Children do better in school if their mother stays home for the first year

Daily Mail (UK) 2nd November 2010
Youngsters are less likely to succeed at school if their mothers return to work within a year of their birth, according to a major study. Children of mothers who resume work during their first year of life end up faring worse in formal exams and show signs of being more disruptive. The child’s success was particularly affected if the mother’s work was full-time, the study spanning five decades found. The impact also varied dramatically according to class and whether the child was in a single-parent or two-parent household. Children of middle-class and two-parent families were more likely to be affected negatively than those from working-class or single-parent families, according to the research. This is because in wealthier families, the benefits of a mother working ‘may not outweigh the negative effects of decreased maternal attention and supervision and risk of poor-quality child­­care arrangements’. The analysis of 69 separate studies carried out worldwide since 1960 concluded that overall, across all social classes, a mother returning to work within the first three years did not lead to reduced achievement at school or behavioural problems.