The Effects of Child Care on Development Essay

THE EFFECTS OF CHILD CARE 1 A variety of changes in the world have demanded an increase in the need for child care. Some of theses changes include migration, poverty, and urbanization. These economic and societal changes are forcing more and more woman into the workforce. Among these are young women and mothers. From the 1970’s to the 1990’s there was a major increase in the need for child care. In March of 1970, 26% of mothers with children under the age of 2 were working outside the home. By the same month in 1984 that number had reached 46. %( U. S. Dept of Labor 1984. ) Now a days that number is even higher and according to the 2006 census, the number of preschoolers under the age of 5 living with employed mothers reached 11,207. The Children’s Defense Fund estimates that about six million infants and toddlers are in child care. For many families, day care is an integral part of their family operating smoothly. Recently there has been an outpour of viewpoints regarding whether day care has a direct impact on a child’s development.

There is a strong amount of support behind the fact that the stability between the child’s experiences at home and at day care proved development and that any major differences among the two environments were likely to pose developmental obstacles. There is also research supporting the idea that children fro a lower education or economical background can in fact benefit from a difference in environments if this setting provides more than the family home can and/or does.

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Despite the amount of varying opinions, there is truth in the research studies showing that if given high quality care, child care is definitely not detrimental to a child’s development and can actually prove to be beneficial. Quality child care can be best describes as, “small group sizes, low child-adult ratios, caregiver’s non controlling beliefs, and a safe, clean THE EFFECTS OF CHILD CARE 3 stimulating physical environments. (NICHD Early Childhood Care Research Network, 1996. ) A child’s development can be broken down into 2 major areas: emotional/psychological and social/cognitive development.

The emotional/psychological aspects of a child’s development are the critical issues most parents express; especially I he child has attended long-term day care earlier than the age of 5. Emotional development is defined as, “Learning to perceive, appraises, and expresses emotions accurately and appropriately, to use emotion accurately and appropriately, to use emotion to facilitate thinking, to understand and analyze emotions, to use emotional knowledge effectively, and to regulate one’s emotions to promote both emotional and intellectual growth. (Gerrig and Zimbardo, 2002) Concerns influenced by Bowlby’s Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis increased the fears that separating infants fro their mothers may cause emotional harm to the child or disrupt the mother infant bond have given researchers a topic to study. Bowlby’s maternal deprivation Hypothesis states that “deprivation of attachment during a critical period of development would result in permanent damage. ” Researchers have shown that emotional development is weakened by a lack of attachment an bonding from a primary environment that consists of parents and families.

The attachment between a mother and an infant is tested by the Ainsworth Strange Situation. The Strange Situation is an observational experiment where the mother and infant are placed in a room with a THE EFFECTS OF CHILD CARE 4 stranger. While they are in this room a series of uncomfortable and slightly distressing episodes are done including the mother leaving the room for a brief moment. After this situation is completed, the dindins will tell the researchers whether the infant has a secure or insecure bond with the mother.

Controversy was raised over the validity of this study because it is a short-term environment where as day care is a consistent day to day routine atmosphere. Researchers then did a similar situation to test the bond between the child and the day care provider. Farren and Raey’s study on infant attachment behaviors (1977), assessed whether a bond is forced between the child and provider that would replace the mother’s bond. Between these two studies researchers found that children with secure attachments had negative impacts where as insecurely attached infants seemed to benefit from it.

This proved that day care may provide a consistent stable environment where the children are able to experience missing their parents and look forward to them returning. Generally speaking there have been no true facts or data proving that day care attendance has a negative impact on the emotional development of children or the bond with their mother. While there are studies with findings that contradicts this statement, Belsky and Steinburg(1978) state, “many of the results cannot be generalized and have several limitations. While this research has found links between child care and security issues, it also found that the links decrease over time and are usually completely gone by kindergarten or first grade. (Egeland and Heister1995. ) Parents are not solely concerned about the emotional impacts, but the cognitive and social impacts as well. Social development can be described as, “the ways in which THE EFFECTS OF CHILD CARE 5 Individuals’ social interactions and expectations change across the lifespan” while cognitive development “involves the processes of learning problem solving, reasoning, imagining, and perceiving. (Gerrig and Zimbardo 2002. ) Psychologists were concerned that because child care providers are more likely to reward quiet behavior, children were going to become more passive and outspoken. Studies have shown that the amount of time a child spends in high quality care has a direct correlation with how many friends the child has and how many extracurricular activities they are involved in. Cognitively speaking the amount of stimulation that a child receives is an important factor in how a child’s development is impacted.

