19 Pros and Cons of Daycare Parents Should Know About

These are the pros and cons moms and dads need to know about sending kid to daycare. These are also important when trying to transition your baby to daycare. #parenting #parentingtips #stayathomemom #newmom #newdad

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Figuring out childcare is a hard parenting decision.

In this article, we’re going to talk about the pros and cons of daycare.

 These are the pros and cons moms and dads need to know about sending kid to daycare. These are also important when trying to transition your baby to daycare. #parenting #parentingtips #stayathomemom #newmom #newdad

This is the start of our daycare mini-series. You might be asking what the heck is a daycare mini-series.

It’s a series of articles we’re going to publish that’s going to tackle different aspects of sending your child to daycare for the first time.

As a parent of a child about to start daycare, I must confess I’m more than a little nervous.

I’ve heard all these talks about how bad daycares are. I’ve even heard a mom calling another mom a bad parent for sending their kids to daycare.

I started looking into daycares to figure out if they are as bad as I’m led to believe.

Surely there are some positives for leaving my baby at daycare and hence this series.

*Disclosure: This site contain affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. For more info, please see my disclaimer.

Why Learning About Childcare Pros and Cons Matter

Looking for a Good Quality Daycare?

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

As a parent I know there’s a lot of guilt when it comes to sending your child to daycare.

Many times the guilt trip doesn’t just come from your internal turmoil but from other moms and dads.

Other Moms and Dads
From experience moms and dads are the worst at guilt-tripping other parents to do something just because they “feel” that’s the only way to do it.

In most situations, there are multiple ways of doing things and childcare is one of those.

I think many parents if given the option probably wouldn’t want to send their kids to daycare.

Most would prefer either a nanny or for one of them to be a stay at home parent.

We were such parents.

The thing is nannies are more expensive than daycares (and they come with their own pros and cons) and being a stay at home parent was financially out of the question.

Without a relative able to watch our son it meant daycare was our only option. I did what I usually do in situations like this. Research.

I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned researching daycares and leaving your kids at childcare so you can make an informed decision.

Related Article: How to Find a Daycare: Parent’s Step-by-Step Guide

Why do Parents Look for Daycare

We’ve found there are really only a handful of reasons why parents are looking towards daycare to care for their children.

1. Both Parents Work Outside the Home

In this day and age, most households in the United States are a two-income household. 61.1% of households in the U.S with children are two-income households.

Roughly 56.3% of those households have children under 6 years of age (source).

If both parents are working outside the home with young children childcare is going to be needed.

2. Stay at Home Parents Need a Break

Some households do have a stay at home mom or stay at home dad, but sometimes they’re going to need a break.

Many parents will turn to daycare or mother’s day out to help give the stay at home parent some relief.

3. Single Parent Household

If there’s no relative nearby a single-parent household is going to need the services of a daycare to watch their child while they’re at work.

Looking for a Good Quality Daycare?

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

Cons of Sending Your Child to Daycare

1. The Cost of Daycare

Daycares are not cheap, and honestly, they can be quite expensive. Business Broker did a report looking at the cost of daycare in the United States, and the results are quite surprising.

The average monthly cost of daycare in the United States varies from $855 (Alabama) to $2982 (Washington DC).

The average yearly cost was between $10,262 and $35,782.

One thing is clear the cost of daycare is high…and really high in some parts of the country.

Many families have a hard time affording daycare costs.

To help put it in perspective daycare costs can be anywhere between 14% to 26% of the average family income.

From personal experience, we’re going to end up paying over $11,000 a year to put our son in daycare.

And that’s for one kid. Imagine if you had 2 or 3 kids?

2. Daycare Hours May Not Be Convenient

While a lot of daycares do offer the care you can count on, their start times and pick up times might not be to your advantage.

The daycare we’re going to use is running 6:30 am to 6 pm.

A 6:30am drop off time and 6pm pickup time probably works for a lot of parents, but it’s not going to work for every parent.

What if your commute is longer and you need to drop your child off earlier, or you need to pick up your child later.

Let’s not forget about those who work non-traditional hours like healthcare workers or those in retail.

Those hours won’t work for many of those parents.

Some daycares will offer extended times like later pickup but usually at an additional charge.

Make sure you know what the hours of operations are for your daycare and you know how long it’s going to take you to drop your kid off at the daycare to get to work.

Also, know how long it’s going to take you to get them from daycare when coming back from work.

3. Holiday Hours

Many daycares are not open during major holidays, but unfortunately, many parents have to work. Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years, 4th of July are some of the days your daycare could be closed, but you still have to work.

When deciding on a daycare make sure you know what those days are and figure out a plan ahead of time if you have to work during that day.

4. Learned Behavior in Daycare

Study of Early Child Care research being done by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) found that more time being spent in daycares increases the likelihood that a child is going to have behavior problems such as aggressive behavior (source).

