Affects of Daycare on Infants
Day care is a type of establishment that provides the services of taking care of children while the family members are not able to, being preoccupied with other things. There are a number of forms of day care but the most common ones are nursery and child-minders. Alison Clarke-Stewart, in her book Daycare (1993), asserts that “ The major social change affecting the need for child care has been the dramatic increase in the number of women who are employed in jobs outside the home” (p.9). As a matter of fact “the concern of day care having adverse effects on children began to emerge when social change allowed women to break from the traditional role of care-taker and instead participate in the workplace” (Lalli, 2006, p. 2). Since the time of the change in the traditional role of women in the society, a lot of attention has been drawn to the effects of such establishments as day care centers on the development of infants. In the past decades a lot of issues have been raised concerning the problem of attending day care during infancy. With the major issue being whether day care produces negative or positive effects on the development of children. Another important question is whether separating the infant from his mother can cause emotional harm, and moreover, whether the mother-infant bond can be disrupted. There is also a concern as to whether family or non-relative day care has an ability to provide the child with better opportunity for cognitive and social development. The issue of day care is considered to be disputable as there are a lot of arguments supporting both pros and cons of the day care. So, what is a real effect of day care on little children? Is it really so harmful or maybe there are some positive sides of it?
Many working parents today pin their hopes on organized day care centers or caretakers to look after their infants during the day. The question at hand is whether infants far from their mothers almost all the day long feel more detached from them than those who are cared for by their mothers at home. According to the book Psychology: Concepts and Applications by Jeffrey S. Nevid (2009), “A number of studies find no harmful effects of day care on either the strength or security of infant-mother attachments” (p. 351).
Moreover, some people who support day care are convinced that it is a great opportunity for infants and toddlers to prepare for preschool and maybe even school. They assert that infants learn all of their skills in day care centers.
According to some researches, there are some effects on babies who are cared for by a non-relative for at least 10 hours per week. These effects include a variety of areas, some of which are language development and memory skills on the one hand, and social relationship and overall behavior on the other hand. Day care appears to have some positive impacts on a social development of infants. It is obvious that day care encourages an infant to be sociable. The results of the study have shown that those who had spent more time in day care were better developed socially in comparison with those who were taken care of at home. They have also shown a higher level of independence, submission during the dinner time and age-mate relations. This study depicted some positive impacts of day care on social development, asserting its ability to make children negotiate better. But the question of social development is still disputable as some researches stress that those infants who were placed in the day care centers for all day long tend to be more aggressive, emotionally immature and less socialized. Besides, such kids are more likely to have behavioral problems later.
In her article “The Effects of Day Care on Children’s Emotional, Cognitive, and Social Development”, Lalli states that cognitive development of infants “which involves the process of learning problem solving, reasoning, imagining, and perceiving” (Lalli, 2006, p.6) can also be characterized by a great impact of day care. The results of the researches showed that those kids who received infant day care had much better grades at school and were involved in a bigger number of extracurricular activities. However, all these positive effects of day care are seen only in high quality day care centers, but not in the low quality day care establishments, which can cause harm and inhibit the kid’s emotional and social development. According to the book Psychosocial Issues in Day Care by Shahla S. Chehrazi (1990, p.9), high quality care seems to result in no adverse effect, and moreover it can benefit the children intellectually and socially. Nevid (2009) also states that “Not surprisingly that children show greater cognitive growth when day care staff members are responsive and sensitive to their needs” (p. 351).
However, day care does not influence just cognitive, emotional and social development of infants, but also has been proved to benefit a certain type of kids. Day care gives a chance for development for kids from low-income families, as their development can be complicated at home. Parents of such kids are unable to stimulate their cognitive and social development. Such families are characterized by high stress levels and unfavorable emotional environment. So, in such a situation, day care is irreplaceable in the life of this sort of infants. The aim of it is to show infants how to behave in a proper way and how to get good skills. It also encourages the development of kids.
Nevid (2009) also states that there is evidence proving that girls are more likely to attend day care centers than boys, maybe because they can benefit from it more than boys for some reasons (p.9). Many researches showed that mothers tend to come to different decisions considering a day care for their daughters and their sons. Perhaps the reason for it is that the girls tend to get a higher quality care as opposed to boys. So, parents are unwilling to place their sons to the day care centers, but are ready to do it with their daughters.
So, as we can see from all the researches, day care has positive effects on infants as well as negative ones to some extent. Moreover, it depends on the quality of a day care center whether an infant receives appropriate care or not. Thus, according to the book Psychology: Concepts and Applications by Jeffrey S. Nevid (2009), when selecting a day care center parents should evaluate its quality based on the level of the establishment, the services they provide and the qualifications of the staff.(p. 351). General questions to be asked include the questions about the license, liability insurance, the way to handle emergencies, illness policy. Questions about the facility should cover the problems of its leanness and carefulness, sufficiency of the play space, the condition of toys and equipment, nutritional value of food, security of outside facilities, availability of climbing equipment to help promote motor development and the quality of supervision. As for the questions about the staff, parents should be assured that the staff is really warm and responsive to the kids’ needs, that there are no scolding and strict commands, but gentle treatment of their infants, that the staff encourage kids toward creativity and development of language skills.
After reviewing the researches conducted on the impacts of day care on the cognitive, emotional and social development of infants, a wide range of results is found. It turned out that day care has both positive and negative effects on infants.
On the one hand, day care provides kids with an opportunity to be more developed in emotional, cognitive and social aspects. There is also evidence that a preschool education is wholesome for young kids. Infants who attend preschool are more inclined to have good results in elementary and high school, because they have learnt the basic concepts in a day care center. On the other hand, however, such kind of benefit for infants can be provided only by high quality day care centers, which are able to treat kids in a proper way. Low quality day care centers on the contrary can cause adverse effects on kids’ development. So, before choosing a day care center, parents should evaluate it according to all the requirements which an appropriate day care center should meet. It is the only way to ensure that an infant will be in good hands, and parents will have nothing to worry about.