Daycare Delinquents?

Working parents who depend on daycare to keep their kids safe and occupied while they’re on job may be able to relax (at least a little anyway) based on the latest research out of Norway.

Researchers there, studying the impact of attending daycare on the behavior of young children, found spending long hours (40 or more) in such settings didn’t have a deleterious effect on their behavior.  The findings, recently reported in the journal Child Development, are interesting because they contradict some smaller studies conducted in the United States that did find a correlation between daycare kids and behavior issues down the road.

What’s intriguing about the study–a fact  researchers say may explain the discrepancy– is the vast differences between the approaches to child-care and family leave in America and Norway. Virtually all parents in Norway are granted parental leave of one year, meaning that many Norwegian children do not enter daycare until after their first birthday.

The study therefore raises some provocative questions for American parents, employers and child advocates about whether similar policies might be beneficial to children for the long haul.