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Too Much Time Spent at Childcare Centers Linked to Poor Behaviors

Update Date: Oct 31, 2014 12:41 PM EDT

In many families with children, both parents work. Due to this set up, young children often go to childcare centers during the day. In a new study, researchers examined the relationship between the amount of time a child stays at a center and the child's behavior, and discovered that long-term stay is linked to the development of poor behaviors.

For this study, the researchers from the University of Adelaide's School of Population Health in Australia analyzed data collected on more than 3,200 children from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. That study tracked children's development based on different kinds of childcare via interviews and surveys with parents and teachers.

"By the age of three, 75% of children in this study had spent regular time in the care of someone other than the parent," Ph.D. student Angela Gialamas, from the University's Better Start Child Health and Development Research Group, said reported by Medical Xpress.

The researchers found that children who spent a lot of time at a childcare center during the first three years of their life exhibited more signs of externalizing problem behaviors, which included hyperactivity, disruptive behaviors and aggressive tendencies, such as losing their temper and fighting with other children. The team noted that childcare under the supervision of grandparents and nannies was not linked to an increase in these behavioral problems. Despite these behavioral issues, the researchers found that being cared for at a center was also tied to some positive effects.

"Our study showed that children in center-based care were less likely to be unhappy and clingy in new situations, according to parent and teacher reports," Gialamas added. "So there are both positive and negative effects seen among this group of children."

The researchers stressed the importance of conducting more studies to better understand how childcare centers affect "children's learning, development and transition to school."

The study, "Time spent in different types of childcare and children's development at school entry: an Australian longitudinal study," was published in the journal, Archives of Disease in Childhood.

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