Related: 10 Important Qualities of a Good Daycare

5. Your Child is Going to be Sick More Often

Daycare no matter how clean they are (or say they are) is a breeding ground for germs.

Your child will be exposed to more viruses, bacterias, and germs at the daycare than they ever will if they were at home with you.

It doesn’t help that many parents are now not vaccinating their kids (source).

This will ultimately lead to increased visits to urgent care, emergency room, and your pediatrician.

It also means higher healthcare costs for you and more sick time usage as well.

6. Daycare Sick Policies

It’s bad enough your child is going to be sick more often, but it also means you won’t be able to drop them off at the daycare.

Many daycares have very strict policies on sick children. It’s understandable why the policy is in place.

Unfortunately, it does mean if your child is sick you will either have to take sick leave or make arrangements for someone else to watch your kid.

Did I mention you’re still going to be paying for those days your child was absent?

7. Your Child’s Reaction to Daycare

Your child’s personality will determine how well they’re going to react to daycare.

Unfortunately, many children do not respond well to daycare initially. Some kids require a longer adjustment period.

This means a fussier child at daycare and a fussier child at home.

8. Less Quality Time with Your Child

One of the major downsides with daycares is that you’re not going to be spending a lot of time with your child which unfortunately means you’re going to miss some major milestones.

9. You’re Going to Miss Major Milestones

If your child spends any decent amount of time in daycare the likelihood of you missing more than a few milestones is very likely.

You’re going to miss the very first words, the first steps, and so on.

If it’s not a big deal then no worries, but it’s something to think about.

10. Someone Else is Raising Your Kids

I read an article recently about a stay at home mom who really hates daycares.

I tried to find the article again and couldn’t, but one of the reasons she said was that she didn’t want someone else teaching morals to her kids.

While I didn’t agree with all her claims looking back at it someone else is going to be raising your child for you.

If your child is there 5 days a week that’s at least 40 hours a week your child is in the care of another person.

If I’m being honest with myself, it’s a significant number of hours.

What this means is you have to make sure you’re comfortable with the workers at the daycare you’re entrusting with your child.

11. Your Private Life Won’t Be so Private

One of the things I didn’t realize, but it made sense once I saw it is that for kids that know how to talk they tend to talk a little too much to daycare workers.

What I mean is that if your child hears your private conversation even if you think they’re not listening they are, and they’re going to repeat it later.

Looking for a Good Quality Daycare?

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

12. Questionable Behaviors by Daycare Workers and the Facility

If you pay attention to the news, there are some shady and questionable things going on in daycares.

Some daycares, while they put on this front, aren’t all they say they are.

If you do some quick online searches it won’t take you long to find news articles or testimonials with some of these claims:

the good and bad of daycare
  • Security is lax
  • Daycare workers are underpaid and overworked
  • Toys and Daycare furniture not being sanitized
  • Advertised nutritious food is not nutritious at all
  • Being out of caregiver to child ratio
  • Unsafe environment
  • Activities are not as stimulating or educational as advertised

The list goes on and on.

The Flip Side

Like everything in life, there are always two sides to any story, and that holds true when it comes to daycares.

If you’ve looked at all of my cons for sending your baby or infant to daycare, you would think no parent in their right might would ever do such a thing.

That’s not the case because there are positives to sending your child to daycare and we’re going to touch on some of those positives.

The Pros of Sending Your Baby to Daycare

1. Someone Is Watching Your Kids While You Go to Work

This is one of the fundamental reasons why parents seek out childcare.

Most homes nowadays are two-income homes.

Without an adult staying home or a relative able and nearby daycares are the first alternative to fill that need.

2. The Stay at Home Parent Needs Relief

Some homes even with a stay at home mom or stay at home dad turn to daycares to give them relief.

While some stay at home parents feel guilty doing this, they shouldn’t.

It can be overwhelming being at home all day with the kids and having a professional watch them means they are much safer than they would be if you just left them without supervision.

Did I also mention running errands or doing household chores is so much easier without the kids in the home?

3. Socialization

Daycare is a great way to start socializing your kid and getting them comfortable being around different people. This interaction will improve your kid’s social skills (source).

4. High-Quality Education

While not every daycare is good there are ones that provide exceptional care and education. Education that leads to kids performing better in school (source).

5. Daycares are Regulated

One of the nice things about daycares especially when compared with childcare from friends or relatives is that they’re regulated.

Typically by the state, you can be sure some standards are being upheld.

6. Reliable Care

Daycares have backup daycare workers so when one calls in there’s somebody else.

Unlike if you had a nanny or a relative watching your child if they get sick or decide to go on vacation you would be out of luck.

7. Health

Research is showing children sent to daycare could develop stronger immune systems which means they get sick less often later on in childhood (source) and have a reduced risk of developing asthma (source).

