Daycares damaging for kids?

Katherine - posted on 05/22/2011 ( 81 moms have responded )

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In 1991, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development started the most comprehensive daycare study to date. Over 1300 infants were enrolled and followed from birth to age 15, with scientists tracking the kids in school, among their peers, and in their family relationships. Over the years, some patterns have emerged, but the results are often mixed and contradictory. With new ideas on how the environment shapes each of us differently, is the story of daycare more complex than we thought?

Daycare can be a stressful place. Lots of noises, constant interactions with other impulsive, emotional, toy-grabbing toddlers, and not enough soothing adult attention. Sure enough, studies have shown that kids in childcare centers release stress hormones differently. Instead of peaking in the morning and declining throughout the day (the normal pattern), cortisol levels have been found to increase into the afternoon (signaling higher anxiety) when kids are in daycare. An NICHD study released last year found that pattern still existed when those kids reached age 15.

I wasn't surprised when I read this. My son started part-time daycare at 16 months and, especially in the beginning, I think it took a lot out of him. When I picked him up after school, he kind of collapsed, like he'd been expending a lot of energy keeping it all together without me. When he's home, I'm right there to smooth over any bump he hits in his day, but with a ratio of three kids to one adult when he's in daycare, it's inevitable that he's going to be left to fend for himself sometimes.

But when you put all the studies side by side, the story isn't all gloomy. Findings like the ones on high cortisol levels make headlines, but they are easy to take out of context. Take another recent NICDH study, for example, showing that when kids with center-based childcare experience reached sixth grade, they were more likely to have behavioral problems. It sounded bad (and yes, it made me think about my son's recent habit of circling any living room and declaring that every toy in it is his, even when it's a friends house), but on second glace, it's only one small piece of the puzzle.

First of all, the effects were very slight — far from meaning that every kid away from home is destined for the principal's office. And the news wasn't all bad — that same study said that kids in higher-quality care had better vocabularies and made slight gains in math in the early years.

The cortisol findings are also very slight, and they don't say that kids are always nervous wrecks when they're away from home. One study showed that the cortisol change is linked to classrooms of 20 kids or more and only holds true when the children have difficult relationships with their teachers. A meta-analysis (reviewing multiple studies) showed that the abnormal stress patterns were linked to poor-quality daycare centers. For high-quality centers there was little or no effect.

The mixed results mean that daycare is not "good" or "bad" for kids. Daycare's influence depends on the child you have in front of you. This is called the "differential-susceptibility hypothesis," and it's springing to the front of many debates about biology and the environment, as it did recently in the popular discussion of "orchid" kids. The NICHD studies are backing this too; recently it was found that kids with difficult temperaments are the ones who suffer in low-quality daycare, but they also flourish in high-quality care, being rated as more socially competent than their easy-going peers.

So, again, I'm not planning to ditch work any time soon, because to me what matters is how daycare is working for my family. And all of this research has made me re-focus my attention to where it matters most. Even the studies that turn up with slight downsides to daycare all say that the child's relationship with his parents is what really makes the difference. No matter how our kids spend their days (a couple of stroller rides with a nanny, a few days of preschool, or a full-time center), the time we do have together is the most powerful part of a child's week.

It's an amazing fact, really, that our relationship with our kids has the most lasting impact on them, regardless of how much time we clock in. So many of the other influences come out in the wash, even when they make up a huge part of a child's life. It's because our attachment to our kids (and theirs to us) is instinctual. It's a hardwired system that works overtime to bond us, even when we're apart for days on end. So we can rest easy about dropping off our little ones in the morning (and, let's face it, for many of us it's a reality no matter what the research says); it's what happens when we pick them up that makes the difference.
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[deleted account]

>Insert Puzzled Look<

She brought the issue to 'Debating Moms' so we as moms can debate the issue at hand and share our opinions. Isn't that the point of this forum? To debate issues that sparked our attention?

Krista - posted on 05/22/2011

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This paragraph gives me pause: "When he's home, I'm right there to smooth over any bump he hits in his day, but with a ratio of three kids to one adult when he's in daycare, it's inevitable that he's going to be left to fend for himself sometimes."

Um, so they didn't do comparisons to children of multiple-child families, where the child-to-adult ratio might be similar to that of a daycare? Because if they didn't, then the study isn't worth a damn. A kid who is surrounded by siblings has to compete just as vigorously for toys and attention, and oftentimes, the competition is even more fierce, because of the emotional attachment that the kids have to their parents (as opposed to the attachment they might have to a daycare provider.)

[deleted account]

Sharon why so negative? Almost every post I see of yours reminds me of the men I work with. They are older, under sexed, miserable alcoholics. I'll probably get a warning for this but your negativity I can surely do without.

