Effects of Non-Parental Childcare

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Effects of Non-parental Childcare Non-parental childcare is defined by Berns as “the care given to children by persons other than parents during the parts of the day that parents are absent (2010, p. 161)”, and includes in-home care providers, family daycare providers, and group care, center-based providers. Currently, family, friends and neighbors are the most common form of non-parental child care used in the United States, especially for younger children. Over 60 percent of children under the age of five are cared for by a non-parental caregiver. 0 percent of children ages 3 – 5 attend some sort of formal child care in a center, whereas infant and toddlers are cared for predominantly by a grandparent or family member, neighbor or a close friend (Susman-Stillman, A. , Banghart, P. , 2011). Non-parental caregivers can vary greatly. In-home care or family day care providers typically have lower levels of education in child growth and development than do those caregivers in licensed child care center. Because of the lack of education in child development, caregivers may not know what is developmentally appropriate for young children.

Experience with children is usually based solely on experience with the caregivers own children, or from babysitting jobs. Although training and education may be lacking there is a great advantage of non-parental child care; motivation. Motivation is usually based on the relationship with the child, for instance the relationship that a grandparent has with a grandchild. Most interactions between the child and the caregiver are warm and nurturing. There is also more time for one-on-one interactions with the child. These prime time moments can be hard to find in a group care facility.

This is even more the reason that parents should carefully select a high-quality child care facility (Susman-Stillman, A. , Banghart, P. , 2011). Non-parental childcare has been shown overall to have a positive effect on a child’s psychological, social and cognitive development. Psychologist and theorists have long debated the importance of nature and nurture and which one is more important. According to Spitz and Bolby, they believed that nature was the more important of the two because of the impact a mother and child’s relationship has on the child’s social – emotional and cognitive evelopment. In Spitz’s research, he studied infants that were raised in a foundling home for abandoned and illegitimate babies and infants that were raised by their mothers in prison. The infants in the foundling home were care for with a ratio of 1:8, while the infants raised by their mothers in prison received invaluable one-on-one care. The infants raised in the foundling home had poor appetites, showed a lack of interest in their surroundings and suffered severe depression. They also sustained abnormal cognitive development.

The infants raised in prison, although they were cared for by either mentally retarded or socially deviant mothers, developed normally. In later years Harold Skeels 30-year longitudinal study confirmed the importance of nature which was the basis of Spitz and Bolby’s research. However, his study showed that nurture is just as important. His research showed that it doesn’t matter who provides the care as long as the child receives high-quality care and has meaningful relationships with his caregiver. Skeels’ research validates that non-parental childcare can generate positive child outcomes (Berns, 2010).

The lack of a quality care can not only stifle a child cognitively and emotionally, but it can affect physical development as well as outlined in Spitz’s research. Psychologist Sandra Scarr concurs that children reared by someone other than their mother can grow and develop normally into successful adults. Jay Belsky differs in opinion with his theory that infants less than one year of age, spending more than 20 hours per week in non-parental child care have a higher risk of developing insecure attachments with their mothers.

In his research, these children tend to be more aggressive and disobedient as they grow older (Berns, 2010). So what is a parent to do when working is not an option? Overall, research has shown that what counts is relationships and quality programming regardless of whether a parent chooses a family member, a neighbor, a live-in nanny, family day care provider, or a group care facility, Children who attend a quality child care program, such as one that is NAEYC accredited, are deemed more socially competent and typically show higher intellectual performance than those who do not.

Psychologically, children who attend higher quality centers are more likely to develop a healthy sense of self and are better able to express their emotions in a positive way. Berns tells us that “children, especially from low-income families, who attend a quality preschool program, even part-time, are more verbally expressive, and more interactive with adults than children who do not (2011, p. 171). ” They are also more likely to be able to meet school performance standards. In the last two decades a sense of urgency has been placed on studying the outcomes of development in children who attend non-parental childcare.

Dr Michael Lamb reviewed the published literature in 1996 and published his findings in The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. His conclusions are as follows: “The effects of out-of-home care vary depending on the quality of care as well as the characteristics of individual children, including their age, temperaments, and individual backgrounds. ” In closing, research shows that a parent need no feel guilty for working outside of the home. However; the parent should carefully research options for in-home providers, family daycare providers, and group care providers to ensure that their child is receiving high-quality care.

Resources Berns, R. (2010). Child, Family, School, Community: Socialization and Support. Belmont: Wadsworth Lamb, M. (1996). Effects of Nonparental Child Care on Child Development: An Update. Retrieved on October 17, 2011 from The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Volume 41, pages 330-342 at: https://ww1. cpa-apc. org/Publications/Archives/PDF/1996/Aug/lamb. pdf Susman-Stillman, A. , Banghart, P. (May 2011). Quality in Family, Friend, and Neighbor Child Care Settings. Retrieved on October 17, 2011 from National Center for Children in Poverty at: http://www. nccp. org/publications/pub_1010. html

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