Child care has been a recent hot topic. From cost to workplace child care opportunities, slowly our society is understanding the impact the child care topic is impacting families. Child Care issues need to be addressed if we want to not only support families but the also growing needs of the workforce as a society.
The issue of providing resources for quality childcare and prekindergarten programs is gaining attention among policymakers. This is because recent research only continues to prove “time and time again how lack of access to such services hampers women’s ability to return to work or progress in careers.” (usnews.com)
Women are a valuable part of our workforce and when they cannot confidently place their children into care to work, this affects not only their employees for those that their employers serve. Child care is an issue that doesn’t only affect families. Lack of quality child care affects us all.
Children are affected too
While many understand that there are issues in general, many don’t talk about the impact those issues have on children. Above all, this should be our biggest concern. Here’s how these issues impact children.
Parents are Struggling
Today’s parents have many burdens. From lack of family time due to parents having to work long hours to difficulties finding quality child care that they can afford, this creates undue stress on parents that simply want to work and raise a family. Sadly, the American Child Care system is failing everyone. With the cost of infant care costing well over $900 a month on average, times are tough. (epi.org)
Additionally, parents work unconventional shifts to make ends meet but the industry does not reflect this change in our society. This creates additional burdens on families as they then have to rely on family and friends to make up the difference. For instance, if a mom works 7 am-7 pm and her son’s daycare closes at 6 pm then arrangements have to be made for someone else to pick up that child before the daycare closes.
All of this creates stress for parents and their children. It’s known that children pick up on the stress of their parents. Constant worry combined with hurried drop-offs and pickups makes for exhausted parents. This not only impact’s a child’s mental and physical health but the parents too. Exhausted parents will struggle as employees. Its a vicious circle.
Teachers are Impacted
Early childhood teachers are also feeling the pinch. Not recognized for the importance of their jobs, many leave the industry. Seen as “babysitters” these educators become easily frustrated due to lack of respect.
This is creating a shortage of qualified teachers. When schools can’t staff teachers they are presented with issues maintaining ratios and having a qualified group of teachers to choose from when filling openings. Without teachers, child care centers cannot operate.
When it comes to annual pay, preschool teachers often make minimum wage. In some cases, this prevents them from working only one job. Many work jobs after they leave the preschool or on the weekends. Early Childhood Education is a passion. Sadly, the passion for helping young learners often is the only driving force for these educators because teachers’ pay is low.
When educators are exhausted or can’t fully invest in those they serve, we see programs with high burnout levels, disengaged teachers and in some cases distracted teachers. This impacts a child’s education and at times their safety.
Providers Struggle with Promoting their Programs
When providers struggle to promote their programs, this creates an issue in focus. If programs can’t be filed, this means the laying off of staff, closure of schools and in some cases directors must then put themselves into the child care ratios to meet the bottom line. Whenever you remove the leader from her or his core duties, you see a decrease in the effectiveness and quality of the program.
Child care and Preschool providers must find ways to promote their schools, support staff and ensure a quality program is being delivered. All of these things impact children in care and children that could potentially enroll in the center.
What trends will we see for Child Care in 2020?
- School Directors will need to find new ways to help their programs stand out.
- Preschools and Daycares will need to find new ways to let parents know about openings and offerings.
- Preschools and Daycares will need to adjust to meet demands, in some cases to meet the needs of their local areas.
- Teachers will continue to struggle with respect for their profession and will need Center Directors and Early Childhood professionals to support them.
- Parents will be challenged to find affordable child care programs that meet unconventional schedules and programs with openings.
- Programs that subsidize costs will continue to grow, putting pressure on the States to support families more.