Health and Nutrition for Kids

Children in childcare have ‘better social and emotional skills’, study finds

All working parents will know, it’s never an easy decision to send your child to childcare – but they should feel rest assured their little ones are receiving fantastic benefits by being there.

A new study has found that kids who go to nursery have better psychological skills than those children who are looked after by family members or a childminder.

Child care
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Why parents shouldn’t feel guilty about sending their kids to childcare

French researchers from Pierre Louis Institute of Epidemiology and Public Health in Paris tracked more than 1,400 children between the ages of one and eight.

Questionnaires were filled out focusing on their behavioural and emotional development, looking at how easy they found making friends, how they conducted themselves and their social skills.


44.5% of kids were looked after by childminders, 26% went to nursery, creche or daycare and just under 30% were cared for by family or friends.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, found that those who attended daycare or a creche had better social skills, less behavioural problems and were less emotional compared to children who had been looked after by family or friends.

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How childcare benefits youngsters

Experts believe a nursery environment helps youngsters thrive as they spend more time reading, stimulating play, getting praise and following rules from a young age.

The research suggests girls seem to get more out of formal childcare than boys. This could possibly be because formal childcare is associated with less internalising behaviour, which is more common in girls.

However, boys in formal care also benefitted from this environment.

Study co-author Dr Maria Melchior, of Sorbonne University, said: “Compared with boys in receipt of informal care, boys in receipt of formal care had fewer emotional problems, but those looked after by a childminder had more behavioural problems.”

What’s more, children whose mothers had gone to college or university and/or whose mothers weren’t depressed seemed to benefit the most from formal childcare.

The study concluded: “Access to high-quality childcare in the first years of life may improve children’s emotional and cognitive development, prevent later emotional difficulties and promote prosocial behaviours.”

Previous studies have suggested that early childcare can help boost a child’s language and thinking skills, and could also improve their academic performance.

However, this is just one study. It doesn’t matter whether your child is in daycare, with family members or with you. At the end of the day they are all being taken care of.

Healthy Kids and The Healthy Mummy

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