Children who go to nursery develop social skills quicker

By Faeza
25 November 2016

Children whose mothers go out to work develop quicker than those whose mums stay at home, new research claims.

Scientists at Oxford University and the London School of Economics suggest tots who go to nursery and spend time with other relatives saw skills such as social interaction and talking a lot improve faster than youngsters who stay at home with their mothers.

The study looked at answers from over 800 mothers as part of the German Socio-Economic Panel, which asked them about their financial status, education and the progress of their little ones when aged two and three. Mothers were asked questions like, 'Can your child cut a piece of paper with scissors?' and 'Can your child speak in two-word sentences?'

Those at nursery had a 10 per cent positive impact on their everyday skills, while being looked after by grandparents boosted talking by five per cent and social skills by 10 per cent. It was found activities like songs and painting helped develop dexterity.

Meanwhile, kids whose mums didn't work and stayed with them had five per cent negative impact on everyday and social skills.

"It should give parents some reassurance that nurseries are not going to harm their children, and are likely to be beneficial," Laurence Roope, of Oxford University, said.

"It seems that what is important is engaging in interactive activities. It could be there is a trade-off. Going out to work brings in more money for the family, which leads to more financial security and the ability to partake in more activities.

"But it might mean that the bond between parent and child is not as great, particularly if the parent is tired or stressed."

He noted that it's important for workplaces to provide mothers with flexible hours and a good quality nursery too.

Findings were published in the journal Social Choice and Welfare.

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