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Quality Child Care Is Important for Healthy Development

Too Small to Fail
By Too Small to Fail

For working parents, child care is a critically important factor in their ability to earn a living for their families. The economic reality of our country is that most families today consist of working parents – either a single parent doing it on her own, or two working parents trying to juggle work schedules with caring for their children. For unemployed parents, affordable child care can provide them with the time to attend school, go to doctor’s visits, look for work or just get a much-needed break.

But even as child care has become increasingly important in American economy and society, quality and affordable options are severely limited. Approximately half of American families that use child care turn to centers or schools, but this number varies depending on family income level, with many low-income families relying on a mix of care from grandparents, neighbors and unlicensed facilities. As communities work to provide affordable, quality child care options like Head Start programs, there are ways that parents can ensure that even low-cost options benefit their children.

Researchers have found that the quality of child care is important to the cognitive, language and social development of young children, with consistent and emotionally supportive care being hugely beneficial to children and families. Choosing quality care is important for babies and toddlers, who need nurturing, safe environments in order to thrive. Parents can ensure that their children are in high-quality childcare by looking for caregivers who are loving and responsive to children’s needs, provide a stimulating environment, and engage with children by talking and playing with them frequently.


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