Janice Palmer Explores How Daycare Standards Have Improved Over the Last Decade
Although daycare has been around for a long time, it has gone through many significant changes over the last few years. In fact, saying that the past decade has been a revolutionary stage for it would not be far-fetched. Before getting into the details, however, you should get to know the basics of daycare and everything that goes into it.
Contrary to the popular belief, daycare is not only based on taking care of children whose parents may not have the time to do so during the day. The actual definition of the service classifies it as serving the needs of individuals who cannot take care of themselves, including children, those with disabilities, and the elderly. For this discussion, however, we will focus on child-based daycare that many working professionals resort to. So, how exactly does the modern-day daycare in 2019 differ from its counterpart from earlier years?
Families Are Investing in Quality
In 2009, which was one of the most challenging years in the 21st century given the enormous downturn in the economy, daycare spending was historically low. One of the many reasons why was the fact that millions of Americans lost their jobs and did not have the need nor the capital for daycare. Nowadays, however, the number of families that are investing in high-quality daycare once again is at an all-time high.
Consider, for instance, the fact that Washington, D.C., which is one of the most expensive regions in the nation, has anaverage daycare expenditure of $22,631 per year. Even some lower-end states like Mississippi carry a hefty price at approximately $4,800 per year. Note that such a wide range is also a byproduct of different average salaries for those states. After all, the median income in Washington, D.C. is nowhere near the median income in Mississippi. So, the difference between the number is not as enormous when one adjusts it for inflation and standards of living. Hence why it is fair to say that households spend a lot more for daycare in 2019 than they did a decade ago.
According to Janice Palmer, who currently works at the Little People Child Development Center, one of the most important changes is the sheer amount of innovation that has taken place in the area of child engagement. In the past, most parents who were leaving their children in daycare centers were merely focused on finding someone who can take care of their infants during their working hours. Today, that focus has shifted a little. While people still prioritize finding a reliable agency to take care of the child, they are now also interested in the exact type of activities that those individuals or organizations will offer.
For example, an increasing number of parents are choosing to go with daycare centers that offer stimulating learning environments where their children can develop. The Little People Child Development Center would be a solid example as they prioritize problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and emotional development at all ages. Thus, parents who leave their children will not only gain a competent nanny or instructor but a wide set of modern activities that stimulate the child’s cognitive function and social development as well.
Another extremely significant improvement in the daycare standards is the level of understanding that employers have. Besides the fact that parents get more maternity and paternity leave than ever before, there are now countless organizations that offer childcare programs that can help parents save money or build a daycare fund. For instance, the laws related to childcare benefits have gotten much stricter, thus, increasing the number of companies that had to sponsor or reimburse parents for at least a percentage of their pre-tax income allocated to daycare costs.
Janice Palmer also reminds that the technology that is now offered in daycare centers is incomparably better than anything that previous generations relied on. Some of the most obvious examples include state-of-the-art security systems, surveillance, business software, interactive SMART boards, and more. These tools ensure that parents do not have to worry about their child’s well-being while guaranteeing that the infant or toddler gets some exposure to contemporary assets. Besides, a lot of daycare centers utilize smart devices to keep their infants engaged with interactive games and learning.
More Attention to Each Child
Finally, while it is not a uniform improvement that is taking place in every part of the country, most states have moved towards an approach where every child is developed individually. They did so by reducing the number of children per daycare guardian, nanny, or instructor. Consequently, these professionals can now dedicate their focus to a limited number of children who they develop through constant activities and stimulating interactions. Unfortunately, the workforce shortage and lack of capital are making it impossible for some regions to achieve this. Nonetheless, the push toward such a business model has been quite dominant over the past ten years.
Based on the current trends, it is fair to say that most of these developments will only continue and the overall quality of daycare will constantly improve. The only situation that could put a halt to that progress would be another downturn in the economy. Luckily, the current job outlook and low unemployment rates do not indicate something like that taking place any time soon, and the most impressive innovation and upgrades in the field of daycare may actually be ahead of us.