Daycare no different to home care - study
Thu, 26 Jul 2012 6:12p.m.
By Ingrid Hipkiss
New research out of Australia will come as a relief to parents who put their babies in childcare.
The university study shows there's no difference in development between toddlers who've stayed at home with a parent, and those who've been cared for by others.
New Zealander Rebecca Millington's boys were in day care from the age of nine months, and she's philosophical about the new study.
“In a way it’s vindicated, but there are so many studies they say so many things you've just got to do what's right for you anyway and what's right for the family.”
Researcher Linda Harrison from Charles Sturt University studied 5000 toddlers, comparing those who'd been cared for exclusively by parents with those who'd attended daycare or had a nanny or grandparent looking after them in their first year of life.
“I looked at a range of different predictors of how they were doing and found that despite all of those, the childcare arrangement in their first year didn't make any difference at all to those outcomes.”
The study looked at nine areas of social and emotional development - including how the children got on with others, the level of problem behaviours, and how much they appeared to enjoy themselves.
The only difference they picked up is that boys who had had a mix of centre-based and home-based care tended to have more conflicts with childcare workers.
Theresa Dodd of New Zealand’s Early Childhood Council says it is about the quality of care.
“I think if good parents choose to stay home with their children they'll have positive outcomes, and if good parents choose childcare they'll have positive outcomes. The important thing is that in New Zealand we need to learn to support parental choice.”
Ms Millington says it is always a tough choice.
“I think mums feel guilty no matter what you do.”
And no study is going to erase that feeling.
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28/07/2012 11:23:03 p.m.
No Mum could cover as much learning as a daycare, and it definitely would be a good thing also to be Govt subsidised for Mums with post natal depression or simply not coping at home.
26/07/2012 9:31:41 p.m.
That is it we need to force single parents of 1 year olds into work while they leave their toddlers daycare.
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