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Childcare: Are You Caring Enough?

Nothing divides the parental world more than the ongoing issue over childcare. Parental values differ dramatically over the role of childcare in the first five years of a child’s life.

Nothing divides the parental world more than the ongoing issue over childcare. Parental values differ dramatically over the role of childcare in the first five years of a child’s life. Considerable research has been documented that explores the issue of childcare and its possible advantages and disadvantages. Evidently, however, the research is often supported by organisations with particular vested interests and inherent values.

There are many factors that may influence a parent or parents’ decision over whether to opt for childcare or not. Such factors may include: personal, cultural or religious values; socio-economic status; family, community and government support; availability of childcare facilities; and parental leave policies of either parents employer. Making a decision over childcare can be difficult and you may find yourself being scrutinised unfairly for your choice.

According to groups such as the Australian Family Association the government needs to do more to provide choice for parents, for families so that one parent is in a position to be able to stay at home if they desire.

The US National Institute of Health has recently carried out a large-scale survey that aims to explore the complexity of the childcare debate. The study revealed that the more hours children spend away from their parents the more likely they are to be defiant, aggressive and disobedient by the time they get to kindergarten and the less likely they are to have a close bond with either or both parents. They further claim that children that were in childcare for more than 30 hours per week were generally more demanding and unruly. However, it is interesting to note that almost all the ‘aggressive toddlers’ were well within the range of what is considered normal behaviour for four-year-olds. Arguably, a child demanding attention could be viewed as healthy when immersed in a room of many other children.

Many experts assert that it is not childcare that we should be concerned about but poor childcare. The research compiled by the US National Institute of Health was based on childcare centres in the US or Western Lithuania where the standards and accreditation and staff to child ratios are significantly below that of Australian centres.

Childcare may not always be ideal, however, for many children neither is the home. There is considerable research that highlights the positive influences of childcare on the developing child. Children who attend childcare are likely to have more highly developed social and co-operation skills, and increased levels of independence and tolerance for others than children who have not.

Obviously there are many complex factors that affect a child’s social,




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