The affects of daycare on a child Essay

This essay has a total of 2297 words and 10 pages.

The affects of daycare on a child



Daycare and the Effects on Children

With the triumphs of welfare reform and the high turnout of women college graduates,
mothers are increasingly, entering the workforce. As affirmed by the Wilson Quarterly
(Autumn 98, Vol. 22 Issue 4), "Ben Wildavsky, a staff correspondent for the National
Journal (Jan. 24, 1998), provides statistical background. In 1997, nearly 42 percent of
women with children under six were working full-time, 5 percent were looking for work, 18
percent had part-time jobs, and 35 percent were not working outside the home" (p.115).
Using these figures it is said that 65 percent of women with children aged younger than
six are working or would like to be. Daycare is a necessity for the majority of working
American mothers.

Within the past 20 years child social developmentalists have gathered facts and evidence
to show that unless children gain minimal social competence by the age of six, they have a
high probability of being at risk throughout life. (Denham & Burton, 1996) Thus peer
relationships contribute a great deal to both social and cognitive development and to the
effectiveness with which we function as adults. Others suggest that the number of
caregivers and the amount of time children spend away from parents' harms parent-child
relationships thus, weakening cognitive and emotional development (Kelly, 2000). This
paper will discuss the effects of daycare on children and how to choose one of high
quality.

Many daycare opponents believe bonding, a strong emotional attachment that forms between a
child and parent, is disrupted when mothers and fathers rely on others to be substitute
parents. Children who are securely bonded to parents are more confident in their
explorations of their environment and have a higher sense of self-esteem than children who
are insecurely bonded to their parents. Dr. Stanley Greenspan, a professor of psychiatry
and pediatrics at George Washington University Medical School, who has authored several
books including the recent book, The Irreducible Needs of Children says, "A warm, loving
human relationship is very important for intellectual development. Children form their
capacity to think and self-image based on these back-and-forth interactions. Fewer of
these are happening, because families are so busy and more care is being done outside the
home. Studies [show] that for all ages, 85 percent of day care is not high quality"
(Kelly, 2000, p. 65).

It has been further proven that the issue is, the quality of the care given in daycare
that makes the difference in regards to cognitive, language, and socio-emotional
functions. The more quality care the more positive the functional developments. Placing a
child in daycare does not exclude them from forming warm, human relationships in contrast
it gives them the opportunity to form numerous bonding encounters with other adults and it
also permits the formation of strong peer attachments.

A bare reality facing many parents is that quality daycare is hard to find or too
expensive. Quality daycare includes a well-trained staff that serves children in small
groups. This allows for successful interactions between the caregiver and child. These
interactions may be related to cognitive functioning and language development.
Preschoolers that have experienced positive interactions given at quality daycare
demonstrated better language skills and cognitive functioning than preschoolers who did
not experience such childcare as infants. (Burchinal, Lee, and Ramey, 1989) Without these
interactions children who receive lower quality daycare or children reared at home scored
lower on measures of academic achievement when tested against those children who were
experienced.

In the study done at State University of New York College in Buffalo, they explored the
relation between time spent in daycare and the quantity and quality of exploratory and
problem-solving behaviors in 9-month-old infants. It was hypothesized that, given the
presence of high quality care, infants who spent greater amounts of time in center-based
care would demonstrate more advanced exploratory and problem-solving behaviors then
infants who did not spend as much time in center-based care (Schuetze, Lewis, and
DiMartino, 269). The results suggested that the amount of time spent in center-based care
predicts more frequent and varied exploratory behaviors and the more successful
problem-solving abilities. Infants are motivated to affect and master their environment
and high quality daycare centers provide infants with age-appropriate play materials and
responsive caregivers who, presumably, are frequently encouraging them to explore their
surroundings which, in turn, affords them the opportunity to develop exploratory
strategies. (Schuetze, et al, 273).

"Emotional competence is central to children's ability to interact and form
relationships;" as stated in the opening paragraph of the study done by Susanne A. Denham
and Rosemary Burton from George Mason University (1996). Their study focuses on the
importance of children being able to (1) form a secure attachment with a primary
caregiver, (2) acquire the ability to consciously recognize and label emotion and (3)
develop skills to problem solving with peers. For when a child forms a secure attachment
the child feels confident to explore the social world. When a child has the ability to
consciously recognize and label emotion the child has a vehicle with which to regulate
emotions. The child who can consider alternative solutions to problems is less likely to
take a toy out of the hands of another without consideration of the others desires
(Denham, 1996). All of these abilities are better learning in a center based environment
were there are more opportunities to develop and master these skills. Early research did
support that there were some adverse effects on development for infants attending daycare,
such as emotional competence deficits. But these findings presumably are more strongly
related to a daycare of poor quality that would neglect social development instead of
enhancing it. Recently, research has suggested that infants reared in a daycare setting do
not suffer any long-term consequences from center-based care (Clarke-Stewart, Gruber, and
Fitzgerald, 1994; NICHD Early Child Care Research Network, 1997).

There are some aspects of daycare that may increase the probability that children will
behave in socially inappropriate ways. The relationship between daycare and aggression is
currently unclear at the present because of the numerous conflicting conclusions. "Honig
and Park (1993) assessed aggressiveness in preschoolers using ratings by head teachers as
well as ratings of videotaped free play behaviors in the daycares. They reported that
children who had been in daycare longer received higher ratings of instrumental physical,
and verbal aggression. In contrast, Hegland and Rix (1990) found no significant difference
in observer ratings of aggression when comparing children who had been attending daycare
to children with no daycare experience" (DiLalla, 1998, p. 224). Thus, when investigating
children who have attended daycare, it appears overall that children who began younger or
have been in daycare longer seem to interact more with peers, both pro-socially and
aggressively. To define this more clearly, pro-social behavior is "behavior that is
designed to help or benefit other people" (Kohlberg, 1984, p. G-7) and aggressive behavior
is "behavior that intentionally harms other people by inflicting pain or injury on them"
(Kohlberg, 1984, p. 649)

A comprehensive review by Clarke-Stewart (1989) pointed out that it is critical to explore
the individual differences in children that may contribute to or protect them from
aggressive behaviors in terms of how these individual differences interact with
environmental variables such as daycare experience. One obvious factor that should
mitigate or exacerbate the deleterious effects of daycare experience might be child
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