CHILDREN IN DAYCARE MORE BADLY BEHAVED: Youngsters cared for away from home more likely to develop 'peer problems'
Oxford University study finds: home environment provides most consistent influence on behavior
Researchers interviewed parents and teachers on behavior of children
Children who spent more time in day care more likely to be hyperactive
16 October 2013 by Daily Mail UK
Children who spend time in day care centers or with childminders (eg: group child care providers) are more likely to have behavioral issues such as hyperactivity, researchers have found. Youngsters who were cared for away from their parents also had a higher chance of ‘peer problems’, said Oxford University experts.
Researchers set out to examine how different types of care influence child behavior following the ‘dramatic increase’ in working mothers in recent decades.
‘Spending more time in day care centers, over the total period was a predictor of total problem scores,’ said Professor Alan Stein, of the university’s Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
However, children who spent more time in pre-school playgroups had fewer problems with their peers. And more time with a nanny produced better ‘pro-social behavior’ – showing willingness to help others.
The study authors, writing in the journal Child Care: Health and Development, said: ‘Children who spent more time in day care centers were more likely to be hyperactive. ‘Children receiving more care by [group care providers] were more likely to have peer problems.
‘The findings in relation to group care suggest that it might be out of home care rather than group care that raises the risk of behavioral difficulties.’
They concluded: ‘These findings suggest that interventions to enhance children’s emotional and behavioral development might best focus on supporting families and augmenting the quality of care in the home.’
The authors said the 2010 Marmot report on health inequalities had highlighted the importance of children’s early experiences in influencing their later emotional and behavioral development.
Their study looked at 991 families recruited when the children were three months old.
All the mothers were over 16 at birth with an average age of 30.
Assessments were made around 51 months, when the children were at school entry age, through questionnaires about their behaviour and emotions completed by both teachers and parents.
Researchers also carried out direct observations of caregiving provided by mothers and observed non-parental care for at least 90 minutes for children placed in other forms of care.
The total number of hours in some kind of care away from the child’s mother was not related to the overall levels of problems, whether rated by mothers or teachers.
However, it remained the case that children who received more group care in day care centers had more behavioral difficulties, according to both their mothers and teachers.
Teacher assessments showed children who spent more time in day care centers had 'more total problems and more conduct problems.'
Children spending more time with [group care providers] were also rated as having higher levels of total problems.
'The findings in relation to [group care] suggest that it might be out of home care rather than group care that raises the risk of behavioral difficulties,' the authors said.