Grandparents ‘better than nurseries’ for young children’s development

Telegraph 20 March 2012
Spending time in a loving family environment can help boost children’s vocabulary and make them more emotionally secure, it found. While the experience of being in a more formal setting such as a nursery can   help prepare children for starting school, even this was not a major   advantage in the long term, the study concludes. The findings come in a review of research papers into child development carried out for the think tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Nuffield Foundation.

One study the researchers reviewed asked parents to rank what motivated them to chose grandparents with “trust” coming top followed by “love”. Another set of data collected from children born in the year 2000 appears to show that those looked after by their grandparents “experience slightly higher vocabulary development in the early years”. The report adds: “There is also evidence of a positive association between socio-emotional development and being looked after by grandparents among more educated families. “This was still apparent when the children reached age five.” But the opposite appeared to be the case among children from disadvantaged backgrounds who benefited overall from formal childcare. While being in formal childcare did appear to make children initially more “school ready”, the researchers added: “We should note that being cared for by grandparents did not significantly put children at a disadvantage in school readiness compared to children not in formal childcare, but rather that it provided no advantage, while formal childcare did.”