The daycare revolution is entirely unprecedented. For the first time in history, parents are choosing to have their children cared for by strangers. For the first time in history, parents are being told that commercialised care is and should be the norm for every child. Those who choose not to avail themselves of the childcare industry are perceived to be either religious extremists or shut-ins… or both.
We are reassured, over and over again, that childcare is good for children – socially, emotionally, educationally. We are told that one-on-one care does not afford a child the same wide table of benefits that a daycare centre can bestow. And we are told this, not by psychologists, child health experts or mothers, but by the industry itself who is trying to sell us its product.
In a clever marketing strategy, the childcare industry has made the humble stay-at-home-mother believe that what she gives her child on a daily basis does not stack up against what the local daycare centre offers her neighbours child.
What they fail to include in their advertising are the numerous studies conducted in the past decade which outline the many adverse effects of non-family based care.
Such harmful effects include increased risk of infectious diseases (1), lowered to non-existent one-on-one time with carer, (which lowers the chance of optimal brain development) (2) and increased incidence of disruptive behaviour in later years (3).
Internationally acclaimed psychologist and author, Steve Biddulph writes in his comprehensive book Raising Babies- Should Under 3s Go To Nursery that "Children at this age - under three - want one thing only: the individual care of their own special person. Even the best run nurseries cannot offer this."
This generation of children thrown into daycare centres en masse has become part of a hideous social experiment, which is proving to be nothing less than damaging for the child involved and his/her family life. Millions of parents have embraced the childcare revolution without any proof that it actually does a child good, and increasingly, in the face of comprehensive studies and reports which prove otherwise.
“Governments have failed to protect families from corporate pressures and many people can no longer afford to care for their own children," Biddulph continues. And he is right. A Government which rewards parents who thrust their children into corporate care by reimbursing them the cost, successfully strips children of their right to a full-time parent.
© Eva Whiteley 2009
(1) Ferson MJ. Control of infections in child care. Med J Aust 1994; 161: 615-618
(2) Australian Institute of Family Studies conference, February 12, 2003
(3) National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Childcare and Youth Development, March 2007 (US)