A securely attached child will have been introduced to a higher level of interaction/stimulating play not only among themselves but with other children as well. The quality of care seems to have an impact on skill assessments that the children may have to do. The children who have been in a high quality child care environment tended to have higher scores on theses assessments. The positive research findings that prove the positive effects of day care on a child’s social and cognitive development suggest that child care encourages more social interaction among the provider and child and child-child then the home-reared child.

The most positive day cares are the ones that are school oriented because they facilitate cognitive skills from an early beginning consistently every day. Research that has been done on the effects of day care has not only told us the findings on the impact emotionally, cognitively, and socially but has also shown that certain types of children benefit more than others from out of home care. The results from THE EFFECTS OF CHILD CARE 6 These studies show that children who come from underprivileged homes get the change to enhance their development through attending daycare as opposed to being in the home constantly.

Lamb (1996; 339) states that “High quality child care from infancy clearly has a positive effect on children’s intellectual, verbal, and cognitive development especially when the children would otherwise experience unstimulating home environments. ” The stress levels in these homes are usually quite high which is a negative environment for the child to emotionally develop. Most child cares, like school environments, provide children with proper examples of behavior and skills while encouraging them to develop.

Over all after reviewing the research concerning the impacts of child care attendance at an early age on the emotional, social, and cognitive development, a wide assortment of responses were found. There is no solid evidence saying that there are disruptive effects of child care and some research supports the idea that child care is a predictor for positive outcomes on children. In the big picture that is neither negative nor positive effects of child care on a child’s long-term development, but do depend on the quality of the child care and the child’s environment at home.

This research was first done as a result of fears that the separation of a child from their mother for extended periods of time would cause developmental obstacles for the emotional development of the child. Theorists were not concerned about the bond between the child and the father in any of this research that has been done, possibly because men have always had the role of being the provider for the family. The evidence has shown that the mother usually has a closer bond with the child however there is also evidence proving that men can be just as affectionate with the children. THE EFFECTS OF CHILD CARE 7

With the given research findings it is reasonable to assume that when compared to a disadvantaged home, a high quality child care has more positive effects than negative. Also most children do not suffer from any long-term impacts of being separated from their mother, even when for extended periods of time. It is important for the parents to remember that there can be negative effects on a child’s development if they are placed in lower quality care. Standards have been set for child care facilities by human services and health departments so not many low quality child cares are around.

Parents should always make their own assessments of the care before deciding to place their child in that care ensuring their safety and healthy developments. As far as further research goes for the effects of child care on a child’s development, there are some other aspects that should be considered. Researchers should take the opportunity to interview the children and find out how they feel about child care. Based on the evidence found, no concrete arguments can be made about the direct effects of child care but it is proven that the quality of care is an important factor of the outcome of the child’s development.

THE EFFECTS OF CHILD CARE 8 Reference Page Belsky, J. Steinberg L (1978. ) “The Effects of Day Care: A critival Review. ” Child Development. 49:929-949 Belsky, J.. (2007, September). Recent Child-Care Findings. Pediatrics for Parents, 23(9), 2-4. Retrieved May 8, 2010, from ProQuest Education Journals. (Document ID: 1388239481) Blesky, J. Burchinal, M. , Clarke-Stewart, K. A. , McCartney, K. , Owen, M. T. , Vandell, D. L. , and the NICHD Early Childcare Research Network(2007). “Are there long-term effects of early child care? ” Child Development, 78:681-701 Egeland, B. , Heister, M. 1995) “The Long-Term Consequences of Infant Day Care and Mother Infant Attachment. ” Child Development. Farran, D. Ramey, C. T. (1977) “Infant Day Care and Attachment Behaviors Toward Mothers and Teachers. ” Child Development. 62:863-870 Gerrig, R. Zimbardo, P. G. (2002). Psychology and Life, Pearson Education. Judah B Axe. (2007). Child Care and Child Development: Results from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. Education and Treatment of Children, 30(3), 129-136 Lamb, M. (1996). “Effects of Nonparental Child Care on Child Development:An Update. : Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 41:330-342


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