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High quality child care

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May 14, 2010

Paige Casey and Robbie Berry are two mothers who made different choices when it came to child care.

Casey takes her 2-year-old son Luke to a day care center.

"It's always engagement and activity and creative play going on all day long," she said.

Berry has a sitter watch her son at home.

"We wanted someone who could match his energy," she said.

A new study finds the type of care doesn't affect children as much as the quality. Researchers determined quality by the amount of warmth, support and learning experienced in the sitter's care.

"Children who are in higher quality child care before age 5 actually show a little bit better performance," said Dr. James Griffin, of the National Institutes of Health.

They scored slightly higher on reading and math tests and were better behaved as teenagers. But children who spent the most time with a caregiver tended to be a bit more impulsive and take more risks later in life. Other studies have shown similar results. But this particular one is significant because it followed children from when they were just one month of age all the way until they were 15.

For now, Casey is pleased with the quality of care Luke gets when she can't be with him.

"It offsets the guilt of him being in day care full time for me," she said.

She sees his time here as an investment in his future.

Click here for more on the study.

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