>>>NOW BACK TO YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAM

[deleted account]

After quickly skimming the entire thread there is one point I'd like to add to the debate. When a child goes to daycare to "socialize" he's picking up manners and habits of other toddlers. When a child is at home, he's picking up the manners and habits of his parents. Who knows better how to socialize? 20-30 something year olds or two year olds?

I'd like to clarify that I agree with the article. High quality daycare centers are not harmful for children. Part time or full time daycare can be life savers for parents who need to work or who just need a break. But the idea that kids need daycare in order to socialize is ludicrous.

In our town, the high quality daycare centers are very expensive. Half my paycheck as a teacher would have been going to daycare. I wasn't willing to compromise and send my child to a less expensive daycare that wasn't as reputable. Plus my husband works nights. If I was working and our children were in daycare, we'd never have time together as a family. I feel we are very blessed that I'm able to stay home and we don't have to rely on daycare.

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Jennifer - posted on 10/05/2012

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I haven't read all the replies, but I think a child being away from a parent for long periods of time at such a young age is not real healthy. Sometimes it is a have to situation, I've been there! I did not like the changes in my children.



It is also sad that the quality of the daycare factored in, though that would be pretty clear! Often folks have little choice of quality. Where I live, there are three daycares. One is decent. One is so filthy that I woud not leave my dog there! One has staff turn over ever month or so, and they hire anyone! I personally know a lady who's in home daycare was shut down, and they hired her, and a couple women who were fired from a nursing home! The bad thing is, the good daycare has a year wait, the other two will just hire another slacker and pile more kids in! It is sad that many low income people have no choice. But what REALLY burns me up is that we have two DHS headstarts, both are good centers, but both cater to non-working families! Of the 60 kids in headstart here, only about 10 of those kids have a parent who works. Of those 10, 6 have at least one parent figure that stay home. That is 4 kids out of 60 that actually NEED daycare!! WTH? Poor working families are being shafted, again, while lazy bums are handed a free ride. Now the families who are trying so hard are gonna be told it's their fault for not picking a good daycare....................

Kathy - posted on 10/05/2012

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I don't have any issues with well run part-time daycare for most kids (I suspect some kids simply do not do well in daycare - in which case a very tough choice has to be made).



Personally, I do have issues with full time childcare. I think it makes for a very long day. I question how little time a child can have with its parents if the child is in daycare 50 hours a week. I get this is some peoples reality - they have to work full time. I get some people even choose to - the benefits of their job outweigh the negatives (and being away from young kids for such a length of time is a negative in my eyes). Still, full time daycare is not what I have chosen for my family. To each their own.

Johnny - posted on 10/04/2012

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I'd have guess Annie started daycare at 6 weeks. Apparently it not only damages children but leads to broad, ridiculous, and ignorant over-generalizations.



I am so fortunate that my mother never put me in daycare. I can't believe I've managed to deal with growing up in an age cohort so full of messed up, totally off, know-it-all, rude, lazy, horribly behaved do-nothings!

Annie - posted on 10/04/2012

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This last generation from 40 years old and down is SO MESSED UP! Socially, they are TOTALLY OFF! They are rude know-it-all lazy do nothings. It is ALL because of daycare! There wasn't this kind of inundation of such HORRIBLE behavior before daycare came along. It is ABSOLUTELY the culprit in this horribly socially whacked society people have created. It is scientifically proven that a baby that is not held by it's mother does not receive the chemical reaction necessary to develop a CONSCIENCE!! Get it together people!!!!

**Jackie** - posted on 04/18/2012

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I am currently a SAHM but when my daughter is 2 ( which will be in 8 months) she will go to daycare and dance. I am waiting until 2 because I want to make sure she can tell me if something happens...i.e. someone picks on her or a teacher is mean to her.

Bottom line: there are good and bad of everything. Good cops, bad cops, good teachers, bad teachers, good farmers, bad farmers. If we all check the living daylights out of our day cares, like MeMe does, then we will find the best one for our family.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/17/2012

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Not even going to read it, I can say right now it is bullshit! As someone who has used a Daycare for 12.5 years, I absolutely stand by the ones I have used. I do however, do extensive checks and I get a break down daily of what my children have done, including what they have eaten. I even show up unannounced every so often, just to get a glimpse. I have even peeked in through the windows to take a look.

The Daycares I have used are absolutely wonderful!

