A second look at day-care study

The day-care kids are alright, writes Emily Bazelon on Slate. Taking a closer look at the long-term study of day-care effects, she finds more misbehavior only for children who spent more than a few years in child-care centers.

When I reached the study’s author, Margaret Burchinal, yesterday, she asked if she could explain something she feared had been missed. “I’m not sure we communicated this, but the kids who had one to two years of daycare by age 4½ — which was typical for our sample — had exactly the level of problem behavior you’d expect for kids of their age. Most people use center care for one or two years, and for those kids we’re not seeing anything problematic.”

Children who spend three or four years in day-care centers tend to go to lower-quality centers, Bazelon points out, though the difference is slight.

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  1. wayne martin says:

    The media can not be trust to read these reports and provide non-sensational reporting of these works.

    From the report:
    The results indicated that although parenting
    was a stronger and more consistent predictor of
    children’s development than early child-care experience,

    And we needed a $200M study to tell us this?

  2. You’re right, Wayne. The media loves the bad, and often ignores the good, which is really sad for most parents since these types of reports scare them. The truth is, Mom is #1 for the kid, and high-quality, small-group daycare is a close second. The problems occur when there are large groups, low quality, and the child spends long hours there. I’ve been a family child care provider for over 17 years and author of “From Babysitter To Business Owner” and it amazes me that in all this time parents still are so very uninformed when it comes to choosing child care. Bottom line is that this is a “you get what you pay for” type of industry, and parents who want the best for their child have to be willing to pay for it. Those who aren’t shouldn’t be surprised when their child comes home with negative behavior. Large centers and unlicensed providers are cheap for a reason – they don’t put the time and effort into raising their quality through training and meeting high standards. But there are great ones out there, your child deserves the effort to look.