Can You Build a Better Baby?

Daycare

The Claim: Going to daycare will lead to problems in school.

The Truth: Even after dozens of studies, the jury's still out on what effects (if any) daycare has on a child's development. The latest report to garner the big headlines was a long-term study done by The National Institute of Early Child Care and Human Development that found that kids who had spent more time in childcare centers had slightly higher rates of behavior problems than children who didn't. But the difference between these two groups was so tiny that the researchers themselves dismissed the finding as insignificant. What's more, earlier studies found that kids develop more self-control, a greater sense of independence, and better social skills when they spend time away from the home. "At this point, the research is inconclusive," says Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University of Kent, in England, and author of Paranoid Parenting. "It's difficult to prove a direct relationship because a family's socioeconomic situation, lifestyle, and other factors come into play. The fact is, children manage to do pretty well in both circumstances."

The Bottom Line: Lose the guilt over daycare. Whatever is best for your family is what's going to be best for your child. As long as she receives plenty of attention and stimulation, everything will turn out fine.

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