Childcare Dilemma: Are Children at Risk? (page 2)

By — NYU Child Study Center
Updated on Jul 9, 2010

What are the implications of the study

The study points to an association between specific situations and behaviors, but is careful not to identify cause and effect. We cannot know for sure if a particular caregiver arrangement caused the problems or other variables not yet identified played a role. Further research should now focus on what factors in the childcare environment as well as within the home may account for positive and negative behaviors in children.

What parents and caregivers should do

Parents should not automatically pull their children out of existing caregiver situations nor should they worry about any immediate consequences for their child. By pointing out differences in certain areas, the study could be used as a guide to delineating the most beneficial environment for raising preschoolers—both at home and in childcare environments. The results support existing research regarding the optimal elements of infant and childcare. Infants and toddlers need caregivers—parents as well as non parents who:

  • maximize the goodness of fit between the child's temperament and the parent's style
  • spend time providing undivided individual attention
  • provide a routine and structure
  • maintain a well organized environment
  • listen and attend to the child's physical and emotional needs
  • teach cooperation and sensitivity to others
  • provide cognitive stimulation in the form of talking, reading, and interactive play

Minimizing parent stress—economic and emotional—and effective parent and caregiver education is also crucial for children's healthy development. Improving the quality of both in-home and out-of-the-home environments should go hand in hand. The study points the way towards future research questions needing answers. Specifying optimal childcare will ensure quality care for children regardless of where they are cared for.

About the Authors

Robin F. Goodman, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist specializing in bereavement issues.

About the NYU Child Study Center

The New York University Child Study Center is dedicated to increasing the awareness of child and adolescent psychiatric disorders and improving the research necessary to advance the prevention, identification, and treatment of these disorders on a national scale. The Center offers expert psychiatric services for children, adolescents, young adults, and families with emphasis on early diagnosis and intervention. The Center's mission is to bridge the gap between science and practice, integrating the finest research with patient care and state-of-the-art training utilizing the resources of the New York University School of Medicine. The Child Study Center was founded in 1997 and established as the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry within the NYU School of Medicine in 2006. For more information, please call us at (212) 263-6622 or visit us at

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