This article originally appeared on Mum Central, Australia’s premier lifestyle hub for women, parenting and lifestyle, beauty and fashion, travel and great giveaways. View the original article here and feel free to check out other great articles and tips on hand.
Sometimes it’s hard to avoid those well-meaning, (or otherwise) people who like to share their opinion on childcare and the associated pros and cons.
There are those that are in opposition and will proudly boast about how they have dedicated their entire life to ensuring that little Johnny is brought up 24/7 at home in the loving care and affection of parents who have quit their jobs in dedication. Then there are those that have the fortunate opportunity to leave their children with other family members such as grandparents, aunts, cousins etcetera. There are also some lucky ones who send their children to childcare without guilt ever measuring on their radar.
Others however battle with the thought of leaving their child with “strangers” and have endless guilt ridden thoughts going around and around in their head. Thoughts such as “you should be at home with your children” and “how selfish of you to WANT/NEED to go back to work” are swimming laps in a dirty pool of guilt-laced water whilst they try their hardest to carry out their work tasks.
Well the good news is that there are a number of benefits for children who attend childcare and that it is 100% okay to kick those guilty thoughts to the kerb for good! Clear some much needed space for more positive and meaningful thoughts about childcare and we guarantee that you will see and feel the benefits of letting go.
Meeting other children outside of the home is a great way for kids to develop their socialisation skills. From babies right through to school age kids, you can see children have a unique way of communicating and feeling connected to each other. Childcare can give children the opportunity to learn important lessons about sharing and compromise, how to recognise and interpret feelings and also how to play positively with others. There are even studies that show that children who attend childcare are better able to deal with their emotions when they reach school age (http://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(14)00528-9/abstract?cc=y).
2. Well deserved rest and recharge for parents
Motivations for returning to work are not always centered around the theme of requiring more money. Often parents feel the need to keep in touch with their job and see working essential in maintaining their career opportunities. While it may seem slightly odd and paradoxical, returning to work can also provide the much needed rest and space from family life. It can provide the space for parents to fully recharge their “parent batteries” in preparation for days/weekends spent playing and caring for children as well as performing household chores and duties.
The great thing is you don’t have to regularly put your child in childcare to get the benefits mentioned above. Casual childcare is an option for parents who don’t require ongoing childcare every week however sometimes need the help when unexpected commitments pop up or when a well deserved break is required.
3. Early learning
As well as learning important social skills, childcare provides the opportunity for children to learn through a variety of different activities both structured and un-structured. Letter and number recognition is often a part of the curriculum and can be learnt through singing, dancing, storytelling and more traditional structured activities on paper similar to a school classroom environment.
4. Boost to the immune system
Children who have attended childcare often have less colds and flus when they first start school. Early exposure to the nasties may mean a few parental sick days are required, however it can mean more resilient and resistant children once they start attending school.
5. A new network of friends
Becoming a new parent can often be isolating, especially if you are the first in a group of friends to have a child. Childcare can be a way of meeting new people who are in the same situation and facing the same challenges of juggling parenthood with household duties and work commitments. Social connections at childcare extend beyond those of the child and you may find yourself forming mothers groups, going to BBQ’s and even venturing on holidays with your new friends! Adjusting to life as a parent can be made easier by associating with others you meet at your children’s childcare.
So you see, there is no need to feel guilty about leaving your children in childcare. There is no right or wrong way, you just have to let go of those negative voices and accept that in some circumstances, childcare is necessary and can even be of benefit. Most important is the maintenance of a harmonious and loving home life where children can feel safe and if that means some time away at childcare whilst mum or dad recharge or go to work then we say – so be it!
Know of someone feeling guilty about sending their kids to childcare? Share the love and let them know of these great benefits childcare can provide their family.