High-Quality Care Helps Kids, but So Do Sensitive Mothers

By Wetzstein, Cheryl | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 3, 1998 | Go to article overview

High-Quality Care Helps Kids, but So Do Sensitive Mothers


Wetzstein, Cheryl, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Children in high-quality child care become more cooperative and less negative with their mothers and caregivers, a study to be released tomorrow says.

At the same time, the study says, mothers' sensitivity plays a greater role than child care factors in how a child learns social behavior.

These are the latest highlights from the multiyear Study of Early Child Care, run by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

The findings are likely to play a role in the ongoing debate on Capitol Hill about boosting funding for child care. A Senate budget bill contains $5 billion in funds - a fraction of the funding the White House has asked for. The House, which has not finished its budget bill, is divided on the issue.

The NICHD study, which started in 1991 and involves some 1,300 families, is intended to answer questions about whether full-time day care for very young children hurts or helps their emotional and mental growth.

So far, the NICHD study has found that child care has many benign or positive effects on children. Favorable findings were especially evident when the care was "high-quality" or warm, communicative and stimulating.

The NICHD findings have also found that long hours of child care were related to problems in the mother-child relationship, such as an increase in negative behaviors, and a decrease in sensitive and affectionate behaviors.

The positive findings about high-quality child care have buttressed efforts by the White House and others to ensure that more quality child care is available.

First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton warned last year that a lack of affordable, quality child care was a "silent crisis" in the nation. …

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