In this article we're going to discuss the fine line between too much child care and just the right amount of it.
In today's economy it is a fact of life that it isn't always possible to survive on one income. All too often in a family, both parents have to work for a living. When children aren't involved in the mix this isn't too big a problem since even if just one of the couple were working they still wouldn't see each other until the worker came home. But in the case of a child it's a big difference. With both parents out of the house the child, depending on its age, needs to be cared for. Even a young teenager shouldn't be left all alone day after day. Teenagers can get into a lot of trouble unsupervised, even for just a couple of hours.
But what about your small child, the one who needs care all day? Certainly finding care isn't difficult, as there are many daycare centers available. But that isn't the issue of this article. The issue is the question, "Just how beneficial is constant child care to your child?" This isn't as easy a question as it appears to answer.
Sure, we can all agree that you can't leave a 2 year old home alone all day. Yes, the child needs to be cared for if both parents are out of the house working. What needs to be addressed is the pluses and minuses of both parents working, making it necessary for the child to be cared for on a constant basis.
While the psychology of how a child will react to a stranger caring for him as opposed to how that child reacts to his own parent is beyond the scope of this article, it can't be ignored. Studies show that children that grow up in a home environment with at least one parent caring for them, grow up better adjusted than children who are left to daycare for years on end.
"But we have no choice! We both have to work!" come the screams. Well, actually, you don't have to both go to work. You choose to both go to work. Big difference. In a democracy like the United States, which is also the worst offender in this case, you are free to work or not work. But that isn't the issue either. The issue is in doing what's best for the child.
There are arguments on both ends of the spectrum. There are those who say that if the child is financially provided for and thus has all the "essentials" in life, this will make up for the lack of time that child spends with his parents. Others say that there is no substitute for a mother's love and children who grow up in daycare centers grow up to be troubled teens.
The arguments will continue. But what the parents can do in order to help insure that their child does grow up to be well adjusted is to spend as much time with the child as possible, even if both have to work.
In the second part of this two part series we'll discuss several ways that the parent can provide daycare and still give the child the quality time he or she needs to be with at least one of the parents.