Child care

Child care, otherwise known as day care, is the care and supervision of a child or multiple children at a time, whose ages range from two weeks to eighteen years. Child care is a broad topic that covers a wide spectrum of professionals, institutions, contexts, activities, and social and cultural conventions. Early child care is an equally important and often overlooked component of child development.[US 1]

A daycare in Nigeria

Care facilitated by similar-aged children covers a variety of developmental and psychological effects in both caregivers and charge. This is due to their mental development being in a particular case of not being able to progress as it should be at their age.[US 1] This care giving role may also be taken on by the child's extended family. Another form of childcare that is on the rise in contrast to familial caregiving is that of center-based child care. In lieu of familial care giving, these responsibilities may be given to paid caretakers, orphanages or foster homes to provide care, housing, and schooling.

Professional caregivers work within the context of a center-based care (including crèches, daycare, preschools and schools) or a home-based care (nannies or family daycare). The majority of child care institutions available require child care providers to have extensive training in first aid and be CPR certified. In addition, background checks, drug testing at all centers, and reference verification are normally a requirement. Child care can consist of advanced learning environments that include early childhood education or elementary education. "The objective of the program of daily activities should be to foster incremental developmental progress in a healthy and safe environment and should be flexible to capture the interests of the children and the individual abilities of the children."[US 1] In many cases the appropriate child care provider is a teacher or person with educational background in child development, which requires a more focused training aside from the common core skills typical of a child caregiver.

As well as these licensed options, parents may also choose to find their own caregiver or arrange childcare exchanges/swaps with another family.[1]