User - posted on 04/17/2012

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Im a product of being raised by a sahm. I turned out fine. I think as moms you have to know your child. Each child is different and each situation is different. Every financial situation is different. Some mothers have NO CHOICE! Some mothers LOVE daycare. They think they learn a lot of structure and have social interaction. My child agreed learned a lot in MDO. He seemed content 9-2 and 2 days a week. I think the long hours in daycare and being trapped in a room with 13-15 kids with one teacher and a so called helper seemed extreme to me. I sat an observed my child where he could not see me in the am. To me there were kids screaming, crying, and ofcourse calm collected kids. My child looked so anxious and was trying to adjust. He would not eat anything. He would scream and cry at naptime when they took the mats out 1 hr before naptime while they were eating lunch so he would not eat. He enjoyed playtime and outside play. He was scraped on his knee and the teacher did not know. They write that they eat everything but from what I saw he never did. He inhaled his food when he got home. Yes this may be my experience. I think a child who is talking is best to put in daycare if needed. A child who can express there needs and what has gone on for the day. It turned out to be a horrible experience for me at his age now. It may be different next year. Again this is my experience.

User - posted on 04/17/2012

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My son is 2 and turns 3 in June. I had him in MDO and he seemed to enjoy it. We opted to place in daycare for more exposure because he had not spoken yet and get into a routine. He really changed and freaked out. I know this is normal but I weighed it out and it did not seem normal for him. He is shy...I know this, but he seemed traumatized in daycare. The ratio for teachers in daycare are high. I think I was happier in MDO program and he seemed happier. None the less we will do some summer programs the city offers for the summer. I plan on enrolling in MDO in Aug. The reason I did not continue to do MDO was because some said he had to be completely potty trained prior to 3 preschool class. I checked around and found some that are willing to work with them and I ofcourse will try by this summer. Im not a fan of daycare....I know that some moms dont have a choice :( and some moms love daycare.... it was not for us.

Krista - posted on 05/25/2011

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@Bonnie: don't even worry about it. There are PLENTY of parents out there, like myself, who need and value good daycares.

Personally, I don't even mind the accusation that I'm letting a stranger help raise my child. For starters, if that's the case, then she's "raised" about 40 children in the last 10 years, and thus has a hell of a lot more experience and wisdom than I do.

Sure, I know my kid better than anybody else does. There's no denying that. But do I always know what's best for him? Fuck, no. I do my best, but I'm a first-time mom and there have been plenty of times where I have had absolutely NO idea what to do in a given situation. Or, I go with my gut and just pray to the FSM that I'm not steering him straight to the therapist's couch.

So having our sitter as a resource has been extremely valuable to me. Plus, due to him being in a different setting, with different people, and without Mommy there, she may see sides to him that I do not. I like getting a semi-objective opinion about his personality, his development, etc.

Is daycare for every family? Of course not.

But nor is it this giant evil. I'm not sobbing with misery and regret when I drop him off in the morning.

Bonnie - posted on 05/25/2011

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I hope parents don't start feeling this way. I'm trying to get my daycare started :-S

Merry - posted on 05/24/2011

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I thought schools were to teach kids, not to socialize them.....school hours should be for learning, and after that they should be living life! Friends, classes, activities, sports, trips, etc. These all can be after the learning is done at home or at school. Homeschooling doesn't mean you never leave home. In fact most homeschoolers do far more field trips then schools do!
As a wonderful comedian once said, 'we are going to homeschool her' 'arent you worried about her socialization?!?!" " yes! That's WHY we are homeschooling her!"
Lol. I Don't think there's anything good a school can offer my kids that I can't give them without the school.

But this is about daycare not school, so I'll answer why I'm so against using daycare.
Similarly to Teresa I feel like these are my kids, Im raising them and idont need other adults raising them too. I think kids need the solid bond with mom and dad well established before starting to bond with others. I guess I'm old school, but I don't think kids need to be away from mom to grow up well. Of course they CAN be away at times but they don't NEED to until they are old enough to request time away from mom :)

Merry - posted on 05/24/2011

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Heather, just had to put it out there how we manage financially. Hubby works full time at subway, just above minimum wage. We rent an apt, own two cars, and have cell phones, cable and Internet. two cats and a dog :) we manage ok, and I'm not working. I was doing a babysitting job 20 hrs a week where I brought my son with me. Before that I worked part time at a pet smart and I did the opening job, 6-9 am so hubby had Eric at home while I was working. Now I'm looking into maybe being a breastfeeding peer counselor at WIC, and if it works out we would be quite stable. But if not we are still making it as is.

[deleted account]

@Heather, I don't know if that rhetorical, but I'll answer anyway. =) Sorry that it's slightly off topic, but it relates in a way...how I can afford to NOT send my kids to daycare.

How do we afford for me to stay home? First of all, my husband has a great job. No, we're not rich. But he does make slightly more than the average income in our area. Plus his job provides great insurance and retirement benefits. (He's a nurse in a state prison, just in case you're wondering.) Next, we bought a small "fixer-upper" of a house...not a show house like many of the people we know like to buy. We don't have cable. Our cars are paid for. I shop sales, use coupons, and cook from scratch. We grow our own vegetables. We get hand-me-downs for the girls' clothes and I supplement their hand-me-down wardrobes with consignment and thrift finds. I use cloth diapers. Each of these things equal a small saving. But together, it makes for huge savings. But honestly, I couldn't stay home if my husband didn't have the job he does. The savings make up for what I WOULD be making (minus the cost of daycare) if I'd continued working.

