Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Good, the Bad, and Other Effects Of Childcare

Results from a recent study of almost 15,000 children from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reveal both positive and negative effects of organized childcare and preschool, both immediate and long-term.

According to the study, day care has a positive effect on intellectual development. The children benefit from their exposure to mathematics, vocabulary, and memory skills, and those acquired skills persist at least into the third grade. Benefits were greatest among children from the poorest families.

However, children in day care lag behind children with stay-at-home moms when it comes to social development. Children with a lot of time in day care centers also have more problems with mother-child conflict and school conduct (Jacobson, 2005).

Yet, aggressive behavior, including conflict, that had been found in previous studies of young children who received full-time care outside the home turned out to be temporary, fading by the time the children reached the third grade. Another surprising result was a difference between the daycare and non-daycare groups, which doesn't show up for years. In the third grade it was found that children who spent the most time in day care had poor school work habits compared to their peers in stay-at-home or part-time day care.

In making the decision when and where to put a child in a childcare setting, parents must understand the potential impacts of childcare. By being informed of the pros and cons as well as short and long-term outcomes, parents can better prepare for their child's next important leap into kindergarten and elementary school

Source: Patricia Bartlett and Donna Davis, Family Album Radio, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.

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