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Kids Who Attend Daycare Behave Better Than Those Watched at Home, Study Finds

Daycare kids were also found to be more socially adjusted than their stay-at-home peers.

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It’s the great parenting debate: Are kids better off going to a daycare, assuming their parents can afford it, or being raised by a stay-at-home parent or family member. Both sides have their pros and cons. A new study out of France, however, has come down squarely on the side of daycares. It found that children who attended daycare before the age of three were more social and better behaved than children who did not.

To conduct the study, titled Early Childcare Type Predicts Children’s Emotional and Behavioural Trajectories Into Middle Childhood, researchers from Sorbonne University tracked the emotional well-being and development of 1,428 children from when they were born until age eight. During that time, the parents of the children were asked to fill out several surveys that indicated the emotional health of their child, as well as explain how their kid was cared for until age three.

The surveys showed that children who attended daycare or a nursery were far less likely to have behavioral or social problems than kids who were watched by a family member or nanny. According to the study, whether a child attended daycare didn’t just impact their early years either, but had a long-term effect on their development. Dr. Maria Melchior, one of the authors of the study, said that the findings showed that daycare has clear benefits for a child’s development.

“Access to high-quality childcare in the first years of life may improve children’s emotional and cognitive development, prevent later emotional difficulties and promote prosocial behaviors,” Melchior explained.