[deleted account]

Different kids adapt to different settings and some are for the best, some are not.
I stayed home with my son until he was 6 months, only becasue I took the rest of the school year off, and then summer break. I hated being a SAHM. Just not for me.
From 6 months-17 months my son was in a home care setting. Perfect, no problems at all! He got a long beautifully with my friend's 2 children and nephews.
From 18 months-4 years he was in a traditional day care setting 3 full days a week. Some pros & cons there. it was not a perfect utopia setting and my son truly gained more in the 3 & 4 year old room as opposed to the toddler room.
Then from 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 full time Montessori style preschool. He left that school knowing how to read prior to beginning Kindergarten. He loved that preschool so much that he is going back for 5 weeks in the summer for their school-aged kid program summer camp.
The point is that as an only child, it is my job as a parent to expose my son to a variety of settings. We've tried in-home and traditional daycare, as well as formal preschool, and now after school daycare. Yup, he gets on the daycare bus with his 2 cousins to attend an after school program. But in ALL of those settings, my son has benefited. Soem settings more than others, but I still regret nothing in regard to his care for the past 6 years.

Katherine - posted on 05/24/2011

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Well, in the article it DOES say that children in day cares have a higher level of cortisol, although the effects where very slight. Just trying to make a point about HS.

Nikki - posted on 05/24/2011

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It's amazing that anyone from the 50's learned how to make friends and interact!

Jennie - posted on 05/24/2011

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@Tara,
I am not saying that that is the only way children become social. Not at all, but it is a big part of it. And I do not think that I ever said that the socialization is because they are around other kids. It is the being around other people of every age. I also do not think that I put a certain age group in my paragraph. My children did not start any type of daycare until they were preschool age, which is 4. I also don't believe that I ever said anything about dropping children off to go grocery shopping, so I have no clue what you are talking about. I simply am saying that some of us do not realize how important socialization is.

[deleted account]

@ Teresa thank you for your opinion.(No really i mean it) I just wish people would answer more like you. Straight forward with out bashing day care.

I know SAHMs must wonder how could you part with your kids like that. Well we just have to. That is the direction our society is going in. Both parents working in most cases. I too often wonder how SAHMs do it. How can you afford to?

[deleted account]

Liz I totaly agree with you on the maternity leave laws. Obviously am man with a a wife that had no need to work made up that law. I feel maternity leave should be at least one year and then you could return to the job you had privided you were at thet job for a period of time, say maybe a year +

[deleted account]

It would break my heart to be parted from my child in the first 12 months.

But a lot of women don't have the option to ruminate over whether it's damaging; they just have to do it.

Maternity leave in the USA is a f*cking joke.

Johnny - posted on 05/23/2011

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Well. I'm purposefully going back to work full-time just so I can stick my kid in daycare all day to ruin her life. Why else would I do it?

Ailey - posted on 05/23/2011

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Some parents like myself have no choice but to put their kids in daycare. I chose a higher end school/daycare because I had to go back to work after 6 weeks and I wanted to make sure he was well taken care off. You get what you pay for kind of thing. Seeing what the school offers my son and how happy he is there is wonderful. I dont know that I could provide him all of the things that they do.

The biggest downside of daycare is my son is constantly sick. If I could be a SAHM I would in a heartbeat just for that reason alone. It's tough watching your kid get sick with just about everything but we also have to pay the bills.

I think there are pros and cons to both options. SAHM have the toughest jobs out there and if that works for them then great. Families with two full time working parents with kids in daycare is sometimes the only option. I can't dwell on studies about cortisol findings. I can only make sure that my son is being well taken care of in the best way possible. I love where he goes. After walking out of three daycares in tears when looking for a daycare this one has always made me feel extremely comfortable and is worth the price tag : )

Minnie - posted on 05/23/2011

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I had a hard time making friends too- when I moved to an entirely new school in seventh grade. I was not homeschooled. I was just the geek- who became salutatorian- in highschool it's hard when your interests are -not- boys-the latest fashion-who's gossiping about who-sports-a new hair cut...etc.



this could be related to other issues



Mmm....duh? I know loads of people who went to day care and public school and now are alcoholics, drug addicts, are depressed, don't know what to do with themselves because they got pregnant as teenagers...(not that teenage mothers can't be awesome).



The behavior you're describing is not necessarily attributed to homeschool but just one outcome that EVERYONE has the possibility of suffering.

[deleted account]

Why do I hate daycare? Keep in mind this is only MY opinion and I in no way, shape, or form am trying to insult anyone who uses daycare.... whether you need to or just want to, but this is just for ME (is that enough of a disclaimer?)

