Whether to send your child to daycare or stay home with them at least until they reach school age is a dilemma that many parents face every day, at least for those who can afford a daycare option.
Mothers have been shamed for years for leaving their children in the care of loving daycare workers so they can return to work to help contribute to their family income as well as further their own careers. But a new study is now proving that not only is putting your child in daycare helpful in that it allows both parents to return to the workforce, but it also may help make your child better behaved.
In the study titled Early Childcare Type Predicts Children’s Emotional and Behavioral Trajectories Into Middle Childhood, researchers looked at 1428 French children from the time they were born until they were 8 years old. The researchers chose to use France as a focus of their study since the level of childcare is high and children begin preschool at the age of 3.
The study documented the emotional and behavioral actions of the children and compared those who attended a formal daycare or child care setting versus those who were in an informal setting, like those home with a parent, family member or nanny.
What may not be surprising to many is that the children who attended daycare or childcare had fewer behavioral problems, were better in peer to peer relationships, and were more social than the children who stayed home with a parent or caregiver. We know that exposing children to settings where they are interacting with other children daily can definitely be beneficial. It allows children to learn how to share and play and interact with peers daily, while many children who are home with a caregiver may not be exposed to as many children as often.
The study also showed that girls from higher income families benefited the most from being in a day care or child care setting,"particularly in terms of peer relations, emotional symptoms and prosocial behaviors."
"Access to high-quality childcare in the first years of life may improve children’s emotional and cognitive development, prevent later emotional difficulties and promote prosocial behaviors,” Dr. Maria Melchior, one of the authors of the study explained.
While high quality childcare has been proven to help children as they develop, for many the issue is the ability to afford that childcare. However if you're a new mom and on the fence about whether daycare is right for your child, studies like this can put your mind at ease.