5 questions about childcare and attachment

5 questions about childcare and attachment
Right from birth, your baby began forming a strong bond with you. Will putting him into daycare affect this bond?

Right from birth, your baby began forming a strong bond with you. Will putting him into daycare affect this bond?

1. Does daycare impact the parent/child relationship?

“The best predictor of whether or not your bond is solid is, without a doubt, the quality of interaction between you and your child,” explains George Tarabulsy, a developmental psychology professor at Université Laval. “A quality daycare will therefore have very little impact on the bond between you and your child.”

“If the child is regularly exposed to an educator, a connection may be created,” explains the psychology professor. “The attachment your child has with the educator will help him manage his emotions and it lets him know who he can turn to at daycare.

“However,” he adds, “the bond that remains the strongest is the one with his parents.”

2. When to start daycare?

The parent/child bond is formed in the first months of life. Parents must therefore spend a lot of time with their child during this critical period. It’s also important to remember that starting daycare is a huge transition for any child.

It’s difficult to determine the best age to start daycare. For Tarabulsy, the transition is generally smooth if the child has developed a strong bond with his parents at home. This factor is more important than the child’s age. When the bond that was created at home is weaker, the child may experience more difficulty transitioning into childcare.

3. How to make the transition easier for your little one?

The best thing to do is accompany your child through this new stage of life. For example, many daycares allow parents to stay on site for a few hours during their child’s first days at the daycare, as the child integrates into the group. In the case of an infant, you can place him into the educator’s arms yourself and then stay nearby to reassure him. If you have any concerns, however, you should try not to pass them on to your child.

4. How can daycares help children adapt?

One of the elements that greatly helps a child adapt to his new environment is the stability of the staff. “Educators, for their parts, must react to the children as any good parent would,” believes Tarabulsy. “They must be sensitive to children’s needs and know how to respond to their requests in a predictable, consistent and nurturing manner.” Krystell, mother to 2-and-a-half-year-old Claire and 11-month-old Lucie says that: “What’s important to me is that my daughters feel good and feel loved.”

5. Early childhood centre (CPE) or family daycare?

For a child, the most important thing is the quality of the care he receives from the adult. If your child’s educator and the daycare’s management are attentive, there’s no difference between a CPE and a family daycare. “The important thing is to check the number of children per educator, and to observe the educator’s ability to respond to children’s signals,” underlines Tarabulsy.

Quality of childcare services
Children get the most benefits from a high quality childcare service. A quality daycare service encourages children to build good relationships with others, helps them develop their skills and awakens their thirst for learning. To fulfill these requirements, experts recommend daycares reduce staff turnover, standardize educator training, and use an educational program.
Here are some criteria to look at to help you assess the quality of a daycare:
  • the number of children attending the daycare (less than 60 children)
  • safety of the premises
  • the educator-to-child ratio: One educator per five children under 18 months old; one educator per eight children under 4 years old. For children aged 4, the ratio is often 10 children per group. In family daycares, the standard is 1 educator per 6 children (maximum of 2 infants) or 2 educators per 9 children (maximum of 4 infants)
  • educators who are educated and trained in early childhood education
  • educators who are aware of children’s needs
  • stability of staff and activities
  • an educational program
  • a variety of activities
  • organized outdoor activities
  • meals that are high in fruits and vegetables and low in sweets.