Are kids better off at nursery than staying at home?

According to recent reports sending children to a nursery is likely to be better for them than being at home.

The nursery allows kids to interact with other children and thereby develop their social skills. Besides engaging in interactive activities allows them to enhance everyday skills as well.

On the other hand, research shows that kids that stay at home have much lesser speech and motor skills. The absence of intermingling with other kids while at the same time not getting enough dexterity at home to draw, paint and sing makes home staying children less adaptable to changes and different environments.

The opportunity for nursery going kids to sing, play and engage in a host of other both studious and playful activities makes them more acceptable to changes and increases their adaptability skills.

Reading or telling stories, singing children’s songs and visiting other families were unsurprisingly also both found to have a positive impact on talking capabilities

Engaging kids in interactive activities seems to be the key that makes nursery going children have an edge over their stay at home counterparts.

This may come as a huge relief to parents unable to give up work to look after their children.

“It is reassuring that nurseries are not going to harm our children, and are likely to be beneficial in the long run,” according to one the respondent parents participating in the research.

There are of course various different ways of interpreting the research results. There could possible be a trade-off.

While on one hand, going out to work brings in extra income leading to financial security and opportunities to take part in more activities, on the other hand, bonding between the parent and child may not be as great.

Generally a parent may come home tired or stressed and both quality and quantity time may be stretched a bit too far for proper sustainable bonding and understanding.

The study was based on answers from the German Socio-Economic Panel which surveyed more than 800 mothers and quizzed them about their financial status, education and the progress of their children when they were aged two and three.

The children of working mothers develop better than stay-at-home mums, the research found questions such “Can your child cut pieces of paper with scissors?” or “Can your child speak in two-word sentences?” were used to gauge how well youngsters were developing.


Prof Paul Anand, an author of the report, said: “This is one of first economic studies to look at the behaviour of very young children and it comes out with positive messages about activity involvement with parents, and shows that different activities promote different skills.

“The results point to the potential value of thinking not just in terms of a general home learning environment but also about the specific kinds of activities that parents need to engage in, if they want to promote the acquisition of particular skills.”

The researchers said children were often exposed to more stimulating activities at nursery, as well as interacting with new children and adults, which helped their development.

The study also found that spending more time with grandparents boosted talking and social skills and having a mother with more years of education also improved early development.

The researchers examined the effect of certain activities on young children and found that reading and shopping made them happiest.

Children with more siblings also had better skills in all areas, suggesting that they are learning from older siblings, despite having less time interacting with a parent.

The researchers said the benefit of nursery appeared to increase as children spent more time there although it did suggest limited time at nurseries and more interactive participation between parents and kids especially during weekends when there is more family time and parents and less stressed out work-wise.

However, it seems nursery has a significant impact on the overall development of the child.

The research was published in the journal Social Choice and Welfare.

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