The upcoming opening of the first 24 hour childcare centre “Miracles” in Auckland, featured on TVNZ’s Close Up tonight, while well-intentioned is simply an expansion of the most untested social experiment we have done on children, according to Family First NZ.
“As child expert and author Steve Biddulph says, childcare is too much, too early and too long for our children,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “Why does the government pay millions for professionals to care for our children, but offer no tax breaks or financial recognition for parents who do it?”
“The best daycare in the world can never love a child like a parent does, and young children deserve this love,” says Mr McCoskrie. “The trend towards extended childcare is bad news for children.”
The U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development survey found a direct correlation between time spent in childcare and aggression, defiance, disobedience, and demands having to be met immediately. Surprisingly, the effect was long-term with teachers more likely to report difficult behaviour in childcare children – even up to the age of 12 years old.
The University of British Columbia also discovered that children in daycare were 17 times more hostile than children raised at home, and almost three times more anxious.
And the Canadian Psychological Association’s meta-analysis of 88 studies showed that children in more than 20 hours of childcare per week had an unmistakable negative effect on their development, their behaviour, and issues of attachment.
But of equal concern is that the British Columbia University study found the well-being of the parents also deteriorated. Mothers of children in daycare were more depressed, the quality of their parenting practices declined, and there was a significant deterioration in the quality of their relationship with their spouses / partners.
Similarly, the University of Queensland found that there is a significant health burden for full-time working mums.
“Parents are right to reject extended periods of childcare – and are,” says Mr McCoskrie.
Research just published by the Ministry of Social Development NZ found that a third of all working couples say they are unhappy they both have to work. And almost 60% of mums with children under the age of three are rejecting work and are choosing to be fulltime mums.
A Massey University study last year found that only 2% approved of women working full-time when they had pre-schoolers, and half of those surveyed said that both the pre-schooler and the family suffered when a mum worked even part-time.
“Full-time ‘hands-on’ parenting is a child’s right. For parents, and especially solo parents, they shouldn’t be being forced to compromise good parenting because they have to work full-time to survive financially,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“Parents know that. It’s a pity the government doesn’t.”