Day Care Effects on Childhood Development
Nearly one quarter of children in the United States are placed into a daycare system by the time they are five years old. Unfortunately, many families in today’s expensive world cannot afford for one parent to stay at home with their children all day. Since young children cannot properly care for themselves independently, parents often seek secondary care from outside sources. This leads to young children being placed in organizations such as daycare centers, preschools, and nurseries. One of the main questions surrounding childcare research has been to dictate whether childcare facilities have detrimental effects on Child Care development.
Researchers have come to realize the complexity of childcare research over the past several decades. The most accurate findings have come from extensive longitudinal studies. In these studies, children are observed before and after being placed in daycare centers. These same children were studied from sixteen months of age until they were eight and a half years old (Lessels, Lamb, Hwang, 1996). Many various inquiries have come from this focus on the development of these kids placed in daycare facilities throughout their entire childhood.
Research has revealed that the quality of care received is the most important factor contributing to the effects of nonparental care (Shuper Engelhard, Klein, & Yablon, 2014). Although, in order to decide which type of care affects child development, it is necessary to determine the developmental differences between children receiving different care. Placing young children in daycare centers introduces a new set of challenges on the child’s development (Luijk et al., 2015). These challenges include overly aggressive behavior, weak social skills, anxiety, depression, and lessened relationships with their parents. Numerous studies have proven that placing children in daycare centers can lead to multiple negative effects, including overly aggressive behavior and poor social skills (Lessels, Lamb, & Hwang, 1996).
Parental Relationships with Infants:
Giving ample attention to an infant within the first year of its life is crucial. Within the first year of a child’s life, attachment is formed between the infant and its caregiver. Depending on the child’s relationship with the caregiver and the surrounding circumstances, this attachment can form into secure or insecure. Baildam et al. (2000) created a log in which he compared infant relationships to parental and nonparental contact. The most important factor when nurturing a newborn is psychical care. Baildam et al. (2000) examined 158 different infants who received various amounts of parental and nonparental care.
Throughout the entire study, regardless of being in daycare or not during the first year of their life, the mean of overall care the children received remained the same. The mean of time holding the infant while crying, holding the infant while sleeping, and playing or interacting with the infant also remained same. For children in daycare between the ages of 6 and 52 weeks, the mean of the time being cared for by the child’s parents decreased by 34 minutes a day (Baildam et al., 2000). Play and interaction with the parents did not decrease throughout the child’s first year. This remained 25 to 75 minutes per day. Although interaction with nonparental figures increased to reach an average of 14 to 69 minutes per day spent at daycare. This time span ranges longer than interaction with the parental caregiver. The results of the log were clear and remained the same regardless of all variables. The correlation between infant size and holding time became weaker. As the infant became older and spent more time in daycare with nonparental figures, the child desired less to be held by its parents (Baildam et al., 2000).
As a long term result, these children in daycare centers are more likely to experience attachment insecurity. Newborn babies recognize familiar people by the sound of their voice. If the child is passed from their parents to various secondary caregivers, they will form attachment insecurity (Wissemann, Gorday, & Meyer, 2018). This insecure attachment is most likely to lead to negative behaviors and child mistrust in the parent. When children spend more time in the care of someone other than their mothers, those parental caregivers tend to show lower levels of sensitivity. There are also fewer positive interactions between parent and child. In addition, the children who have an insecure parental attachment are at a high risk to develop depression, anxiety and other mood disorders (Wissemann, Gorday, & Meyer, 2018).
In comparison, infants who do not spend time in childcare facilities form a secure attachment with their parental caregiver. From infancy onward, a trusting bond is being formed through the relationship between a child and its parent. If the parent is absent and placing the child in daycare, this trusting relationship will be nonexistent (Wissemann, Gorday, & Meyer 2018). This data emphasizes the need of parental contact with the child within the first year of the child’s life to build a secure attachment.
Behavior and Social Skills:
Early experiences with caregivers contribute immensely to behavior and social skills throughout the child’s life (Hipson and Séguin, 2016). The amount of individualized attention a child receives from their caregiver directly affects the development of the child’s future personality. According to research, “findings indicate that mothers’ and caregivers’ social mediation behaviour encouraging’ and ‘regulating behaviour’ were related to more prosocial behaviour and to less aggressive behaviour of toddlers. Especially, interesting findings were noted regarding effects of incompatible mediation on children’s social behaviour. It was found that when mothers or caregivers exhibited more mediation that was unmatched or unsynchronised with their child’s behaviour (i.e. ‘unspecified encouragement’), their children exhibited more aggressive and less prosocial behaviour” (Shuper Engelhard, Klein, & Yablon, 2014, p.1).
Above all, the caregivers reaction to a badly behaved child is the foundation of prosocial child behavior. Observations have been carried out between toddlers homes with their parents and in daycare centers with nonparental caregivers (Super Engelhard, Klein, & Yablon, 2014). This research states that the child will react best to its parental caregiver in regards to retaliation and mediation. When a parental caregiver is at home with their child, they are receiving a more individualistic care fit for their personal needs. When the child makes a mistake and needs to be reprimanded, the parent can easily regulate the child’s behavior and encourage a positive behavior in place. The child understands which behavior the parent is reprimanding and will more likely learn from this.
