Plato, according to Elaine Hoffman Baruch, around 394 B.C., argued that a system of child care would free women to participate in society.[46] Among the early English authors to devote a book to child care in the modern sense was Elizabeth Dawbarn (The Rights of Infants, or... Nursing of Infants, 1805).[47] Day care, daycare,[48][49] child day care, or childcare is the care of a child during the day by a person other than the child's legal guardians, typically performed by someone outside the child's immediate family. Day care is typically an ongoing service during specific periods, such as the parents' time at work.

The quality of the center based child care can be very influential on the child and on their overall development. Recent study showed that children in low end classrooms saw the activities as forced while the children in high end classrooms had more memorable experiences.[12] Even though this being the case between high and low end classrooms, other aspects such as the child's background and living situation can play an important role in their development.[13] Active children may thrive in the educational activities provided by a quality commercial care center, but according to the National Center for Early Development and Learning, children from low quality centers may be significantly less advanced in terms of vocabulary and reading skills.[14] Classes are usually largest in this type of care, ratios of children to adult caregivers will vary according to state licensing requirements. Some positive aspects of commercial care are that children may gain a sense of independence, academic achievement, and socialization.[15] Not only is this age crucial for the improvement of their social skills, but also it begins the stages of understanding a classroom setting. Childcare is seen as a reasonable option because it is different than parenting, since it can be seen as more of a routine for the child.[11] This in turn will only have a negative impact on the child if the parent is not their for the emotional needs of the child.[11] Children are placed into centers of socialization and learn many similarities and differences from one another from a very young age.[11] Children are also placed into settings to develop their linguistics and cognitive abilities, which can be measured through observations.[16] Not only is this age crucial for the improvement of their social skills, but also it begins the stages of understanding a classroom setting. These early ages of the child's life are crucial or it would otherwise have a negative impact on their future paths.[12]

The vast majority of childcare is still performed by the parents, in-house nanny or through informal arrangements with relatives, neighbors or friends. For example, in Canada, among two parent families with at least one working parent, 62% of parents handle the childcare themselves, 32% have other in-home care (nannies, relatives, neighbours or friends) and only 6.5% use a formal day care center.[64]
More contemporary proposals for government advancement of day care in the United States have experienced a checkered path, for example, in 1971, the Comprehensive Child Development Act was passed by Congress, but was vetoed by Richard Nixon. It "would have created nationally funded child care centers providing early childhood services and after-school care, as well as nutrition, counseling, and even medical and dental care. The centers would charge parents on a sliding scale."[63] Various proposals have been considered, but to date, none leading to legislation that would establish a national policy supporting day care in the United States.

Childcare varies dramatically across cultures. These discrepancies are attributed to the homestead and household environments. That is, the type of work performed by adult caretakers in a given community strongly influence the type of childcare used. In agricultural/ horticultural societies where work is done to provide sustenance for the community, siblings and similar-aged children are responsible for younger children.[2] While many global communities prefer children aged 7–10 for designated caregiving responsibilities, children no younger than 12 are preferred in the Western world where paid childcare is common.[23]

There are many types of child care programs in New York State. Quality programs provide care in a warm, safe and friendly setting. Quality programs provide ctivities that help children learn and develop. No one type of program is necessarily better that any other type of program. You are the best judge of which program will meet your needs and your child's needs. More information on the types of child care programs available can be found in the Parent's Guide to Child Care Options.

Legislation may mandate staffing ratios (for example, 6 weeks to 12 months, 1:4; 12 months to 18 months, 1:5; 18 months to 24 months, 1:9; etc.). The caregiver-to-child ratio is one factor indicative of quality of care. Ratios vary greatly by location and by daycare center. Potential consequences of a caregiver:child ratio which is too high could be very serious[citation needed]. However, many states allow a higher numbers of toddlers to caregivers and some centers do not comply consistently. For example, within the US: Pennsylvania, ages 1–3, 1 teacher to 5 children;[69] Missouri: age 2, 1 teacher to 8 children;[70] North Carolina: 1 teacher to 10 children.[68]
I have been a nanny for the same family for just under 6 years. I have been taking care of the 3 children since they were 6, 4, and 6 weeks old. Now the youngest just started kindergarten full time and I am no longer needed full time. I am still very close to the family and help out whenever I get the opportunity. But now I am looking to find a family who I can fit into and be a big help. A few of my best qualities are, patience, fun, kind, and I am very creative. I am all about following the parents' set schedule for a child and doing whatever is necessary to do my job to the fullest. I am a very hard worker and will do my best at all times. I am also very reliable so I will be there for you whenever you need me. I also have some experience as an assistant preschool teacher so I know how to be helpful with early childhood learning play. Thank you for your time I look forward to hearing from you
Some companies have improved their child-care policies. Earlier this month, Starbucks SBUX, +2.77%  said it would offer 10 subsidized back-up child care days annually to workers, meant to help staffers who find themselves in a jam when care arrangements fall apart. The company is teaming up with so that workers can pay a dollar an hour for backup care, or $5 for a day’s stay at in-center child care.