The study, published in Psychological Science, interviewed parents of 939 Norwegian children, aged 6 months to 4 years, who attended non-parental child care. Each child's aggression (tendency to hit, push, and bite) was reported by their teacher.
It was found that as the length of time a child remained daycare increased, the impact on aggression actually decreased.
Related: Daycare Dilemmas
At age 2, there was some evidence of small effects of early, extensive, and continuous care on aggression, lead author Eric Dearing said in a press release. "Yet, by age 4 — when these children had been in child care for 2 additional years — there were no measurable effects of child care in any of our statistical models," he said. "This is the opposite of what one would expect if continuous care was risky for young children."
That's welcome news for working parents. "From a public perspective, our findings are important because they should help ease parents' fears about the potential harms of early non-parental child care," Dearing said.
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn