How many hours can a child be in daycare: The complete guide!

How many hours can a child be in daycare

The answer to “How many hours can a child be in daycare?” is not as straightforward as you might think. The amount of time your child should stay at daycare depends on their age, the type of care they receive and other factors.



How much time your child spends in daycare will also depend on how old they are when it starts. This guide will detail these issues and help you decide how many hours your child should be spending at childcare each week!

How many hours can a child be in daycare?

Daycare helps parents work outside the home. However, in today’s world, some parents have to work 12-hour shifts, and depending on the commute, this may force them to leave their children in daycare up to 13-14 hours a day.

The more hours a parent works especially single parents or single families, the more the child stays in daycare.

On average, the AAP recommends that infants and toddlers aged 12-15 months should spend no more than two hours at a time in child care, while toddlers 16 to 24 months need three or four hours.

The AAP also recommends that children from age three to five should be in care for not more than 4 hours and those from six to 18 months should be in care for no more than 5 hours at a time.

How many hours can a daycare take?

The average number of weekly childcare hours is 29. This brings the average to about 5.8 hours a day during the workday.

Similarly, the number of hours that children spend in childcare varies by age. While infants or younger may need as many as 33 hours a week, older children may need as few as 12 hours.

How to calculate the number of daycare hours?

The typical calculation is the number of hours a day divided by the number of days in a week, which gives you an average.

There are 168 total hours in a week. If your child is in daycare for eight hours per weekday and four hours on Saturdays, the total number of weekly childcare hours would be 24 hours.

What is the 9-hour child care rule?

The childcare policy of 9 hours is an important one that parents should apply even after taking advantage of daycare time.

Similarly, the number of hours your child spends in daycare can affect their development and behavior. One study found that children who spend more than 40 hours a week in child care are more likely to act out at residence.

What is the daycare hour’s limit?

  1. My daycare told me that my child can’t stay more than 9 hours at any one time. They say there’s an extra charge for picking him up after 4:30 pm. However, the daycare opens until 6:00 p.m. Is this a typical rule?
  2. The location sets the daycare hour limits, so all daycares are different. Before signing up your child please find out if the rules match up and work for you.
  3. Similarly, how many days your child can go to daycare varies by state and may depend on the child’s age.

Hours of operation

Most providers have their own set of working hours. Similarly, if they are not in compliance with the rules and can be cited and fined. For this reason, my business hours are on all of my marketing materials and in the childcare contract. Moreover, the provider can impose a penalty that you have to pay when the designated hours expire.

Daycare provider typical work week

A typical provider’s 11-hour day amounts to a 55-hour workweek

A typical day of 11 hours (7 a.m. to 6 p.m.) equals 54 work hours. This figure stands at 202 hourly working hours vs the 160-hour typical worker in less than a month.

The policy of nine to nine-hour breaks can prevent clients from taking too many liberties about childcare. This policy helps clients get rid of the stress of taking off-duty days. And it’s important to recognize that all this time can result in rapid burnout if the worker does not get paid for it.

Providers need downtime from long hours

Providers need some downtime so they can face the next day without becoming overtired. Many providers begin the morning early and end the day despite the schedule. Providers often ask parents to change time or request information during business hours from 7 am – 6 pm Monday-Friday.

Daycare best practices

  1. The average daycare center is usually taking care of children from age 6 weeks to 12 years at one time. The younger children require a lot of care and support from the daycare staff, on the flip side, the older children need more playtime.
  2. Experts recommend that babies stay in the same room with their moms until they are at least 3 months old. This way they can learn to sleep at the same time as their mom and it also allows them to get familiar with sleeping in a new environment.
  3. A child’s first year of life should be exclusive with their parents, not in daycare. This rule applies to not just the mom but the husband, other daughter, siblings, family, or other close adult relatives. In addition, imagine the nanny being a part of the family.
  4. Babies under 8 months old should not be alone with an adult other than a parent. Similarly, a child under 12 months of age should never be alone with another child.
  5. A baby’s caregiver must always have more than one crib available when caring for more than one infant at a time.
  6. Daycares often provide educational activities and socialization opportunities for children of different ages.

Typical daycare costs for a 10 hours’ workday

The typical cost for daycare is about $100 a day. That is $75 a day for full-time and $25 a day for part-time. When it comes down to what hours per day are acceptable in daycare centers, this varies from state to state. Some states have more strict laws than others, so it is best to check with your local laws before enrolling them in a daycare center.

State rules on daycare hours

It may only be allowed for children under two years old or between the ages of three and five. It is best to check with the state before enrolling them; however, it varies from child to child so there may be some exceptions depending on their age or if they qualify for special circumstances.

Most daycares also have set rules about how many hours a child can attend in one week as well. These are typically based on the number of hours worked for that particular daycare.

How many hours can a child be in daycare? FAQs

How do you know when a child has been in daycare for too long? 

The daycare provider should always consider the age of their child and how many hours they can stay in childcare. Similarly, each state has its own rules on how many hours per week for each age group.

What are your thoughts on leaving children in daycare for longer? 

We believe that a child should not be in daycare for more than ten hours a day. Moreover, studies show that kids left in daycare for long periods have more behavioral problems.

How do you feel about the government-mandated classroom hours for kids in daycare centers?

Many people believe that it is too early for children to spend so much time in daycare. Most teachers are not even certified yet, and it is not even part of their curriculum.

How long do you think the average daycare session is?

The average child care session is about five to six hours. It all differs on the age of the child and what activities they are participating in.

What’s your opinion on kids spending such a large chunk of their childhood in daycare? 

Many studies suggest children who spend too much time in daycare centers have a harder time making lasting friendships.

We recommend children less than two years old be in daycare for about seven hours a day. In addition, older kids should not be in daycare centers for longer than ten hours at a time.


Your child’s daycare hours are usually by their age, whether they attend full-time or part-time, and if you have any special needs.

We hope this guide has help out you better understand how many hours your child can be in daycare per week before it becomes too much for them to handle! If there is anything else we left out of our blog post that you want more information on, please let us know at the bottom of this page. For now, though, happy parenting!

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