Good news for every working mother
To every mother that has ever had to place her child in care or every mother who has decided that childcare is the right place for their child this is going to make you happy.
A study of 5000 Australian children recruited as infants in 2004 has found that whether a child goes into formal care as a baby or a toddler, there are no long term negative impacts on the child.
Researchers also say kids who are put in childcare between the ages of two and four tend to perform better at school.
Based on thousands of children tracked in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, the study examined how the children got on with the other children and with childcare workers in the centre , the level of problem behaviours they exhibited, and how much they appeared to enjoy what they were doing during the day amongst other things. The findings were based on reports by teachers and parents.
A significant difference between the groups was apparent on only one measure - boys! Boys who had been in a combination of centre-based and home care as babies tended to have more conflicts with childcare workers.
Charles Sturt University's Linda Harrison told The Australian "Some evidence that type of care effects were moderated by child gender, with boys being negatively affected by receiving a mix of home and centre care arrangements, but this was only found for one outcome -- conflict with carers. "This may be connected with care quantity in infancy, as children receiving mixed care tend to be in care for longer hours, overall, than children attending one type of care only.
"We often see research that boys are more vulnerable in a range of different ways so it could be a greater vulnerability to adapting to a degree of change in a week."
The study also tested whether longer hours in care - another contentious issue - was associated with worse outcomes.
It found the more the toddlers were at the centre, the happier and more comfortable they were, but they also had more conflicts with carers.
''The biggest influence on children's academic achievement and behaviour remains family background rather than childcare,'' Dr Harrison said.