productivity
Child care for working parents increases work productivity. Access to stable, high-quality child care helps parents increase work hours, miss fewer workdays, and pursue further education.
The importance of child care becomes more pronounced when one looks at the numbers. The rising cost of inaction on work-family policies, and lack of access to child care centers, cost America $31.9 billion lost wages annually.
4. Helps Parents Maintain A Healthy Life Balance
Research shows that parents who stay at home and care for their children have higher rates of depression.
It is exciting to spend time with your little ones, but the repetitive routine of caring for young children can exhaust parents, physically and mentally. Parents who stay at home report becoming more irritable, having lower tolerance levels, and losing their patience more easily.
On the other hand, parents who take a break away from their children to work report feeling happier and more emotionally stable.
Even though they spend considerably less time with their children, the time they do spend is higher quality. Tired as though they may be from work, they are still eager to spend some quality time with their children. They show more patience and try to make every minute count, instead of counting every minute till they have some time to themselves after a long day caring for the young ones.
Benefits For Children
Child care for working parents should not be seen as the last resort solution as it warrants several benefits for the child as well. First, seeing as our children are the future of our country, early childhood education cultivates a future workforce. Moreover, the education offered in early child care facilities helps develop our nation’s future entrepreneurs, leaders, scientists, doctors, and so on.
1. Stimulating Environment
Stay-at-home parents don’t just stay at home. They are equally busy as working parents and have to do chores like grocery shopping, going to the bank, or keeping up with doctor’s appointments, all the while tugging their little ones along with them. Even though young children are thrilled for car rides, these get-out-of-the-house opportunities do not account for a stimulating environment that will foster your child’s cognitive growth.
On the other hand, daycare centers employ professional teachers who design activities to facilitate a child’s growth and help them achieve their developmental milestones. An NICHD study shows that children who enroll in daycare centers show more advanced language and cognitive skills when compared to children who stay at home.
2. Boosts Social Interaction
If there is one thing that covid has shown us, it is that children need to interact with other children to develop their social skills and thrive in their lives.
Daycare centers promote social skills such as turn-taking, respecting and accepting one another, sharing, helping, etc. Such professional facilities offer the ideal environment where children can safely interact and form relationships with children from diverse backgrounds, helping them develop their social skills and preparing them for their later school life.
3. Preps For Kindergarten
Kindergarten can be a challenging time for little ones, especially ones that have been raised in the home environment with little to no interaction with other children in daycare settings. As a result, they find it hard to wait for their turn, share things, and abide by the rules and schedule of the classroom.
On the other hand, children who attend professional daycare show a more positive behavior when they enter kindergarten and adjust to the new environment quicker and easier when compared to children who stay at home.
Research results consistently show the importance of child care in a seamless transition to preschool and closely correlate with the child’s positive results and outcome.
4. Encourages Routine
Working parents may find it hard to establish a routine for their children. Setting up a consistent daily plan can be difficult if you have unpredictable working hours. Even as a stay-at-home parent, your daily chores and the practicalities of running a home make establishing routines sometimes difficult.
Nevertheless, child care for working parents provides a structure for little children. Having a daily routine helps children feel safe. Knowing what to expect helps them flourish emotionally and develop a sense of trust in the world that allows them to explore their surroundings, learn and grow.
Working Parents And Child Care
As prices rise and the cost of living continuously increases, few parents can afford to stay at home and forgo a steady income for their families. However, child care for working parents is not something to be frowned upon or seen as a last resort option.
In fact, research after research supports the importance of child care in young children’s social, emotional, behavioral, physical, and cognitive development. In addition, as parents return to work, they maintain a healthy life balance while staying financially afloat.
When working parents choose the right daycare center, they can be rest-assured that their young children are receiving all the necessary stimulation to grow and achieve their developmental milestones in a safe and protected environment.