Quick! Here’s a test: is day care really good for your kids?
The headlines blared this week. “Does Day Care Make Kids Behave Badly? Study Says Yes” (ABC). “Child Care Leads to More Behavior Problems” (Fox). “Day-care Kids Have Problems Later in Life” (NBC). “Poor Behavior Is Linked to Time in Day Care” (New York Times). And, ironically, “Bad Mommies” (Slate).
It’s useless to rail at the press for leading with the bad news and for ignoring the researchers’ caveats that no cause-and-effect conclusions can be drawn from their data. Still, coverage like this feels designed to twit working parents. And it turns out that in the case of day care, the headlines and the stories really were alarmist—even wrong.
Thank the Slate for this.
Ladies and gentlemen, shall we face facts?
American culture is built on the dollar. We live in a time of almost unfettered capitalism. This is in itself not a bad thing. However, the good must be taken with the bad; in order to have that new house on the block, to pay for that education, to buy that expensive car, or even to simply make ends meet, more often than not, both parents have to work. Observation tells you this, a little research will bear out this theory.
With this in mind, day-care businesses thrive. Single parents, married parents, separated parents – they all use day-care, and there’s a lot of money to be made in day-care, if one is willing to be able to effectively and safely deal with several children that are not their own. Good day-care is worth it’s weight in gold.
That said, to say that too much day care is bad for kids is probably not as much of the problem as not enough parental involvement for kids. Shifting the blame to day-care providers is…somehow disingenuous. As a parent, you know if your child is getting unruly, and you should be able to sense if they might have problems socializing later. That is a parental responsibility.
Watch. Listen. Learn. Act. Don’t play the blame game.