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 many people think that it's too early..


3 Answers 3


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.

  • I agree with your answer. For my family, I wound up not liking the preschool and wound up doing about 2 hours a day at our local community center. My daughter loved picking classes out of the program guide, just like college to a 4 yo. But this assumes one can afford a stay-at-home parent.
    – Stu W
    Sep 26, 2016 at 0:58

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.


As pointed out in the other answers, there are many opinions and many factors to consider.

We put our daughter into daycare when she was three years old, and for her earlier would probably have been better, to get more play time with other children.

My personal impression is that children under one year probably do not get all that much benefit from daycare, though it probably does not hurt either. Between one and two, other children start getting interesting, so daycare starts having a benefit for the child, even if the parents have time for home care. And from two or three onwards, most children really need regular time with other children, and benefit from the (relative) independence and interaction with others they experience at daycare, so daycare is advisable.

With our daughter, when she was two to two and a half year old, she started asking why there were no other children in the playground, or why another child had to leave - that made it clear that she needed company.

So my recommendation would be:

  • up to one year: daycare only if required for practical reasons (such as working parents)
  • up to two years: depending on development of the child
  • older than two or three: definitely, for the social aspect alone

Note that in my opinion even children with lots of playground friends or older siblings profit from daycare, because of the other aspects, such as: learning to interact with adults other than the parents, learning different rules, having to get along with children they may not like so much... and just generally getting a perspective on things different from what the parents provide.

Note: This is about daycare in Germany, which is focused on playing and exploring, not on teaching/learning. In some countries, daycare has more of a pre-school aspect (e.g. "kindergarten" in the USA) - that's a different kettle of fish which I cannot speak to.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .