How Many Days of Daycare is Best? 5 Essential Thoughts

Many parents expecting to send their children to childcare grapple with a very important question:  Full-Time or Part-Time?  Or, to put it another way, How many Days of Daycare is Best?  It’s an important question with a myriad of factors to consider.

Most Daycares prefer for their children to come Full-Time, that is to say, during business hours on Monday-Friday.  It is less of a scheduling issue for them, and it’s more of a routine for both the teachers and the child.  However, many daycares do offer Part-Time availability, and your child, or your own schedule, might not necessitate the added expense and hours away that Full-Time daycare attendance requires.

Let’s take a dive into childcare development and 5 expert recommendations, and at the end you’ll be able to make a more informed decision on this important topic!

1. The Balancing Act: Quality Time vs. Social Interaction

Children have a variety of important needs.  On one hand, they need to socialize with other children in order to develop vital social skills and shared behavior patterns.  Daycare is amazing for this, because they’ll spend all day surrounded by friends their own age!  However, it’s essential to balance this socialization with quality time spent at home and with parents.  The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) suggests that while structured group settings offer unique learning experiences, home environments nurture a child’s emotional and psychological development.  So when you make your decision as to how many days of daycare is best, consider that any time not spent at daycare, ideally needs to be spent at home with parental quality time.

2. Benefits of Regular Daycare Attendance

A consistent schedule is all-important for children’s development.  Mealtimes and naps at the same time every day, bedtime at the same time, and similar activities at similar times a day.  A study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies found that children attending daycare on a regular basis exhibit better social skills and adaptability.  Again, Daycare excels at this, because all the important milestones at a childcare center take place at the same time every day.  The child intrinsically knows that they get dropped off at the same time, and then there’s story time, meal time, nap time, and play time at the same times a day.  At home, this consistency can be achieved as well, but parents have to be intentional about it.  Too often at home, children are allowed to tend to their own devices, napping whenever they want, and doing whatever activities they want.  Taken too far, this can be damaging for their little developing brains.  If you think this is a weakness of your parenting style, then consider more hours at Daycare to lock in a consistent schedule.  

3. Part-time vs. Full-time: The Middle Ground

Many childcare experts believe that incorporating daycare 2-3 days a week, might be the perfect “goldilocks zone” for most families. This frequency allows children to reap the benefits of daycare, such as improved social skills and early education, while ensuring they aren’t spending most waking moments away from home.  However, your daycare may only be offering fulltime slots.  Contact Us at Penguin Crossing Academy to check our current availability.

4. Individual Needs: Every Child is Different

Children are all unique creations.  Some are extroverted and always want to be where the people and the action is!  Some are introverted, preferring to play alone and getting sensory overload easily.  Some are a mix of both!  As the parent, you have to factor in your child’s unique personality and needs into how many hours they spend away from home.  Daycare can typically be thought of as an “extroverted” setting.  There is limited alone time, and the child is expected to be participating through most of the day.  If your child is introverted, they may get worn out by the constant hustle and bustle of childcare, and may not do well in a fulltime setting.  On the other hand, some children thrive in a full-time, five-day daycare setting.  Being around other people recharges their energy instead of depleting it!  Know your child’s needs when you consider this important decision!

5. Parental Factors and Considerations

Of course, most parents are considering daycare primarily because they work.  So your child’s needs notwithstanding, the question of whether to attend Full-Time or Part-Time may be quickly settled by the needs of your career and your job.  If you can work from home, or get off work, several days a week, that flexibility allows you to consider dropping your child to Part-Time.  But not all jobs are this way.  If your job requires your fulltime attention and attendance, then your child must also go to daycare full-time because they have nowhere else to go.  A very easily settled question.  But in today’s environment of increasing work-from-home and four-day-workweek benefits, rising numbers of people do have the ability to make a choice between full and part time.


Deciding the best number of days to offer childcare for your little one, involves a multi-faceted balance between a child’s developmental needs, parental commitments, and the unique benefits that both home and daycare environments offer. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer.  And the decision should be yours and yours alone to make.  But hopefully this curated selection of expert advice and common-sense observation, will help light your way on the journey towards making this crucially important decision!

Penguin Crossing Academy is a leading childcare center and preschool proudly serving the Lewis Center area in Columbus, Ohio since 2006.  We are committed to providing the best quality childcare service, and holding fast to our commitment to offer a safe and loving environment.  We have tenured, credentialed teachers that are passionate about early childhood education including some that have been with us 5+ years.  We offer a phenomenal curriculum, supplemented with rich extracurricular activities, that make bringing your child(ren) to school easy and fun!  Our location is bright, clean and state-of-the-art, with large outdoor playground.  Schedule a Tour today, we would love to have your child be the newest member of our family!  


  1. National Association for the Education of Young Children – Balancing Family and Work
  2. Journal of Child and Family Studies – Benefits of Regular Daycare Attendance