Posts Tagged ‘ child care ’

Researchers Ask Whether Women Like Child-Care Tasks

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Giving new ammunition to spouses who quarrel about the division of daily child-care tasks, a new study out of the University of Virginia is asking whether women “like” such jobs more than men.  The New York Times reports on the response from the 181 heterosexual college professors with children 2 or younger who were surveyed for the study:

On 16 out of 25 child-care tasks — like changing diapers, taking a child to the doctor or getting up in the middle of a night to attend to a child — women reported statistically significant higher levels of enjoyment than men. The only parenting issue that gave women less pleasure than it gave men was having to manage who does what for the child. Over all, women’s scores were 10 percent higher than men’s.

Is it really true that women end up shouldering more of the parenting burden simply because they like it more — or at least dislike it less? Steven Rhoads, a University of Virginia political-science professor and the study’s lead author, surmised that some women may have inflated their enjoyment scores because of feelings of guilt or cultural pressure. But he also said some research suggests that a woman’s parenting skills are deeply rooted in biology. Women with high levels of testosterone, for instance, often show less interest in babies, while a father’s testosterone levels are known to drop when a new baby arrives, ostensibly a biological mechanism to encourage bonding with the infant.

Image: Mother changing diaper, via Shutterstock.

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Study: Kids Don’t Play Enough at Day Care, and Parents Are the Problem

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Parents who urge their child care providers to focus more on learning than on vigorous physical play may be doing their kids a disservice, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics has found.  Nearly three-quarters of American children between ages 3 and 5 are enrolled in some sort of child care, and the study reports that most of these kids spend most of their days doing sedentary activites.

The Washington Post’s parenting blogger Janice D’Arcy interviewed the study’s lead researcher and reports:

Providers told researchers that they felt pressure from parents to keep children from vigorous play that might lead to injury and also pressure to focus instead on academics.

The third consistent barrier was financial, as some providers said their funds were too limited to purchase up-to-code safe, outdoor equipment. (An ironic twist in this finding is that providers told researchers repeatedly that these “safer” playgrounds were oftentimes the least interesting to children.)

“We were surprised to hear that parents — both low-income and upper-income — were focusing on traditional ‘academics’ (letters, numbers, colors) instead of outdoor play, even for children as young as 3 years old,” lead author Kristen Copeland of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center wrote to me in an e-mail conversation about the report.

“At this age, many children don’t know how to skip, and are still learning how to share, and how to negotiate peer relationships. Yet teachers told us that many parents wanted to know what their child ‘learned’ that day, but were not interested in whether they had gone outside, or had mastered fundamental gross motor skills,” she said.

Interestingly, the study is released at the same time as other research that showed physical fitness to be directly related to improved academic performance, a finding that should

Richard Rende,’s child psychology blogger, offered the following advice to parents who want to avoid sedentary habits in their children:  “If you want to promote the optimal development and health of your toddler, make sure they have plenty of time for free play and physical activity. Convince yourself that this will be as important – if not more so – than the ‘academics’ they are learning during the preschool years. And do what you can to make sure they get it.”

Image: Preschool girl reading, via Shutterstock.

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Census Data: Fathers Becoming More Involved in Child Care

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

In families where mothers are in the workforce, 32 percent of fathers are regular sources of child care, and one in five fathers are the primary source of child care, a new study released by the Census Bureau has found.  The report, a series of tables called “Who’s Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Spring 2010,” tracked a typical week, during which 61 percent of all American children under age 5 had some kind of child care arrangement.

The changing economy accounts for some of the heightened involvement of fathers, researchers say.

“A recession may force families to adjust their child care arrangements, “ Lynda Laughlin, a family demographer at the Census Bureau, said in a statement. “It can trigger unemployment or changes in work hours, thus increasing the availability of fathers to provide child care. It also can reduce available income to pay for child care outside of the home.”

Other highlights from the report include:

  • In households with working moms, family members continue to serve as an important source of child care for preschoolers. In spring of 2010, 30 percent of preschoolers were regularly cared for by their grandparents, 29 percent were cared for by their fathers, and 12 percent received care from a sibling or other relative.
  • Preschoolers with employed black and Hispanic mothers were more likely to be cared for by their grandparents than their fathers. Twenty-nine percent of black preschoolers were cared for by their grandparents, while a quarter (22 percent) were cared for by their fathers. A third of Hispanic preschoolers were regularly taken care of by their grandparent, compared with 29 percent who received care from their fathers.
  • Among preschoolers of employed non-Hispanic white mothers, 30 percent were cared for by their fathers and 29 percent were cared for by their grandparents.
  • Of the 21 million mothers who were employed in the spring of 2010, one-third reported they paid for child care for at least one of their children.
  • Families with an employed mother and children younger than 15 paid an average of $138 per week for child care in 2010, up from $81 in 1985 (in constant 2010 dollars), the first year that these data were collected.

Image: Father playing with his child, via Shutterstock.

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Trend: Grandparents More Active in Grandkids’ Lives

Friday, August 26th, 2011

The slow economy and growing number of active, healthy retirees from the Baby Boom generation mean that more grandparents are taking an active role in their grandchildren’s lives, according to new census data released this week.

The Associated Press reports on the trend, stating that 5.8 million children, or nearly 8 percent of all children, are living with grandparents identified as the head of household.  In 2000, 4.5 million, or 6.3 percent of all children, lived under those arrangements.

The Baby Boomers have swelled the number of grandparents as well.  The data shows that there are currently 62.8 million grandparents in the U.S., the most ever. They are projected to make up roughly 1 in 3 adults by 2020.  From the AP:

These grandparents reject living in senior communities in favor of “aging in place” in their own homes, near family. In 2009, households ages 55 or older spent billions of dollars on infant food, clothes, toys, games, tuition and supplies for grandchildren, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Grandparents are supposed to be old, gray-haired people tottering around, but the vast majority are actually in the work force,” said Francese, who released a paper on the topic last month. “There is not much doubt that the recent recession has brought grandparents and grandchildren together.”

(image via:

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