Spending many hours in centre-based child care does not lead to more aggression and disobedience in children, according to a new study using data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa).
Data from 72,000 mothers and their children, including siblings, were obtained from MoBa. Using questionnaires, mothers were asked about aggression and obedience at both 18 and 36 months and the amount of time their children spent in child care. In addition to comparing children from different families, the researchers compared siblings who had different amounts of child care.
"These are exciting findings because they contradict research from the USA. There are two likely reasons for this; one is the nature of Norwegian centre-based child care, the other concerns research methods" says primary author Henrik Zachrisson, researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the Norwegian Centre for Child Behavioural Development.
Favourable work-family policy in Norway
"Norwegian families have easy access to good quality centre-based child care. Each carer is responsible for fewer children than in most other countries. We also offer paid parental leave which means that children usually begin child care at one year old or later, in contrast to the USA where children may start when they are just a few months old. So the Norwegian work-family policy could be part of the explanation," explains Zachrisson.