Final Thoughts

The pros and cons of sending your children to daycare. These are also important when trying to transition your kid to daycare. Transitioning to daycare. #parenting #parentingtips #stayathomemom #newmom #babytodaycare

As a parent, you can stress yourself out worrying about daycare or no daycare. As you can see there are some pros and cons with each one.

As a parent, you just have to make the best decision you think for your family and live with the results.

I’m sure we all know kids who were with a stay at home parent and turned out aggressive or kids who went to daycare and turned out very pleasant.

Make the best decision for your family and live with the results and tell all the naysayers to mind their own business.

Did we miss any other pros and cons of daycare?

Please take a second to share this article, so we can educate others.

Other interesting parenting articles:

Check them out.

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2 years ago

I just do not understand why someone would invest so much time and energy into their baby or child, only to throw that bond away by sending the child to daycare. You are fooling yourselves if you think strangers are good substitutes.

You will get an adolescent and later, an adult, who never bonded to you fully; they were instead dropped off at a facility all day. Tell yourself whatever you want, but that is a fact.
No stack of pros supersede that singular fact.

3 years ago

I sent my son to KinderCare daycare center for at least one year. It was a good experience. He did good in kindergarten and school. There is no problem sending the kids in daycare center if the kids are at least 3 years old. Sometimes Infants and Toddlers have serious problems with sickness they pick from other kids.

Charlotte Fleet
Charlotte Fleet
4 years ago

I like that you mention how daycare is a good way for kids to begin socializing. My husband’s sister has been wondering whether she should get a nanny or send her child to daycare. I think she should find a good daycare program that can help him make new friends.

Derek McDoogle
Derek McDoogle
4 years ago

I found it interesting when you said that many parents will turn to daycare or mother’s day out to help give the stay at home parent some relief. My sister is a single mother and she takes her daughter to my mom so that she can take care of her. I will recommend her to look for a local daycare so that my mom can have some rest.

Stefan Bradley
Stefan Bradley
4 years ago

You make a good point when you mention how your child might need to attend daycare if both parents go to work. My wife’s work hours have recently changed and will force her to work in the morning, with both of us at work we will need someone to watch our son. It might be a good idea to find a daycare service that can take care of our child while we’re working.

5 years ago

I agree it is so nerve-racking to leave your child anywhere, especially for a long period of time. When I had no choice to but to put my son in daycare I chose an In-home with someone I knew and trusted. I do know some facilities have cameras that you can see on your phone so you can see your child and what is going on when you’re not there- that would make me feel better. Thanks for bringing attention to all the good and also the bad!

Parents Plus Kids
Parents Plus Kids
Reply to  breanna
5 years ago

One of the things on our checklist was making sure the daycare our son went to had a camera. We thought it forced a little bit of accountability. Whether it does or doesn’t I guess we might not know. But to your point, the thought of having a camera there did make us feel better about that daycare.

rachel frampton
rachel frampton
3 years ago

My sister would like to look for a daycare center where she can leave her son Nathan since she would have to work during the weekends. Well, I also agree with you that daycares are perfect for those parents who can’t find a baby sitter. I guess you made a pretty good point that stay at home parents would benefit from this, epseiclaly f they need a break too.

Zoe Campos
Zoe Campos
3 years ago

My favorite part of the article is where you mentioned that daycare centers are regulated and monitored by the state. I have some doubts about leaving my daughter with them but knowing they have some standards to follow put me at ease. I guess all that’s left to do is to look for educational facilities that offer child care services.

Melissa Schlosser
Melissa Schlosser
3 years ago

I would like to add another pro to daycare: I’m a new parent, so this is my first time taking care of a baby. For the workers at my daycare this was their 100th time. So, by sending my daughter to daycare I had baby experts evaluating her every day and giving me tips and advice. They were able to spot developmental opportunities that I didn’t see. For example I thought that bright play gyms were overwhelming for babies, but they caught I wasn’t using one at home because my daughter was behind on her development in “reaching for objects”. We got a gym and sure enough she loved it and began reaching more. They had lots of great tips for things like developmentally appropriate toys, safe sleeping and best pediatricians. They told me about things I had never heard of like bottle rot- where you should never leave a baby a bottle with your child in their crib because milk on their teeth causes rot.

4 years ago

It’s a little disappointing that you shared 12 cons for daycare, as opposed to only 7 pros; seems a but biased. Where we live, full-time childcare is just over $2,500 a month for a toddler, which is expensive, but as we’re considering a second child, debating between paying $5k a month or find another solution. We love the school and teachers and have the utmost confidence in them, it’s just hard wrapping my head around what’s basically two years’ university tuition every year for childcare.

Sarah Packer
Sarah Packer
4 years ago

My kid is getting a little older and since I have to go back to work, I wanted some daycare info. I didn’t know 61.1% of US households with children have two incomes coming in, meaning children are going to need daycare. My family falls into that category, so I’ll try to find a daycare that’s flexible and affordable, thanks to this post!