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Healthy Mama

6 ways daycare is healthy for kids—and moms too

Good childcare is a must for any working mother, but if you’re worried about putting your child in daycare, take heed.  A well run, quality daycare program can give you the reliable childcare you need and also be good for your child’s health – and yours as well.

Read on for six health benefits of daycare.  

1. Less emotional problems

Kids in daycare whose mothers are depressed are less likely to have their own emotional problems, separation anxiety and social withdrawal symptoms than those who are with their moms or an individual caregiver, according to a recent study in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

2. An opportunity to grow

A quality daycare program can spell success in the future – especially places where the teachers know how to handle behavioral problems and where kids are given enough learning and socialization opportunities, stimulation, and affection. “If all those things are present, that bodes well for the children,” said Dr. Hayley Hirschmann, clinical psychologist with Morris Psychological Group, in Parsippany, N.J. Because kids are used to a schedule and routine, the transition will be easier when school starts, Hirschmann added.

3. Less colds later on

According to a study in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, children who were in large daycare groups before 2 and half years of age had more respiratory and ear infections but were sick less often during elementary school than children who were cared for at home.

4. A bigger brain

Studies show that children who are in daycare early on have higher intellectual abilities, especially because they have opportunities for observation, parallel play and socialization, according to Dr. Francine Lederer, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles, Calif.

5. Better behavior

One of the biggest benefits of daycare is socialization, because kids have to learn how to share, solve problems and be team players.  And at a well-run program with teachers who have a strong education background, kids learn to use their voices to solve conflicts, Lederer said.

6. Less stress for mom

Stay-at-home moms are more likely to be sad, angry and be diagnosed with depression than working moms, according to a Gallup poll. “A happy mama equals a happy baby,” Lederer said. For some moms, working isn’t an option, but if you think you will be a more calm, happy mom by returning to work, then daycare might be a good option.

Julie Revelant is a freelance writer and copywriter specializing in parenting, health, healthcare, nutrition, food and women's issues. She’s also a mom of two. Learn more about Julie at revelantwriting.com.