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How Does Daycare Affect Children's Development and Attachment to Their Mothers

Updated on September 9, 2013

More and more women today are working outside of the home. Mothers with children age 1 and under are employed, and the number is increasing. In view on infant attachment and the benefits of a stimulating environment during the early years, it is important to consider how this trend will affect future generations.

Working parents provide a variety of arrangements for their children's care.The majority leave their preschoolers at home to be cared for by a sitter or relative while they work. Some leave their young ones at someone else's home (to be cared for alone or with other children) or at day care centers. The effects of maternal employment on the child's development depend, to a large extent on the quality of the substitute care.

How Does Daycare Affect on Children's Development and Attachment to Their Mothers

Critics of day-care have voiced concern that the repeated separation of mother and child that are part of day-care could seriously interfere with the security of young children's attachment to their mothers. Most of the studies on this issue have compared the responses of home-reared children and day-care-reared children under the age of 2. Some of these studies found no significant difference in attachment behavior between the two groups of children; day-care children were as likely to become distressed as home-reared children when confronting a stranger or being separated from their mothers. These children preferred their mothers than the day-care teachers as source of comfort.

Other studies reported that day-care toddlers did not stay as close to their mothers when playing as did the home-reared children. This finding indicates that day-care children become more independent as part of their adaptation to daily separation. Others believe that this behavior reflects an underlying doubt about the availability of the mother to meet the toddler's needs and thus, an insecure attachment.

The most clear-cut influence of day-care appears to be in the area of social development. Compared to home-reared children, those who attend day care centers have been described as more self-sufficient, more cooperative with peers, and more comfortable in new situations. They are also less polite, less compliant with adults, and more aggressive. These results may depend on child-rearing attitudes of the parents and the teachers.

Experiences during the preschool years form the basis for later development, children who spend most of their waking hours under conditions that are not very stimulating lose a great deal. In view of the fact that the number of mothers of young children who are employed is steadily increasing, the provision of quality, affordable child care is an important issue.

The age of the child is important when deciding between individual care and group care for children of working mothers. Most experts recommend individual care in a home for the younger children (up to age 2 or 3) and group care for older preschool children. Infants and toddlers need the consistent care of one person (turnover of personnel is frequent in most day care centers). Older children can benefit from the intellectual stimulation and peer interaction provided by a good day-care center. In fact, 3- and 4- year-olds attending day care centers show better social and intellectual development than do their age-mates cared for at home by sitters.

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  • EasyReading profile image


    7 years ago from Florida

    Goodness where to start...yes my children attended daycare 16 years ago and what a horrible experience. For a while they were attached to my ribs until they felt safe again. Love your Hub! Great piece to educate many others. I am happy for the children who were ok and enjoyed it. Your hub is very educational...lets share share share! Loving it..thank you. Vote up! Lucy-EasyReading

  • beth811 profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

    crystolite - Your comment, voting up and bookmarking are very much appreciated. Thank you so much.

  • beth811 profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

    mojefballa - And I'm pleased too with your comment here. It really is - anything that we think has advantage, there is a counter disadvantage.

    Thanks for dropping by.

  • crystolite profile image


    7 years ago from Houston TX

    Useful and well researched work you actually did in here.Thanks for sharing this great secrets.Voted up and properly bookmarked.

  • mojefballa profile image

    Ikeji Chinweuba 

    7 years ago from Nigeria

    Great idea.I love this stuff.Actually,I've also wondered the effects of Daycare on child's development but has not thought of it in this dimension you spoke about it,i was only looking at the positive impact forgetting that anything that has an advantage will definitely has a disadvantage.Thanks a lot for lecturing me and am pleased to read this article.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    I'm A student doing a research project on the effects of daycare. If you have experienced daycare please fill out my survey. It is a private survey, and I will have no way of contacting you once the survey is complete. This would help me a lot. Please visit my survey at..

  • Greg Cremia profile image

    Greg Cremia 

    8 years ago from Outer Banks

    It is only in very recent history that moms could stay home and devoted their time to their children. Post WW2.

    It wasn't that long ago (before modern conveniences) when mom's lives were so occupied with chores their children were simply little workers who were to be seen and not heard from.

    These are the people who built America. I hope we are not coddling our youth to the point of them becoming weak adults. They are the ones who are going to have to live with the lives we create for them.

  • beth811 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

    Hi, quicksand. Thanks for dropping by. Happy New Year too!

  • quicksand profile image


    8 years ago

    Kumu Sta? Happy New Year 2 you!

  • beth811 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

    Hi, Truth From Truth. Of course, we parents must be concerned on this. Thanks for the visit.

  • Truth From Truth profile image

    Truth From Truth 

    8 years ago from Michigan

    Very helpful hub, thank you. I have concerns of child care my self.

  • beth811 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

    Hi, Chin. Kmsta? We are lucky that we are both stay-at-home moms. Home-rearing kids in their first few growing years is more advantageous than sending them to daycare.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  • Chin chin profile image

    Chin chin 

    8 years ago from Philippines

    I'm a stay at home mom, so my kids never went to daycare. We do have neighbors who bring their kids to daycare. Based on my observation, kids who go to daycare are more adjusted socially than home-reared kids. I don't see much difference with regards to their attachment to their mom. However, some of the disadvantages of daycare kids is the exposure they get, not only to illness as PastorAndrew noted, but also to misbehavior and foul language that they can easily pick up from other kids. There is also the issue of schedule difficulty the parents has to deal with (of course, they will have to deal with that anyway when the kids will have to go to school). Nice hub, Beth!

  • beth811 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

    Thanks for the visit and comment, PastorAndrew.

  • PastorAndrew profile image

    Andrew Grosjean 

    8 years ago from Detroit

    I have been amazed at some of the other effects of Daycares such as exposure of infection and illness. But maybe the biggest surprise is that by the time you add in all the expenses of day care, transportation, incidentals, etc. the family rarely makes any more by having the mother work over taking care of the children at home.

  • beth811 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

    Nice to see you always, habee. Thanks.

    For me, as long as possible I will not work outside the home and let my husband find ways to earn income for the family. I like to be always with my toddler in his 1st two formative years of his life. I want that bonding in his first two formative years.

  • habee profile image

    Holle Abee 

    8 years ago from Georgia

    Great hub! I've wondered about this issue before. My kids never went to daycare, but all my younger grandkids do. Fortunately, they love it!


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