On the contrary, when a child is with a non parent caregiver at daycare, they receive a more generalized approach to discipline. The child might not understand what the non parental caregiver is reprimanding them for, or even if the scolding is for him. This continual generalized approach to mediating a child will likely not set in. The child will become frustrated and not learn from this unmatched mediation (Super Engelhard, Klein, & Yablon, 2014). This frustration turns into lack of awareness of what is right and wrong. The child in daycare is now likely to develop aggressive, antisocial behaviors.
Another aspect regarding behavioral issues and social skills of these children stems from being placed with other children. Many parents that put their children in daycare facilities claim that leaving them with other children all day can help them develop social skills. Although, research claims this has an adverse effect on the child. Children who have grown up in daycare facilities grow up to have weaker social skills than children who have grown up being primarily cared for by their parents (Super Engelhard, Klein, & Yablon, 2014). According to the Heritage Foundation, children who spend long hours in day care are more likely to show problems with social adjustments in the future. These children may grow up to be less inclined to cooperate in group activities, be frequently moody, and more prone to conflict and aggressive behaviors.
In accordance to language abilities, results showed that more hours in nonparental child care were associated with higher language abilities (Vernon-Feagans, 1997). However, “The more hours in childcare in the first year of life were associated with less language proficiency at ages 1 to 1.5. At later ages, this effect disappeared and language proficiency increased. Furthermore, children who spent more hours in childcare centers had better language scores than children receiving home-based care (Luijk et al., 2015) .” The statistics reveal that children in their early life are in the crucial stage for language development.
Language development is a key part of child development. From the time of birth, children are aware of sound in their surroundings. Starting at 24 months of age, what children sense and hear contributes to their language development. The human brain starts to develop very quickly within the first five years of their life. More specifically, the first 24 months to 3 years (Vernon-Feagans, 1997). These beginning years of a child’s life is crucial in regards to braid development. The child’s brain is quickly evolving in regards to its cognitive function and motor development. While in daycare, the foundations of language development are exposed to children at such a young age. Being exposed to these elements at this time help children utilize this crucial time in brain development. These skills will attribute to the kids success later in life, more specifically in regards to scores on standardized testing. This correlation is seen in nearly all children that have been enrolled in high quality daycare centers. These children in daycare have started to develop earlier than children who spent their childhood at home with their parental caregiver.
Although, there is also a link seen between an increase in aggressive behavior and an increase in standardized test scores (Vernon-Feagans, 1997). Children who are placed in daycare for a year or longer have proved to be disruptive in their classrooms throughout elementary school and middle school. Children in higher quality daycare centers exhibited an increase in disruptive, aggressive behavior. Although this aggressive behavior showed an increase in correlation to their standardized test scores. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development also found that children who spent longer hours in day care facilities are at increased risk of becoming aggressive. These children are also impelled to develop other behavior problems in regards to forming relationships.
The review of literature on daycare and its effects on childhood development suggest that parental care is more effective in regards to positive development, for the most part. If children under one year are placed into daycare facilities, they are missing crucial bonding time with their parents or primary caregivers. When these children spend more time in the care of someone other than their parental caregivers, the children’s parents tend to show lower levels of sensitivity. From this point on there are fewer positive interactions between mother and child, simply because the child was placed in a daycare facility at a young age. These children then form an insecure attachment to their parents due to this. From then on the children will have trust issues with their parents.
Children under the age of two do also not learn behaviors as easily from secondary caregivers. This is especially so in a group setting such as a daycare center. When a behavior is corrected by a non parent caregiver, there is a lack of fluidity between the caregiver and the child. The nonspecific, generalized reproach from the secondary caregiver will not impact the child. This uncertainty will lead to lesser awareness of the behavior that the child needs to change in the future. The discipline given to the child will not be processed and the same results will continue in the future. This lack of mediation can lead to many greater issues ranging from aggression and antisocial behaviors to anxiety and depression.
On the contrary, children placed in daycares do score higher on standardized tests in the future. The foundations of language development and learning are presented early on to children in daycare facilities. The higher standardized test scores reflect on how daycare centers utilize the span of rapid brain development within young children. Tapping into the child’s brain, utilizing the children’s language abilities at a young age is a sure way to raise standardized test scores in the future. From infancy on, the developing brain begins to grasp sound and process language. Daycare centers utilizing early child brain development results in the children receiving higher scores on standardized tests in the future.
Overall, placing young children in daycare facilities is detrimental to personality development. The effects of this damage cripples personality, which will begin to show early on in childhood. The numerous adverse effects of daycare facilities damage development throughout childhood. The child’s relationship with its parental caregiver is from then on damaged in several ways. These include forming an insecure attachment, lower levels of parent sensitivity for the child, and lack of trust. The negative effects from placing infants in daycare centers are present in the personality of the child through the duration of its life. Parental care throughout childhood is extremely important to personality development due to the quality of the care that parents provide to their children.