I chose to have my kids to raise them myself and I am 100% against putting a child under preschool age in the regular care of another person (outside of the parents). That's just my personal belief and parenting style.

I, personally, could never homeschool (don't have the patience for it), but I have only ever known one family that didn't have proper socialization for their homeschooled kids and I know at least a half a dozen others who's kids are, like I said, more sociable than I am. Little ole me who was in school starting at the age of 2. ;)

Mel - posted on 05/23/2011

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I do believe like some people have mentioned, home schooled kids are much smarter because they focus more on learning rather then socialising, and giving into peer pressure of skipping school, drugs, alcohol, smoking etc. Yes I dont know every home schooled kid in the world but the ones I did know , one in particular who came into school for the first time in high school, couldnt make friends, hence the reason i made friends with her, I felt bad for her, and now we're still friends, however being home schooled came with a price for her (this could be related to other issues) shes had several suicide attempts and depression been forced to take leave off work so many times and struggled ot pay her bills because of depression, back then she may have been that sheltered girl who disagreed with me smoking, skipping school etc now shes a woman who is addicted to cigarettes , alcohol, and is extremely intelligent due to home schooling however had to leave uni due to her depresison lack of social skills etc. Yes this is only one case but from all I could see was that they were doing the normal things a kid needed to do to develop. She also had 7 brotehrs and sister all home schooled, so I guess she did have interaction with them but obviously it wasnt enough, and I dont know if her parents took her out otherwise. Ys his is just what Ive seen but personally I would rather put my kids through school so they can have that chance to develop normally make friends do what kids do

Katherine - posted on 05/23/2011

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I took my daughter to an in home day care where the ratio was 4:1. I really liked that. To be honest with you the other day cares scared me. I think homeschooling is awesome.

There are a million and one ways to get your child ti interact with other kids. It's not like they're locked up in the house.


Sorry just now posting because I'm pissed off. Today is not my day.

[deleted account]

Well after reading all the posts and really thinking about the subject I really don't have much of a leg to stand on as far as debating one side or the other day care/ sahm wise. I have only experienced one side of it with a couple of different senerios.

I returned to work full time when my twins were 8 weeks. My SIL cared for them from 8 weeks -16 months. She was pretty good at first and then just started to suck. I'd pick my kids up and they would be dehydrated,famished ,and exhausted. They'd have bleeding diaper rashes and balled up poopy clothes in a plastic bag. She would also throw all the dirty dishes unrinsed back into the food bag I had packed. I had given her a schedule to follow that worked around her pre-school and school aged children and she would never follow it. So that has come to an end. I did notice while my kids were in her care they were much more needy of me and my husband. they were cranky all the time and starting to act like her little demon children whom she never disciplines. my kids began to hit, kick and yell after seeing their cousins behave like animals on a daily basis.

Now they are in day care for *gasp* 9 1/2 hours per day(what a horrible mother I am). They are now happy outgoing children. They are also leaning a ton. Their teacher is teaching them sign language and my kids are now showing me the signs they learned. They get tons of attention. The love their teacher and run up to her andgve her big hugs.They are extremely well fed getting as much to eat as they want and well hydrated. The sippy cups I give them for the 40 minute ride home now go untouched. My kids are less clingy now too.

Now with that said I have noticed some have posted on here that they wouldn't dream of sending their kids to day care. My question is why? I understand if your situation is such that you are able to stay at home, but what's with all the negativity about them? And why such a strong opinion against them when you have never utilized them and haven't a clue as to what goes on there? I agree there are some really shitty day cares out there but there are also some really great ones too.

[deleted account]

I do not understand why homeschooled/unschooled children can't learn to interact with other children. We followed a home schooling curriculum for J's 4yr, and though he started public school this year (after much research and debate) we still incorporate a lot of the unschooling philosophies into our lives, especially in the areas of socialization and self direction. In fact, I would say that those ideas are part of what made my son the confident, social little man that he is. He didn't learn his social skills at school (or daycare), he learned them at home, in play groups, and in sports. School is for academics, not socialization.



I cannot base my opinion of all home schooled people on the few that I know, but the few that I know happen to be the most educated and disciplined that I know--All of them went on to college and post graduate studies, many have received national and international awards for work in their fields. They are only a small sample, but I find it difficult to believe that all of the home schooled adults I know happen to be exceptions to the rule of the "emotionally inept home schooler". Perhaps they are simply as emotionally / socially varied as the public school and private school populations? That would be easier to believe....for me.

Krista - posted on 05/23/2011

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Mel, there ARE some homeschooled children who are kept isolated and rarely get to interact with other children.

However, from what I've seen, heard, read and experienced, they are the exception, not the rule.

