Everyone always looks at your child and states, “They grow up so fast.” They’re right. One day you’re watching them sleep in their nursery and the next you are trying to determine if they need to start daycare. However, it is important to make sure your child is ready before enrolling them in childcare. 

What Age Should a Child Start Daycare?

Research shows children respond better to starting daycare if they are at least 12-months-old. It is important to note each child and situation is different. Some children may need to wait until they can better handle the stress. Other times, it may be necessary to enroll your child in daycare so both parents can work. 

Half Vs. Full Days

Experts recommend children under three-years-old only attend daycare half a day to minimize stress. Half days allow your child to experience a new environment and interact with other children their age without overwhelming them. If possible, enroll your child in half-day childcare until you feel they are ready to transition to full-day enrollment. 

Determine Your Child’s Stress Level

Every child will respond differently to change. Parents are often the best judges of a child’s stress and demeanor. Easygoing and calm children will often make a smooth transition into daycare. If a child gets anxious easily, they will likely experience separation anxiety from their parents. Consider enrolling your child in half-day enrollment a few days a week to monitor their stress levels before starting daycare full-time. 

The Bottom Line

When your child is ready, daycare offers many benefits including new stimulation, socialization and preparedness. Check out our article on the benefits of childcare here.


The Kangaroo Forest offers childcare for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years. When you and your child are ready to start daycare, our staff will help make the transition as smooth as possible.