Child care outside our homes is now a reality with a majority of working parents leaving their child in a crèche or daycare centre. Here are some valuable tips on ensuring the best care for your baby
By Kumudam Berkin
Are you one of those parents who feels guilty about leaving your child in the crèche the whole day? Do you wonder how the quality of the daycare is going to affect the development of your baby?
You are not the only one. Much like the west, formal day care outside the confines of our homes and child care in crèches have become common in India. A few decades ago, the joint family system was the main support for the mother who wanted to leave her baby in reliable care, when she was not around. The extended family including grandparents, uncles and aunts would take care of all the little ones, growing up together. But with the emergence of the nuclear family, mostly in the urban scenario, young couples have to depend on outside care.
Nowadays, most mothers go back to work after a few months of childbirth and both parents get busy with the travails of running the house as well as pursuing a career. In such a situation, daycare centres come to the rescue of the parents. Many of these centres not just provide basic care but are also associated with early learning in children. They make significant impact on the overall development of the child.
An article published in the Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development, ‘Current research on child care effects’ says that research has found both advantages and disadvantages of leaving a child in formal care or crèche. One study points out that children left in a daycare centre for longer time, till they are 4.5 years of age may show behavioural problems. But there are other studies, which reveal that good quality daycare centres promote cognitive development and better learning skills.
It is true that in good centres, caretakers promote language learning, organise activities that promote development and teach basic math skills. But in some places, overcrowding is a problem because of which children may be neglected and their behaviour issues may go unnoticed.
It is increasingly important to find a suitable crèche. Start your search early -- at least a couple of months before you actually enrol.
First impressions speak volumes. During your first visit make sure you chat up with a couple of parents to get an honest feedback about the daycare. It is also a good idea to check if the daycare is well equipped with medical facilities.
While there is no substitute for a parent’s love and affection, the right daycare centre can give you the right support and your child a good start, which will act as a stepping stone into the world of school.
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