What Age Does a Child Stop Going to Daycare?

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The question of when a child no longer needs daycare is one that weighs on the minds of many new parents (almost as much as how to find a good daycare).

You might fret you will have to scramble for care when your child ages out of a program. Don’t worry. The answer to this common question is very simple.

Quick Answer:

Most daycare providers offer child care services to children through school age, which is about five to six years old. Many daycare providers offer before- and after-school programs for children up to sixth grade as well. Talk with your daycare provider to learn their specific age range.

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What Age Does a Child Stop Going to Daycare?

A child doesn’t stop needing someone to watch over them just because they reach a certain age. Daycare providers know this. Most offer programs for kids through the time that they begin school.

Some even offer programming past the first elementary years. In most instances, standard daycare providers divide children into a variety of age groups.

Looking for a Good Quality Daycare?

Find an affordable and qualified daycare center that fits your needs.

Infant and Newborn Care

Newborn care generally starts at about six to 12 weeks. Babies remain in the nursery through their first birthday. Children are usually moved to a toddler level, which goes by different names at different facilities, once they reach 12 months old.

Toddler Care

Daycare centers generally use the toddler years to determine their age groups for early childhood. These children are too young for structured pre-school programs but don’t have the same needs as those that are in the nursery.

Pre-School Programs

The term pre-school often applies to a specific course of study for children who are not yet ready for kindergarten. The curriculum usually includes learning letters, numbers, colors, and shapes.

There is a strong focus on facilitating readiness for structured elementary school. Pre-school may also refer to the age of the child.

This group generally begins at about age three and ends at age five or six. Most daycares that provide child care for this age offer some kind of learning program, but parents should be mindful of how much learning is available and what is needed for the individual child.

Some parents choose to enroll their children in a part-time pre-school in addition to full-time daycare when they reach this age.

Related: 10 Traits of a Good Daycare

Alternative Kindergarten

A daycare may offer an alternative to the typical kindergarten. It functions similarly to an in-school kindergarten but provides the same comforting environment as a daycare.

Parents may choose this route if they feel their child is not ready for the typical elementary school experience. Alternative kindergartens are for five and six-year-olds.

Looking for a Good Quality Daycare?

Find an affordable and qualified daycare center that fits your needs.

After-School Care

Whether a child starts school in kindergarten or beyond, there is a point that they will need after-school care.

The good news for worried parents is that many daycare programs offer an afternoon option for children up to age 12. Some even provide transportation from the child’s school to the daycare facility.

These facilities may offer before school care and transportation as well. Some even provide full-day options for school holidays.

Final Thoughts

You should be able to easily find a daycare that accepts your child until they start school. Daycare solutions exist for before-school, after-school and school holidays for children through about age 12.

What have you learned about daycare? Share your stories with us!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cut off age for daycare?

The cut off age for daycare is when the child turns school age at about 5-6 years of age. At that point after-care programs become very good options for parents.

What are the disadvantages of daycare?

Some of the cons of daycare includes daycare costs and that someone else is raising your child for you.


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