How Long Should My Child Be in Daycare?

Many parents rely on daycare to return to their jobs. Daycare is helpful for many parents, but it should not be a replacement for parental care. It’s not good for most children to be in daycare all day, every day because children need their parents to care for and raise them.

So how many days–and hours during the day–is best for children to be in daycare?

The answer to this question is largely based on the child’s age. Let’s look at some of the factors to consider when finding the ideal schedule for your child.

Daycare Hours for Infants

Infants shouldn’t be away from their parents or relatives all day, every day. Only a few hours every day or a few times a week is best. This is because infants under one year are still forming a parental-child bond. 

It might take juggling work schedules with your partner or relative to accommodate this need, but it is possible for most families. Since infants sleep for several hours every day, you may be able to work from home and still be productive.

It might seem inconvenient, but it’s something you won’t regret in future years.

Daycare Hours for Toddlers

Although toddlers (aged one to three years) might seem more independent, they need about the same amount of care and attention from their parents as infants do. 

Toddlers should be in daycare for only 20-25 hours per week. With the help of your partner, friends, and relatives, this is attainable for many families.

Daycare Hours for Pre-K and Kindergarten

Children four years and older have a greater capacity to be away from their parents. Children this age generally feel secure in their relationships with their parents. Their social skills and classroom friendships are stronger and usually allow them to not be anxious away from their parents.

Additionally, children of this age must eventually acclimate to the length of school days. So while you can take your time lengthening the hours your child is in daycare, it is appropriate to have your child in daycare for a full-time schedule.  

Is It Okay for My Child to Spend More Time in Daycare Than the Recommended Amount?

A variety of factors come into play when answering this question. 

  • Family’s needs: Some children will be in daycare for longer because the parents have to pay the bills. Parents in this situation need to give themselves grace and rest assured that there are still opportunities to bond with their children.
  • Child’s personality: Some children have a higher need for peer interaction with others. If your child is a social butterfly, they may do very well with a full-time daycare schedule, even at a young age. 
  • Sibling enrollment: Children who have siblings enrolled in the same daycare may feel more secure and therefore able to tolerate a full-time schedule better than a child without any siblings enrolled.

Full-Time vs. Part-Time at Crestwood Preschool Academy

The advantage to full-time enrollment is it is a much more structured routine for your child. They know exactly where they will be and what to expect. With part-time enrollment, your child may be confused about when or how long they will be at daycare and who will be dropping off or picking them up. This may be upsetting for some children.

On the other hand, children enrolled in daycare full-time may miss out on important parental or family bonding opportunities. Children enrolled part-time will have more time with parents, family, and close friends and may experience greater family stability.

We offer full and part-time schedules at Crestwood Preschool Academy so you can find the best fit for your child’s and family’s needs. If you opt for a part-time schedule, we can be flexible on drop-off and pick-up times. 

Crestwood Preschool Academy is proud to offer an outstanding educational and fun curriculum that prepares your child for kindergarten per state academic standards.

Contact Crestwood Preschool Academy today if you’re looking to give your child a head start in school!

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