If you're thinking of enrolling your baby in infant care or early daycare, you're probably:
- working parent,
- a parent who needs to free up some time in the day for other matters, or
- simply looking at the possible benefits you baby can gain from infant care.
In any case, you've got some concerns. What are the benefits of infant care? And how can you ensure that you're putting your baby in a good program?
Benefit #1: Your baby learns in a structured, safe setting.
Babies in infant care centers get access to trained educators, specialised play areas, and an age-appropriate curriculum that they may not have at home. Many infant care centers offer activities that hone their attention and train their reflexes, like music and language. They also provide spaces that allow babies to have tummy time, learn to crawl, and develop the strength to sit up.
In infant care, your baby would have a structured day that takes into account all their needs, including naps, meals, and, importantly, opportunities to safely explore their world.
Benefit #2: Your baby learns to socialise.
A larger social circle an added benefit of enrolling your baby in infant care. Firstly, your baby gets the opportunity to engage and play with peers their age, which may be unlikely at home. They'll get to work on their social skills and are likely to attempt to do new things, like crawling or standing, if they see their peers doing it.
Secondly, your baby will get one-on-one attention from a trained educator, especially since infant care classes have smaller class sizes compared to older age groups. Interacting with adults outside the home will help your baby to learn to trust new adults and adapt better to unfamiliar social situation.
Benefit #3: It's the best option for working parents.
Infant care and early daycare programs can be a lifesaver for families with two working parents. This is especially the case when it's difficult to find trusted and capable guardians to care for your baby at this vulnerable age.
Good infant care centers recognise the needs of parents along with the needs of the children enrolled there. Parents of young children appreciate being regularly updated on how their child is doing - in terms of meals, activities, growth, and safety. Some infant care centers allow parents to access this information anytime through infant health apps like LittlePoop (that track babies' health and growth daily), and Little Check In (that automatically update parents when their child is dropped off/picked up from the center with a selfie).
It's scary to be away from your child this early in their life. So, research is crucial – explore your options to ensure that your baby gets the best care and to give yourself some peace of mind. A checklist of your criteria is a good place to start. Head over to How to Choose a Good Preschool for a rundown of the most important things to consider when picking a center that's best-fit for your child.