What kind of childcare is best for development?

For those in their early 20s and 30s baby fever kicks in.  Of course having a child comes with a whole host of responsibilities, including childcare.  Childcare is not an easy obstacle for any parent to handle. 

These days both parents need to work to make ends meet.  That means there is a good chance a child will be with someone other than his or her parents for a good portion of the week.  Obviously, every parent wants to find the best option for his or her child, but cost and location are often a factor when selecting childcare.

Some parents fear that leaving their baby at a childcare center may negatively impact their child’s development, but a new study says otherwise.

The study and the intriguing findings
Researchers in Norway looked at the effects of childcare centers vs. at home daycare on language skills, language-related difficulties and psychological function in 13,000 children who had reached five years by the end of 2010.

“Overall, the report shows that neither the language skills nor the psychological function of most children varies with the type of childcare, their age when starting in childcare, whether they used a combination of childcare arrangements or just one type, or how many hours per week they were in childcare,” the results read.

“For most children there is no evidence from our findings to suggest that it is harmful to begin in centre-based childcare at 12 months,” said Synnve Schjølberg, researcher and specialist in clinical psychology.  “The findings don’t suggest that most children who are cared for at home are better prepared than children cared for by others in the same period.”

Other interesting tidbits from the study:
*The majority of children cared for outside the home before they are 18 months were in center-based childcare.

*Choice of childcare is related to the length of mothers’ education.

*Children who are cared for more than 40 hours a week outside the home are rated with slightly more behavioral symptoms at five years of age.

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