In MOST cases, parents who homeschool take great pains to ensure that their children interact with other children on a regular basis. I, like you, greatly enjoyed my school years and the friends that I made while there. However, my school was a very good one, I had good teachers, and my learning style meshed well with the traditional teaching style of that time.

In many cases, traditional school is just not a good fit. So it is good that parents have this option available to them, and that more resources are now available for them.

Mel - posted on 05/23/2011

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but you home school them, and they cant leanr to interact with other children..thats what school is all about. I feel sad for home schooled children. They dont get to have the experiences other kids do, I wouldnt change my school days for the world, I learnt so much and Im not just saying education either

Tara - posted on 05/23/2011

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Laura, I didn't know you were homeschooled. That's cool.
You likely know that I unschool/homeschool my kids. I believe that in all my years as homeschooling parent I have only met a small handful of socially skewed children or parents and all of them, ALL of them were very strict christian home learners. They went to school at home, from 9-3 and did not go out in the community except for church functions. The kids were kept from other kids etc. etc.
But all the unschoolers, and other homeschoolers I know have very well adjusted kids. My kids are some of the most socially mature children around. People are always commenting on how emotionally mature my kids seem and how they are such a pleasure to have around and to talk with. Many people think my 15 year old son is much older, not just because he is 6 feet 2 inches, but because of his way with people. Because he is so comfortable in his own skin for his age.
I find that from experience both as a parent, as a volunteer and as someone who worked with kids, that young children (under 2) need their mom or their dad. No one else is necessary. It's nice for them to have play dates and such, but honestly at that age, they still need the consistent modelling of your behaviour, the consistent and reliable comfort that you can offer, the consistent and loving guidance that you provide. And in saying that I also believe that kids who do have to be in daycare are going to far better off with someone who is family or a friend. Someone who has a long term, vested interest in that child's emotional, mental and physical health is the best person to care for them.
But I don't think that any child needs to go to daycare to be socialized , but I also don't think any child needs to go to school to be socialized. (sounds like I'm talking about a feral dog. lol)
but that's just how I roll.

Merry - posted on 05/23/2011

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""its not just about the needs of the parent its about the needs of the children. Its hard but sometimes you have to think about whats best for your kid rather then keeping them at home with you all the time.""

I keep my kids out of daycare BECause I believe this is what's best for them. It might be nice to have a break from them, but I choose to be their full time mom because this is what I believe is the best for them.
I was home schooled, I'm a normal person, but I've been told I'm too mature or my age.
My sister was home schooled, she's almost got her phd in physics...
Brother is in college, living with room mates, has a nice gf...
My hubby was homeschooled and obviously I think he's a great man :)
I know so many many home schooled adults and kids, ionly know two who I feel are socially weird......
And I know far more public and privately schooled people who are socially weird.

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And... 'Gorgonzola', is it really bad that it took me til reading your post to FINALLY figure out who the heck you are?! Now that you mentioned your kids names.... ;)

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I'd like to add that I know a family of 5 homeschooled kids (not the only ones... I'm just using them).... As KIDS they were/are way less socially awkward than I am STILL at 34... and I was in daycare at 2. ;)

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I'm completely anti-day care. Unless your work schedule dictates that you have no choice, of course. I'm also extremely proSAHM (or dad) though..... My belief is that no child NEEDS daycare. It's the parents that may or may not need their child to attend daycare. As for whether it is 'damaging' or not.... Well, I'm not going to use my kids to experiment that and I think it's a crummy thing to say to parents that HAVE to have their child in one. Don't moms have enough to worry about already? ;)

My girls didn't attend daycare. They were away from me once a week on Sundays (in Sunday School) for about an hour and twice a month for 3 hours or so while I was in my mom's group. That was IT (on a regular basis, still had a couple of times/year w/ other things) until they were 3 and started preschool 5 hours/day, 5 days/week. They've always been extremely sociable and have only had 'seperation anxiety' a handful of random times spread throughout their 9.5 years of life.

My 3 year old son is a different story entirely. He is fine as long as one of his sisters is w/ him and I can leave him w/ my dad, mom, or one friend.... and that is IT. Well, he also did fine w/ his father for a week, but that's the most he's ever seen the man. Different child, different needs. Would daycare have 'benefited' him? I don't know and I honestly don't care. He is who he is and I'm not interested in changing that.

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Why would children possibly need to be socialised under the age of 2? We were very lucky that my partner was able to mind our daughter while I was at work until she was 16 months of age, but after that she had to start daycare three mornings a week. She is doing great due to the fact that the teacher/child ratio is low, she is an extremely extrovert and energetic child and that we took our time (about a months) settling her in. And still, for a while she was regressing a little at home, like wanting to be fed instead of feeding herself. At six months, when I went back to work, she had an incredibly hard time, despite the fact that her dad was minding her. Ideally children should be with their primary caregiver until they are at least 2 for most of the day. I think daycare can certainly be damaging, depending on a variety of factors, but even if it's not - separation at an early age is simply stressful for children and if there is no need for it, why go there. If you have to, at least be aware of the issues and make it as easy as you can on your child. Any future baby will probably have to go in at six months, that's just life. I'm not really one for sticking my head in the sand just because some things are uncomfortable for me.

