Daycare peers: An often overlooked component when choosing a home daycare

A young child is heavily influenced by the people they interact with on a daily basis.  Their caregiver is an important role model in their life.  The other children in their daycare group also act as role models for your child.  It is a good idea to ask a caregiver you are interviewing what other children are in her care.  What are their ages and their genders?  What personality types are within the group.  What types of activities do they currently enjoy?
You can then decide if this peer group would be a benefital match for your child’s personality type and interests.

The daycare peer group’s influence is often overlooked when searching for the best home daycare.  Parents don’t realize how much of an impact other children will have on your child’s developing personality.  A child’s view of the world and their sense of self develops from birth to about age seven.  Therefore, even though your child is young, the peer group does have a profound affect on their development.

Children will closely watch older children in the group.  Older children are in a more advance play phase and therefore they will use toys in different ways that will seem novel to a younger child.  The younger child is constantly observing the unspoken behaviour of the people around them.  They will try out new ways of intercting, behaving, playing, speaking, and responding to others by the models in their peer group.

I would suggest asking the caregiver you are interested in interviewing if you could also meet the other children in her care.  Think about the social needs of your own child.  Are they the type of child who is keenly interested in other kids?  Are they socially driven?  Do they actively seek out social contact when at the park or out in the community?  If so, the peer group will have a stronger influence on your child because of the interest level of your child.

Some children are more inwardly focused.  They march to their own drummer and hold their own strong views.  These personality types will still be influenced by other children but not as much.  Most children whether they are inwardly or outwardly focused still enjoy being in the company of other children.  They recognize, even at an extremely young age, that other children are similar to themselves.  They delight in watching other children play and move around.

If your child watches another child do something that they categorize as amusing.  You can be certain the behaviour will be repeated at home again and again by your child.  Many social behaviours and ways of positively dealing with stress and frustration can be inadvertainly taught by a kind hearted peer.  I have seen ‘positive peer pressure’ work its magic to open up a picky eater to new foods, instill a sense of bravery in the most reluctant child, and encourage cooperation in a child.

Remember, when you interview your potential home child care provider make sure to ‘interview’ the other children in her care as well.  They might be the people who influence your child to try new things, develop their imagination and discover their inner strenghts.


  1. Leviticus Bennett says

    I think you made a really good point about identifying the personalities of the other peers at a daycare. I think most people get so focused on finding a good caregiver that it is overlooked. This summer I’ll be taking care of my niece, but there are a couple days during the week when I’ll need to find a daycare for her. Thanks for helping me choose the best daycare for her.