Full-time group daycare is not an adequate substitute for time with Mum

Young Mum teaching toddler

Years ago, if a young girl was asked “What do you want to do when you grow up?” the inevitable answer was “I want to get married and have children.”? Raising children was seen as a very important, full-time job and young women had all the physical attributes necessary for the job along with the caring, nurturing instincts that were deemed necessary.

A young man had the physical equipment for sowing the seed, but the main expectation of him was to work hard to earn the money for the family. Life was relatively simple and the roles were clear-cut. It was unheard of that a young man with his male’s equipment might ‘feel like a girl’ and want to have surgery to put things right, or that a young woman might fancy another young woman rather than one of the gorgeous young rugby-playing males around town. As I said, life was relatively simple.

How things have changed!? I applaud that the undoubted ability that young women have is being recognised, but it saddens me that the very important job of raising children seems to have been relegated to a secondary role.

It seems that the career is more important. Judging by the number of young mums who are busy on a cell phone rather than talking to their children when out walking or on the beach, it seems that their friends are more important than the little people who are so dependent on them as well. It used to be that young women had their children when young (the best time to have them,) then went on to achieve in other areas when their children were growing up, but there seems to be real pressure on them now to do it differently.

It is no wonder that we are hearing more and more about anxiety in children. There seems to be less and less good old-fashioned bonding time, reading together, playing board games, just talking …because everyone is rushing …? to child-care, to pre-school, to work. Always rushing.

Women are encouraged to leave the baby in care, being looked after by a person who is doing the necessary tasks but who does not love it and who does not give it the close contact it needs to feel secure. As I said, it is no wonder that mental health issues in children are becoming a more common problem.

Here are some relevant comments on the topic. The final one, from William and Wendy Dreskin, is a very telling comment and one that all young parents should consider.

I urge you not to delegate the primary child-rearing task to anyone else during your
child?s first three years of life.

Burton White, The Family in America, February 1991.

Young children need an uninterrupted, intimate, continuous connection with their
mothers, especially in the very early month and years. An avalanche of recent
?attachment studies? has shown that although fathers are terribly important to any child?s
development, attachment bonding is overwhelmingly a matter of the quality and
continuance of the relationship between the mother and her children in the early stages of

William Gairdner, The War Against the Family

A little baby needs continuity of care; all our studies suggest that too frequent changes
of the mothering person are hard on children. If a mother works full-time, it is very
difficult for her to provide this continuity. A small child also needs someone who is
intensely interested in him or her, who will spend endless hours, responding and
initiating, repeating sounds, noting nuances of expression, reinforcing new skills,
bolstering self-confidence and a sense of self.

Margaret Mead

Full-time day care, particularly group care, is not an adequate substitute for time spent
with parents, and can be especially harmful for children under the age of three. For two
years we watched day care children in our preschool/day care center respond to the
stresses of eight to ten hours a day of separation from their parents with tears, anger,
withdrawal, or profound sadness, and we found, to our dismay, that nothing in our own
affection and caring for these children would erase this sense of loss and abandonment?from the parents […] is a critical factor.

William and Wendy Dreskin, The Day Care Decision


by The Blonde