The Importance of the “Oldest in Care.”

Over the last couple of months I really have thought about the importance of, the “Oldest child in care.” It has recently happened to me, I have had some shift in my group.  So, I wondered if Little Scholar was the best place for the this soon to be five-year old, when all the rest of my children are three and under.  Then I went “What are you thinking!” I truly believe that this is a product of a bunch of  propaganda that has been programmed into our brain, and into the brains of many parents.  It is to believe that by the time children are between four and five, that they need to be with children of their own age, which I could find no concrete research to support this thought. But, many times family child care providers sell themselves short and believe that if they have a child that is older than the rest of the group, that maybe they will need a more age appropriate place.  I say “Not!..”

photo from studio 3 music

Being the oldest in a group is a positive position that teaches a child a great deal.

  • nurturing skills: taking care of others, being kind and helpful this oldest position builds  life skills that all parents want their children to have.
  • leadership skills: depending on where the child falls in their own sibling order or if they have a sibling, this could be the only time the baby, middle child or an only get’s to be the oldest.  They finally get to facilitate play and branch out into areas of play that they may not have had an opportunity to explore before, it will promote creativity, and exploration.
  • builds confidence: by giving a little responsibility with simple things, setting the table, helping the little ones with coats and shoes, you are setting up the oldest to succeed.
  • hone problem solving skills: being the oldest, they finally get to practice all those skills with the young ones, how to share, use your words, and keeping things safe just to name a few. They get to practice and be the one that everyone looks to for the good example.
Being the “Oldest in Care”, is a selling point for a mixed age group.  If you have a parent that has some concerns, say with confidence that this child is not going to be bored, they are going to enjoy their time playing the role of the oldest. That the role of the “Oldest in Care” helps a child mature socially, emotionally and develops life skills.  So, have confidence that you are preparing that oldest child for success.

More Recommend Reading:

I am the Sheriff and you are going to be my Deputy!

Listening is a Skill.  Games that promote listening

What to do with a Picky Eater?

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