Rosie - posted on 05/23/2011

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my first child was in daycare from the time he was 2 weeks old until he was approximately 4, my two youngest have never been to daycare.
i don't know what to think about the article. i don't feel children in daycare are harmed in anyway, and sometimes i feel it's beneficial. grant learned alot while at daycare.
vinnie, my second child, has never been to daycare and has no problem now in kindergarten and had no problem in preschool. he has been HIGHLY praised by his teachers, gotten multiple awards for his behavior, and socializes wonderfully.
lucas my youngest will start preschool this fall, so i'll see how it goes with him. i recently started donating plasma, and they have a daycare center there and he goes for an hour twice a week, and loves it. he asks when we get to go to plasma again almost everyday, lol. i think he'll do great this fall.

i really think it boils down to parenting, and the quality of daycare as well. overall i'm sure there's negligable difference. :)

Tara - posted on 05/23/2011

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Oh and Mel of course ALL homeschooled kids and kids who don't go to daycare are going to be socially screwed up because after all you know a few homeschooled kids who were socially screwed up and your sister in law (is that right?) didn't attend daycare and she's still screwed up because of it (apparently)...
So yes... every child who doesn't go to daycare or school is going to be a social idiot walking around drooling or running at the thought of conversation with a "normal".
lmfao.

Minnie - posted on 05/23/2011

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Its hard but sometimes you have to think about whats best for your kid

You seem to be pretty vocal about this, on many subjects- but your opinion isn't typically based on fact. IMO, some of your opinions are a little....weird.

I do NOT believe that children haaaaave to go to daycare. But then again, I'm all for unschooling. I'm sure that is totally out of your ballpark regarding 'doing what's best' for our children ;).

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@ Jenn H I just reread all of the post trying to figure out who said SAHMs don't follow a schedule and aren't busy???? If you were refering to my post I said no such thing. All I said was that they are more lax meaning they aren't as regimented as a daycare. There is no need to be so defensive and sensitive here. Just having a good honest debate.

Mrs. - posted on 05/23/2011

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Whelp, I stay at home with my daughter and she is almost two. Her father works nights so daycare at night is a rarity. She demands a tight schedule. She gets really cranky if we don't keep with the schedule, if it is nap time, she will freak out if we try to take her to the park. I'm assuming, because the Mel doesn't have a lot of exposure to SAHMs in her circle, it might just be an opinion formed out of ignorance.



Now, I asked my PPD therapist in the beginning about keeping her at home and not going to daycare. I was worried about her being social awkward or something. She said their was absolutely no basis to believe that would happen and it was quite common for children to remain at home until Kindergarten.



That being said, I have her involved in playgroups at the local library, the local child centre, she does swim class, has play dates with other SAHM's/working moms I know and loves her daily (weather permitting) trip to the park/run with mom in the jogging stroller.



I found at 17 months or so, she began to demand more stimulation than just me. So, I researched all my local resources and got her activities to do in group 2 times a week basically. She enjoys playing with other kids and like the break from mom/dad. This is what most SAHM's I know do. Yeah, it is not daycare, but if it were me doing those activities I mentioned or being sent off all day without the option of sleeping in my own crib....I think I'd go for the first one.



Of course, I totally respect the moms/dads who choose to send their children to daycare. I don't think less of them or assume their kids will be prime suspects for behavioural issues or are less cared for. I think everyone is doing their best, generally to give their child what they can given their work arrangements and life experience.

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I don't think anyone said that children couldn't make lasting friendships in daycare, only that daycare is not necessary for children to learn social skills or create lasting friendships on their own.

Mel - posted on 05/23/2011

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I think they can make lasting friendships whether thier at play groups or daycares whatever. Im still in contact not regular but sitll know the people I went to daycare with, and my oldest friend I made at a play group probably about age 1 or 2, she lives in another state now but came to perth for my hens night and gave a photo of us at age 3 and 13, so Ive kept friendships too from back then I think it doesnt matter where they are made. I suppose though I went to an inhome daycare and so does my daughter which is alot smaller and better then the actual centres in which children are neglected alot of the time, not given bottles, not watched, left to cry etc

Jenn - posted on 05/23/2011

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Um...school and daycare are hardly the only ways to socialize. Playgroups, little gyms, kindermusik programs, etc. are the best for socializing. They are smaller spurts of time in more intimate settings where children forge lasting friendships. My oldest is still best friends with a boy she befriended at 11months old in a baby gym class! They go to different schools but still have playdates and are closer than any friends made at school or MDO. Children holed up in a house with just Mom or Dad is not good for anyone. And I also want to say that my old boss home schooled his children and they were very involved socially with local athletics (there are programsin place to include home schooled kids) and a local homeschool chapter that got kids involved with one another so they weren't isolated. All three kids are Baylor graduates who are very kind and outgoing. Just sayin. Parents have to do what works best for their children and that can play out in several different scenarios.

