Friday, May 14, 2010

Day Care -- Is It Risky? Stop the Guilt Already

Just when I was thinking I was okay in the balance of working and child care, this study comes out in the Los Angeles Times this morning.

A comprehensive study of behavior of children who were in a day care setting as toddlers reveals that they are more likely to engage in risky behavior as teens.  Great.  Just what us moms who work outside the home need. And while the data and findings are marginal--there is only a slight rise in risky behavior in teens who spent a lot of hours in day care and those who mostly spent their toddlerdom at home--this feeds my paranoia and adds more worry to my already exploding head that is constantly spinning with blather like, "am I spending enough time with them?" "Are they learning bad habits after school?" "Will they learn the social skills necessary to fit in in school while still learning academically?"

See how this works?  The study was about day care centers and toddlers, not school-age children.  But does that stop my worry?  No way.

I have a tremendously flexible job, one that allows me long breaks in the year with time to spend with the children, yet I focus on the 3 days a week, 2 hours a day,  9 months a year that they're outside school and my care. 

"Whatever" to this study I say.  My favorite quote in the article (you gotta love journalists who cover all sides of a story) comes from Ellen Galinsky, author of "Mind in the Making" and president of the Families and Work Institute in New York, "Risk-taking, thinking creatively, taking on a challenge, trying something new -- all these aspects of impulsiveness and risk-taking can be a positive thing."  She this may be helpful to tomorrow's workforce.

If my kids' experiences at their marvelous Child Development Center taught them anything, I hope it's that it's okay to allow lots of people to take care of them and teach them different perspectives of the world.  Go ahead, jump in and take a risk.  Just don't ask me to stop beating myself up about it.


notmytree said...

I agree, risk-taking can be a good thing. I seriously doubt that with such stellar parents that T1 and T2 would take the bad sort of risks. (:

Jillian, Inc said...

Amen. There is a study proving every side of every issue. Just the other day at the park an acquanitenance's child {who does not go to any sort of daycare...with mom 24/7} pushed my son {in daycare 50 hrs a week} off the swing. My son said, "Ms. Dee {at daycare} says it's not nice to do dose fings to other people. You should be nice to me 'cause I am nice to you."

Cafe Observer said...

Well, all I'll say is that, in general, I wood epect better care from parents who do it out of love for their children, than those who do it primarily becuz it's a job & they get paid for it.

However, don't beat yourself up if you don't feel like the 110% perfect parent.

Margo said...

It's all about the quality of time. My son LOVES his daycare.. his "school" and his friends there. And I love the care and teaching and socialization it provides. I also spend QUALITY time with him while he's at home! That's what matters. Being unemployed and looking for work, my biggest fear was not being able to afford his daycare at all... he loves it there, and it broke my heart to think of taking him out. It's a great education and great friends, and he has a terrific time when he's home with me TOO! Well-rounded, I say!

Amy said...

To heck with the studies. You obviously love and adore your kids and that is what is most important. And I agree. Risk-taking can be the best skill. It just depends upon us to direct it toward positive things rather than negative.