MAKING DAY CARE A GOOD EXPERIENCE
Articles for Parents
All Family Resources
Alphabetical List
  1. Children and Divorce
  2. Teenagers with Eating Disorders
  3. Teens: Alcohol and Other Drugs
  4. The Depressed Child
  5. Child Abuse - The Hidden Bruises
  6. Children Who Can't Pay Attention
  7. Children Who Won't Go to School
  8. Children and Grief
  9. Child Sexual Abuse
  10. Teen Suicide
  11. The Child with Autism
  12. Children Who Steal
  13. Children and TV Violence
  14. Children and Family Moves
  15. The Adopted Child
  16. Children with Learning Disabilities
  17. Children of Alcoholics
  18. Bedwetting
  19. The Child with a Long-Term Illness
  20. Making Day Care a Good Experience
  21. Psychiatric Medication for Children and Adolescents Part I: How Medications Are Used
  22. Normality
  23. Mental Retardation
  24. Know When to Seek Help for Your Child
  25. Who can be contacted to seek Help for Your Child
  26. Know Your Health Insurance Benefits
  27. Stepfamily Problems
  28. Responding to Child Sexual Abuse
  29. Psychiatric Medication for Children and Adolescents Part II: Types of Medications
  30. Children and AIDS
  31. When Children Have Children
  32. 11 Questions to Ask Before Psychiatric Hospital Treatment of Children and Adolescents
  33. Conduct Disorders
  34. Children's Sleep Problems
  35. Tic Disorders
  36. Helping Children After a Disaster
  37. Children and Firearms
  38. Bipolar Disorder (Manic-Depressive Illness) in Teens
  39. Children of Parents with Mental Illness
  40. The Influence of Music and Music Videos
  41. Substance Abuse Treatment for Children and Adolescents: Questions to Ask
  42. The Continuum of Care
  43. Discipline
  44. Children and Lying
  45. Lead Exposure
  46. Home Alone Children
  47. The Anxious Child
  48. Problems with Soiling and Bowel Control
  49. Schizophrenia in Children
  50. Panic Disorder in Children and Adolescents
  51. Psychiatric Medications for Children and Adolescents Part III: Questions to Ask
  52. Comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation
  53. What is Psychotherapy For Children and Adolescents?
  54. Children and Watching TV
  55. Understanding Violent Behavior in Children & Adolescents
  56. Parenting: Preparing for Adolescence
  57. Normal Adolescent Development - Middle School and Early High School Years
  58. Normal Adolescent Development - Late High School Years and Beyond
  59. Children Online
  60. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Children and Adolescents
  61. Children and Sports
  62. Talking to Your Kids About Sex
  63. Gay And Lesbian Adolescents
  64. Foster Care
  65. Children's Threats: When are they serious? 
  66. Helping Teenagers with Stress
  67. Children and The News
  68. Tobacco and Kids
  69. Asperger's Disorder
  70. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  71. Multiracial Children
  72. Children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  73. Self-Injury in Adolescents
  74. Advocating for Your Child
  75. Pets and Children
  76. Helping Your Teen Become a Safe Driver
  77. Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
  78. When a Pet Dies
  79. Obesity in Children and Teens
  80. Bullying #80
MAKING DAY CARE A GOOD EXPERIENCE

Most child and adolescent psychiatrists recognize that the ideal environment for raising a small child is in the home with parents and family. Intimate daily direct parental care of infants for the first several months of life is particularly important. Since the ideal environment often is not available, the role of day care, especially in the first few years of the child's life, needs to be considered. Some experts recommend a minimum of six or more months leave for parents. All agree that when day care is used, the quantity and quality of the day care are significant in the child's development.

Before choosing a day care environment, parents should be familiar with the state licensure regulations for child care. They should also check references and observe the caregivers with the child.

Parents sometimes take their young child to the home of a person who is caring for one or more other children. Infants and children under two-and-one-half need:

  • More adults per child than older children require
  • A lot of individual attention
  • The same caregiver(s) over a long period of time
  • A caregiver who will play and talk with them, smile with them, praise them for their achievements, and enjoy them

Parents should seek a caregiver who is warm, caring, self-confident, attentive, and responsive to the children. The caregiver should be able to encourage social skills and positive behavior, and set limits on negative ones. Parents should be sensitive to the caregiver's capacity to relate to children of different ages. Some individuals can work well only with children at a specific stage of development.

It is wise for parents to find out how long the individual plans to work in this day care job. High turnover of individuals, several turnovers, or any turnover at critical points of development, can distress the child. If parents think or feel the day care they have chosen is unsatisfactory, they should change caregivers. All parents have the right to drop in during the day and make an unannounced visit.

Many children, particularly after the age of three, benefit from good, group day care, where they can have fun and learn how to interact with others. Child and adolescent psychiatrists suggest that parents seek day care services with:

  • trained, experienced teachers who enjoy, understand and can lead children
  • enough teachers and assistants, ideally, at least one for every five children, small rather than large groups if possible. (Studies have shown that five children with one caregiver is better than 20 children with four caregivers)
  • staff that has been there for a long period of time
  • opportunities for creative work, imaginative play, and physical activity
  • space to move indoors and out
  • lots of drawing and coloring materials and toys, as well as equipment such as swings, wagons, jungle gyms, etc.

If the child seems afraid to go to day care, parents should introduce the new environment gradually: at first, the mother or father can go along, staying nearby while the child plays. The parent and child can stay for a longer period each day until the child wants to become part of the group.

Though parents may worry about how the child will do, they should show pleasure in helping their child succeed. If the child shows unusual or persistent terror about leaving home, parents should discuss it with their pediatrician.

 

Article #20 Updated 5/99

All Family Resources wishes to thank the (AACAP) for giving us permission to use this article.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) represents over 6,900 child and adolescent psychiatrists who are physicians with at least five years of additional training beyond medical school in general (adult) and child and adolescent psychiatry.

Facts for Families is developed and distributed by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP). Facts sheets may be reproduced for personal or educational use without written permission, but cannot be included in material presented for sale. To order full sets of FFF, contact Public Information, 1.800.333.7636.  Free distribution of individual Facts sheets is a public service of the AACAP Special Friends of Children Fund. Please make a tax deductible contribution to the AACAP Special Friends of Children Fund and support this important public outreach. (AACAP, Special Friends of Children Fund, P.O. Box 96106, Washington, D.C. 20090).
   
All Family Resources
4286 Redwood Hwy. Suite 401 San Rafael, CA 94903
Phone: 415-491-9170  
Email the Webmaster
1998 - 2001All Family Resources, http://www.familymanagement.com. All Rights Reserved
Terms of Use