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Based on what I have read in addition to this article and what I have observed in rl, I do not believe that daycare is beneficial for young children, nor do i believe it is detrimental.

Sometimes daycare cannot be avoided, sometimes parents simply want a break (and if taking a 3 hour break twice a week makes you a more focused, more patient mommy the other 162 hours a week you spend with your kid, taking that break is NOT Selfish!!!). Other times daycare is simply not needed or not an option. It is the idea that daycare is the ONLY way to socialize children that I find so narrow minded and uninformed. Daycare does NOT socialize our children, we, parents, do. Study after study, not just the ones mentioned above, have shown that children learn more about socialization when their parents are present during early attempts at socialization. You can send your child to daycare as often and for as little or long as you want to, but your child will NOT learn to socialize there unless the parents are also teaching social skills and peer interaction as well.

I will not base my opinion or argument on my son's experience alone, but he does serve as an example that children do not need daycare to adjust to school or learn to socialize. He is 6 and an only child. He never went to daycare (I worked, but we had a nanny) and he adjusted to school beautifully--no crying, no nervousness, he was purely excited. He has made several friends who he has built close relationships with on his own, and is very confident in class whether I am there or not. He has also only gotten sick one time, he missed one day of school this year, and half of his class was sick as well.

Mel - posted on 05/23/2011

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oh and only one day a week before I had paige so 2 hours a week I would hardly say was selfish on my part

Mel - posted on 05/23/2011

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who said anything about the whole day when my daughter at 17 months started daycare it was 2 hours, 2.5 at the most for starters she had a feeding tube and I wanted to do the tube feeds myself, and she also had to eat junk food which her daycare worker had trouble getting down her neck whilst the other kids were out of the room because they would sometimes see her, so I had to drop her at 10am after a tube feed and pick her up after lunch to give her some high calorie food. When she got the tube out she still continued to go only 2 hours til around 2.5 yrs of age then I let her stay 4-7 hours which is how long she stays now, for 2 days a week. Its not about my selfishness at all. Me havign some time with my 10 month old is just an added bonus. Before my second baby was born she was there for 2 hours then I sent her longer.

Btw every one I know who was home schooled was socially screwed up when they finally got into the real world. Also My SIL neve went to daycare guess what shes still socially screwed up

Tara - posted on 05/23/2011

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I agree Jenn H that a few days a week for a *child* can be beneficial, while not necessary to appropriate social development, but yes beneficial, but I think under 2 is not a child, but a toddler or a baby.
And that is different than a 3 year old.

Tara - posted on 05/23/2011

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@Jennie

"...Socialization is so important and the only way you do it it through daycare and school..."

Really? I wasn't aware that if you failed to send your child to daycare and school they would be un-socialized.

Hmmm... there are scores and scores of people who were raised at home, were homeschooled and went on to be very prominent and socially "normal" people.

And by your quote are you saying that children who stay home with their parents until school will not be socially ready for life?

Why this forced need for early independence? We this perceived "need" for children to be surrounded by a whole bunch of other children most of their day? People say they need to learn how to deal with issues and other kids etc. but honestly parents and care givers are the ones who teach kids how to solve those problems, they don't learn problem solving skills from other kids, they learn them from adults with a higher level of emotional intelligence.

And again I am talking about kids under 2. Not children over 2.

Essentially these are little people who are still very much controlled by their ID and their sense of security and safety in their world largely dominates their emotional brain chemistry.

And sure, you want to send your 9 month old off for the whole day so you can go grocery shopping, that's your issue, but I still don't think that it is going to help that child in any way, and the resulting changes in brain chemistry can be harmful.

Jenn - posted on 05/23/2011

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I am a SAHM and I take exception to the comment that SAHM moms don't have their children on schedules. That simply not true with me or most moms I know. We are so busy, schedules are a necessity. As for daycare, I started my oldest in Mothers Day Out twice a week when she was three at a very reputable church school. I liked that she could socialize, learn with others and even spend time away from me. Her sister was an infant at the time and that allowed one-on-one time for she and I. Now 6, my oldest has soared through Kindergarten with confidence, minimal illness (so many spend K sick from new exposure to kids) and great social skills. My now four year old is on track to do the same as she has completed her second year at MDO. Daily daycare, I would not do, but a couple of days a week are truly beneficial for children.

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