What is the best age to put a baby in daycare?

The decision of when to enroll a child in daycare can be challenging for parents, but many experts believe that 12 months old is an optimal time to transition an infant to daycare. However, each child is unique, and there is no universal barometer for when they are ready for daycare. While some children may be ready for daycare earlier, parents should look for certain signs of independence, such as walking on their own, playing with others without constant supervision, and attempting to form words. Gradually introducing younger infants to daycare, especially if parents are present the first few days, can decrease stress and anxiety levels over time. It is also important for children to be able to adjust to routine, which can be achieved by introducing routines into their lives at home. Children who have not stayed away from home before may benefit from spending the night with a trusted family member or friend to help make the transition to daycare more seamless. Finally, parents should consider how curious their child is about the world around them. If they have taken an interest in shapes and sounds or are attempting to draw or scribble, they may be ready for the next step towards independence and daycare. Despite the challenges, sending infants and toddlers to high-quality daycare centers early on can have a positive impact on their academic achievement and future social and emotional development.

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