Parents Are Sending Their Small Children to School Early: Here’s Why

children in school

A kids’ care franchise is becoming a lucrative business the past years, and that’s understandable. The market is growing as well. In a 2011 Child Trends data, only 5% of children between 5 and 8 years old were left in their mother’s care. Only 10% were supervised by non-relatives. More than 13% of them were already receiving center-based care while 18% were involved in enrichment activities. The question is why. There are at least two factors: higher workforce participation and the benefits of early childhood education.

When Parents Are at Work

In the olden days, the line that separated the responsibilities between moms and dads was clear. Fathers looked for income while the mothers stayed at home to raise the children. Today, more families are already dual income.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that in 2018, about 63% of married couples with children below 18 years old had both parents at work. The labor force participation rate for women with under-aged children was 71.5% in the same year. Non-married mothers such as those divorced were more likely to work than their married counterparts. Still, 69% of the latter group were part of the workforce. About 65% of employed mothers had children below 6 years old. The unemployment rate for moms with kids under 3 was only 2.6%.

Child care isn’t cheap. It can cost families at least a thousand a month. Housing, meanwhile, can reach over $10,000, according to Value Penguin. But it’s not the only reason why parents, especially women, prefer to work. The 2014 Working Mother Media report revealed that millennial parents believe that both couples should contribute to household income and share with the expenses. Women also thought that working sets a good example to their children.

An earlier report cited how mothers would like to have full-time work before their children reached school age. About 75% said they’d want to do it once they already have school-aged children.

The Value of Education

children in school

Work explains a lot why more young children end up in child care facilities, but on the other hand, parents just want the best foundation for their babies. With them at work for about 9 hours a day, their children spend a good amount of time in these child care centers. They might as well ensure they are learning and growing.

True enough, children who had some form of education before they reached preschool performed better than their peers with no early childhood education in spelling, vocabulary, and math.

The Carolina Abecedarian Project, meanwhile, established a connection between early childhood education and higher cognitive test scores, increased likelihood of entering college, and more years of education. They are also less likely to have a child at an early age.

It also has economic benefits. The return on investment of early childhood is between 7% and 10%. It’s because parents may end up spending less on remedial education and these kids have a higher chance of landing better work in the future. The difference in salary between those who have early childhood and those who don’t can be as much as $2,000 a month.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway on the popularity of early childhood education is this: Parents work not only because they want higher income. They do so for their self-fulfillment and to ensure that their kids have the best learning foundation as early as possible.