31 answers

Is Speech Development Faster for Kids in Day Care?

My first daughter was in full time day care and had/has great verbal skills (had many words and knew her animal sounds at 15 months. My 14 month old has only one word, I am not concerned yet since she understands everything but people around her say, "it's because you are home with her, she doesn't hear as many words." Does this actually have research behind it or just anecdotal evidence? I am curious if true or not, no big deal if it is true, I know she will catch up. Thanks!

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Every child develops at their own pace. My children did/do not go to daycare and my son spoke exceptionally well at a very young age. I try not to compare him to my daughter who has less words at her age than he did. I do believe there is some truth to having improved verbal skills when children are spoken to more though.

A bit late but just wanted to chime in with my experience - my oldest started talking at 10 months (a few words - not really conversational until age 2.5) and he didn't start daycare until 18 months old. My younger two were quite late - my second just had 10 words at his 2nd birthday and my youngest had about the same - neither became chatty until they were around age 3 - and they were both at daycare starting at 6 months. So, no, I don't see nor have I ever heard of a correlation between speech and childcare. All of mine are boys and they tend to talk later than girls and could communicate well and understand without words so I wasn't worried. There are days now when I wish they would just stop talking!

For some kids with a language delay, being around typical peers and copying their language and communication skills can be really helpful. This was the case for my son. As for my daughter, she didn't attend preschool but had no trouble learning to talk.

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I don't think so. I think that its because she has your undivided attention, you are able to predict her needs and perhaps meet them before she has to try and ask for them.


1 mom found this helpful

My son is 3 1/2. He has been home with me since he was born. He has never been to daycare. He has been speaking almost complete sentences since he was 15 months old. He never ever stops talking now.

I find it ridiculous for someone to say that just because you are home with her she doesn't hear as many words. Does this person think you don't talk to her, read to her??? What an odd statement. Ah....yet again the misconception that SAHM's do nothing but watch TV and do their nails.

All kids develop their speech differently at different times. I do not believe that kids who attend daycare have some type of advantage when it come to their speech development. I have friends who have had their young kids in daycare early on and if I were to compare all of our kids they are at all different levels.

Sometimes second children don't speak as quickly as the first child because the first child does all the talking for the second one.

You are right not to stress yet. It is early. If she understands what everyone is saying then that is great. She is still so young.


1 mom found this helpful

I don't think it is daycare vs. no daycare -- none of my kids (3 of them) have been in daycare (though they started at preschool at age 3 for 3 hours a day) and they are all hyperverbal. The one thing I can say is that my second child started talking a bit late because we were all talking for her. Once we realized that and deliberately stopped and gave her the space to talk, she started talking and hasn't stopped since :-) With my third, we were aware of this and therefore made sure it wasn't an issue. It's hard sometimes to get the older talkative siblings to stop and be quiet so that the little ones can talk.

I guess I don't quite understand why a parent would talk less with a child than a caregiver in daycare. My daughter never went to daycare, she is with me 24/7, at 14 months she knew many words, too many for me to count. Now at 23 months she speaks in full, long sentences. If anything, daycare should be more detrimental to the child's speech development because they do not get a lot of one on one time with an adult in a group setting. They learn 'language' from peers who can't talk. Just talk a lot with her, it isn't a big deal. I talk to my daughter non-stop, it just comes naturally. Instead of just saying 'yes' or 'no' I talk to her like an adult and she listens, nods, responds with words - even if they don't always make sense.

I haven't read your other responses yet, but don't agree. My son, who is almost 8, was diagnosed with a speech delay at 3. He was in daycare until he was 2. He has since caught up & is doing great in school. My daughter, who just turned 4, has been talking since birth-LOL. OK, not that long, but it sure feels like it. She has been talking complete sentences since around 2 or so and I've been a SAHM since before she was born. So, nope-I don't agree.

I think all kids are different. There can also be a difference with second children, one bc the first child translates and two, because the parents have more experience and anticipate more so the child doesn't need to make himself known. I spoke early and my younger sister much later.

I'm a SAHM. My DD was a late talker, around 19-20 months. But once she started, she excelled very quickly, sentences came right away and her vocabulary was really large for her age. She was just saving it all up for a big development burst. It's totally anecdotal, though. I have a friend whose son was in daycare and he was a VERY late talker, like almost 3. But once he started, that was it, he was totally on target once he got going. And in that case they were waiting for Early Intervention, but hadn't had services yet when he caught up, and his dad had also been a very late talker. So that was his normal.

Unless you aren't interacting with your kid and leaving her to watch Baby Einstein all day, she is getting all the language stimulation she needs. I have to believe that my daughter heard a lot more words than she would have in day care when the teachers were talking to a whole bunch of other same-age kids all day long. I talked with her all the time in adult language, we got out in the world where other people did the same, we read books, etc. She heard plenty! So unless they think you are just sitting there all day staring at each other, it seems like a baseless argument. :)

I'm not sure it has anything to do with not hearing words as it does with not having to use any words. They don't HAVE to talk, they don't have as many different situations in which to be forced to use them, and they don't have the repetition/participatory situations as they do in daycare or preschool where they have circle time or have music playing that they sing along with. Kids at home often have their needs anticipated by parents, and 2nd kids often have their needs anticipated better because parents are doing it with more experience and read their body language better. Be sure to put a variety of sounds in front of her - play CDs with music & words, do DVDs with finger plays or action sequences along with music, etc. A child will learn "animal sounds" faster by singing "Old McDonald had a farm" more quickly than with someone asking "What does the cow say?" - it's more fun, it's repetitive, it's musical and it helps them form sounds in a rhythm. Also read more, particularly books that encourage participation by the child. With familiar books, let the child finish the sentence for you, even if you ask, "How does the next part go?" or something like that.

I think the "it's because you are home with her" is a subtle jab at SAHMs - or maybe not-so-subtle. Not necessarily by the person who said it - they may have internalized it from other sources. For years, no one went to day care and we all learned to talk! So I think it's a bad think when working parents are pitted against stay-at-home parents.

Kids develop individually, and if they aren't working on their talking, they are developing in some other area. Your 2nd child may have motor skills (fine, gross) or other developmental advances ahead of your first one -- the talking is just what people notice. It's great that you are not worried about it! Mine didn't talk at all until 16 months, but he was ridiculously advanced in walking, running and many other areas. So, as you say, she will catch up!

I don't think there is any hard fast rules, but daycare does help. I think it is dependent on the child's development and personality. My 1st was and still is not a talker and even though he knew tons of words early on, he never said them and daycare brought out the social aspect of him and he began to say and talk the words he knew. The younger started babbling real early, we knew he would not shut up, lol. He is already learning words I didn't teach him and he is not in daycare, but just learning from older sibling, so you're right, he will learn in time!

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