Daycare and Child Development
If you send your child to a nursery, what are the positives and negatives of doing this?
Although there are several studies which show that day care can be beneficial to children’s social development, there are also some other studies which have shown that day care is not beneficial to children’s social development.
One of the studies that says that day care has a negative effect on social development is the study which was carried out by Belsky and Rovine. They assessed attachment using the strange situation in infants who had been in day care for more than 20 hours a week before they were one year old. Compared to children who had been cared for at home, these children were shown to be insecurely attached. This could support Bowlby’s maternal deprivation hypothesis, as this states that the maternal bond from a mother figure is just as important to a child as are vitamins and minerals.
Supporting this research, a recent NICHD report concluded that children who are separated from their mothers for more than 10 hours a week early in life are more aggressive once they reach primary school. As this was concluded by teachers and parents, they will have been able to compare the children directly with those children who had not been in day care.
Also, DiLalla found that the children who did not go to day care, or did not experience a lot of day care, were more like to behave prosocially, therefore leading a belief that day care may inhibit socialisation.
Opposing this research is the study carried out by Vandell, who found that children who spent more time in day care were friendlier and had less unfriendly interactions with other children. However, this is assuming that all of the children had good quality care. If, on the other hand, the children did not get good quality care, then the result of this study may have been very different, as all of the other factors should be taken into account before coming to any conclusions.
Also, Creps and Vernon-Feagans found that if the children had started day care before they were 6 months old, they were more likely to be more sociable in late life in comparison to the children who did not attend day care, or those children who had started day care after they were 6 months old. This suggests that day care has a positive effect on children’s social development, however, once again, the quality of day care must be taken into account. If the children had been in a lower quality day care, they may not have been benefitted by the experience.
As well as this, there is also a study which was carried out by Clarke-Stewart which showed that day care has no effects on children’s social development. This showed that there was no difference at all in attachment security when comparing children spending a lot of time in day care with those who spent less time in day care. This shows us that there is no difference in social development, however this study does not state how many children were assessed, or what quality of day care they were receiving. Also, it would depend very much on the quality of care that the child was receiving at home. If, for instance, the child was having to witness some domestic violence at home, then the day care may seem to be much better quality care than at home.
Overall, the above studies show that it depends very much on the quality and quantity of day care as to whether it has any effect on the social development of the child.