Childcare is better for kids' development than informal minding
Being cared for outside the home has a "significant" effect on a child's development, a UK study has found.
In an ongoing study of 6,000 children in England between the ages of two and seven, researchers found that kids from both privileged and disadvantaged backgrounds benefit more from professional childcare or childminding than 'informal' eduction and care, such as minding by friends and relatives.
They found early education had a "significant positive effect" on language by age two and on socio-emotional development (including behaviour such as hyperactivity and co-operation with others) at age three.
However, the researchers also found that factors in the home do make a big difference to children.
"A rich home learning environment, how often parents used measures to set limits for child behaviour, and degree of closeness between the parent and the child were associated with improved language and non-verbal development," reads the report.
The report also revealed that more than 35 hours of formal childcare a week can have a negative effect on development.
This new information comes from the Study of Early Education and Development, a long-term research project being carried out by the UK's National Centre for Social Research
"The results from our study show how important children’s early environments, both at home and out-of-home, are for helping their development and well-being. This work can help governments, practitioners and parents make the best choices for children.” Professor Edward Melhuish, the report's author.