Will Attending Daycare Affect My Child in the Future?

One of the biggest worries a parent faces is whether their child will be affected in any way from attending daycare, either on a full-time or part-time basis. Putting your child into daycare is a big step, which some parents feel tremendous guilt over.

Will Attending Daycare Affect My Child?

The issue is a confusing one, as child development experts have disagreed on whether childcare can negatively effect a child’s well being. There have been many extensive research studies on this subject, with many conflicting outcomes. Other factors need to be taken into consideration when asking this question. Outside influences such as single-parent families and low-income families also play a role in a child’s future. Daycares aren’t the only places that influence behavior positively or negatively.

What Plays a Role in the effects Daycare Can Have?

Childcare Quality:
The quality of childcare can play a profound role in the effects it has on your child. The teacher to child ratio, group settings and caregiver education & training, can all impact the quality of care your child receives. The caregivers response, sensitivity and interaction with your child, will also play a role.

Hours in Childcare:
Although this issue is mixed, there seems to be evidence that the amount of hours you child spends in daycare could contribute to any long term effects in the future. Research shows that the more time children spend in a variety of non-maternal care arrangements, the more likely they are to have ‘acting-out’ problems (such as aggression and disobedience) and conflict with adults.

What Can The Affects Be?

A study conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, found that those who spend long hours in child care may experience more stress and are at increased risk of becoming overly aggressive (17 percent) and developing other behavior problems.

In the study, there seemed to be a direct relationship between the amount of time a child spent in childcare and that child’s negative behavior.

A second smaller study was conducted by the Institute of Child Development of the University of Minnesota. It dealt only with children in daycare and found that in kids younger than three, levels of cortisol (a hormone associated with stress) rose in the afternoon during full days they spent in daycare, but fell when they got home.

The kids whose cortisol levels increased were also children that were described by their caregivers, teachers and parents as being shyer and quieter. This may account for their stress levels being higher. Most don’t do well in group settings or outside of the home, making it a struggle in a daycare environment. But daycare can’t be blamed for the stress.

Overall, it is not fair to tie all problems children may have in the future to childcare. Kids, in general, will develop behavioral problems, ADD/ADHD or social anxiety for many reasons, such as brain abnormalities or predispositions. To blame daycare as the cause of these problems just isn’t justified.

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