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The Dangers in Daycare

Day care has changed in the past 25 years. The structure of American families has been altered. Twelve million infants, toddlers, and preschoolers (more than half the children this age) go to day care. Most of these children are there for nearly 40 hours a week as there is almost twice as many women in the work force now than in the previous quarter-century. Strangers, not parents, provide early childhood care.

A long-term government study has discovered "that kids who spend long hours in day care have behavior problems that persist well into elementary school." About 1 out of 4 kids who attend day care more than 45 hours a week "have serious behavior problems" in kindergarten. One out of 10 who attend less than 10 hours weekly have similar difficulties.

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care is a $100 million investigation of 1,100 children. Findings from the research disclose "that the total number of hours a child is without a parent, from birth through preschool, matters. The more time in child care of any kind or quality, the more aggressive the child…. Children in full-time day care were close to three times more likely to show behavior problems than those cared for by their mothers at home." It has been emphasized "that 83 percent of children who spend 10 to 30 hours in day care did not show higher levels of aggression."

Negative behaviors include arguing frequently, throwing temper tantrums, hitting, lying, conduct not predictable. A debate rages over what these sort of studies mean, but parents needs to be aware of what can be harmful to their children and what can be helpful.

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