Haw Does Day Care Affect My Kids?

"Are There Long-Term Effects Of Early Child Care?"
Though it seems like that's a yes/no question, the answer seems to be "maybe," and it raises more questions than it answers, at least for me.

With 2 kids under the age of 2 in daycare I'm always on the prowl for new stories on daycare. There's a big one out now with some really catchy headlines. Almost All the headlines use the words "Disruptive", "Aggressive", "Problems" even "Brattiness". I half expected to read something like "You're Ruining Your Kids Lives In Day Care!" I'm not one to leave it at what I can learn from a paragraph or 2 written by someone who didn't read the study, so I read The Original Release and tried to find The Actual Results. I went and read some of the Data Set and finally went and read The Original Study [you might not be able to download it depending on where you are.] There's quite a bit to quote in there, but I'll just drop the study summary:

"The results indicated that although parenting was a stronger and more consistent predictor of children's development than early child-care experience, higher quality care predicted higher vocabulary scores and more exposure to center care predicted more teacher-reported externalizing problems. Discussion focuses on mechanisms responsible for these effects, the potential collective consequences of small child-care effects, and the importance of the ongoing follow-up at age 15."

Reading the entire study leads me to believe the I should be asking a different question: "Are There Long-Term Effects of Putting My Kids In Day Care?" From what I can gather from this study, and several others, the answer seems to be "Probably NOT." It's important to understand the limitations of these studies. It's also important to take the time to read and apply the results to your situation. If this is something that interests you I highly recommend reading this study as a good starting point, the bibliography will lead you to all the other major studies done recently.

Comments

To whom are they being compared?

If your kids will be spending their school years and careers with others raised primarily during the early formative years by rotating day care workers with h.s. educations, then there should be little or no effect. I'm guessing that the ones reared at home by an educated parent or grandparent during that same time period with personal attention and nurturing will have an advantage. Yours, however, will be much advantaged over those raised by single parents and day care, or those who lost out in the gene pool. Life is not always fair. But someone in Washington will decide it isn't fair, and tax the rest of us to try to right the wrong. That is a given.

It's only anecdotal

but both my brother and I went to daycare from the time we were potty trained through kindergarten. And before we were potty trained we were watched by a family friend. After that we were in public schools and at a local park for aftercare until we were old enough to latch key it. My parents both work.

We turned out fine :-)

Re:It's only anecdotal

The big losers were your parents, who didn't have the opportunity to enjoy your early years and have the satisfaction of teaching you.

Re:It's only anecdotal

Actually that's not true at all. My parents taught my brother and I a lot and spent plenty of quality time with us. Our daycare was in my mom's building. One of them would always stay home with us when we were sick. I could on and on but that's not really necessary is it.
We were raised well, period.

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