Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Effects of mom working during the first year

Child Development recently put out a monograph (sorry, no link; I'm reading an actual hard copy) on the effects on kids of mom working during the first year of their lives. The subjects were non-Hispanic Whites or African American, in the NICHD Study of Early Child Care.

For kids of moms working full time (but not part time), white kids (but not black kids) had significantly lower scores on some (but not all) cognitive measures at 3, 4.5, and in first grade.

But there were some advantages, too: more money, less stress over money (therefore less cortisol flowing in everyone), and putting the kid in a better preschool when she's 3.

The conclusion to the abstract says, "These results confirm that maternal employment in the 1st year of life may confer both advantages and disadvantages and that for the average non-Hispanic white child those effects balance each other." It's a gratifying conclusion, but I wish they had a comma coach.


  1. The thing I find interesting with this study is that they take the time to separate out the "good" daycare centers from the bad, but not the parents who focus on teaching skills at home, vs. the lazy Moms.

    Have you ever seen a study where they only measured the cognitive development of the children with stay at home moms that spent all day teaching their kids things actively?

    I'd be curious to read the research if you have.

  2. Would that be stay-at-home parents, or is this specifically a question about mothers?

  3. BetterParenting.com, I have not seen any study that measured that specifically. There are lots of studies that show the education of the mom is an important indicator of cognitive development in the kid, so you would expect to see a big difference in the case you ask about, too.

    This was not a case where these researchers went out and looked at centers and moms. They parsed data from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care, https://secc.rti.org/ so they had to work what the early study designers decided in 1989 to track.