“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.”
Do good parents undo their best efforts when they place a child in day care? Who has more influence on a child’s development when that child must be placed in day care? Recently we have heard about many studies, some of which arrived at conflicting conclusions. Some said that parents have little or no effect on their children’s development. Others concluded that day care doesn’t influence a child’s development at all. Now unique new research seeks to clear this up.
This two pronged research effort is unique because it relied on direct observation of children and caregivers. The first prong of the study, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, observed 1-3 year olds in over 1,300 families. These families ranged from stay-at-home moms to those who used day care. Home backgrounds were studied, mothers were videotaped, and children were tested for language development and similar skills. This part of the study concluded that mothers who are warmly involved with their children had the greater influence on their child’s development. They also concluded that average children who go to day care and have an involved, caring mother will be stunted by poor day care, but modestly helped by good day care.
The second prong of the study rated day care in nine states, and then extended its results to the entire country. They rated 61 percent of day care programs as “fair” or “poor, ” with 39 percent rated as “good” or “excellent.” What’s clear from these results is that in God’s order of things, nothing can replace good parenting!
Lord, help me to be a good parent and to be good to my parents. Amen.
S.M. “Good parents still make the difference,” Science News, February 6, 1999, v. 155, p. 91. Photo: Courtesy of Marty from Manitou Springs. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.