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