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If you had a choice to stay with your single baby at home as long as you want to, would you still send him to a daycare to communicate with other babies? What age is recommended for starting a daycare, partial time / full time?

I would put a baby in daycare at 12 months. But I many people think that it's too early..

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2 Answers 2

That's a big question with a lot of opinions . . . the current push for "High Quality Preschool" vs. homeschooling and everything in between.

My wife and I both have multiple degrees in different fields, but we didn't feel qualified to teach our kids everything they need to know. I feel the same about anyone who home schools. I wouldn't push that decision on you, do what you think best for your kids, but that's where I come from.

That said, I think a kid who will be attending a traditional elementary school would be at a disadvantage compared to a kid who went to preschool. It's not any academic skills I'd worry about, it's the social aspects . . . taking turns, sharing supplies, cleaning up after yourself, going to the bathroom at the right time. All those skills that make the academic life in a classroom smother.

I wouldn't worry about daycare (unless you need it to work) until they're preschool age, but a year of half-day preschool is a definite plus.

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We put our first in at 8 weeks and our second in at 6 weeks (in a preschool-quality daycare). For our first, I think he would've been better off at home - and 2 years later, he's going to get that (my wife is staying at home with them now). He'll go to part-day preschool in a year or two, but mostly will be with mommy. He's very independent, and even in a large daycare didn't really do much with the other kids - he played wherever he wanted, and the other kids either joined or didn't, but he didn't care much.

Our second, about a year old when we took him out of daycare, probably would've been better staying. He is much more social, and even at 8-10 months was playing with other kids more than his older brother was at the same time. He certainly did fine at 6 weeks old and still has a strong bond with his parents.

I suspect in the end it doesn't make a big difference; a good daycare versus a well-organized parent will provide different experiences and different benefits, and one might be better for a particular child, but you can't really go wrong overall as long as you have a good situation with attentive caregivers, and aren't just putting the kids in front of the television.

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