Children who spend time in nurseries ‘more likely to develop behavioural problems’

The Telegraph is reporting a major study that suggests children who spend time in nurseries or with childminders are more likely to develop behavioural problems such as hyperactivity…

Academics at Oxford University discovered that exposure to some forms of early education contributed to bad behaviour and could be linked to emotional problems.

The study, based on an analysis of infants from almost 1,000 families, showed that the strongest influence on children came from within the home itself.

Children raised in poor families with high levels of parental stress or mental health problems were most at risk of developing emotional problems by the time they started school, it emerged.

The research also uncovered trends relating to children who were in formal child care — away from their parents.

The disclosure will revive debate over the best way to raise children amid a surge in the number of under-fives enrolled in nurseries and with childminders in the past 20 years. Figures from the Department for Education show that 441,000 children under five are in day nurseries while another 272,000 are being looked after by childminders.

Earlier this year, the head of Ofsted warned that too many early years providers were not good enough, particularly in poor areas, and insisted it was wrong that nursery staff were less qualified than vets. The watchdog has now introduced a tougher inspection system…

The report, published in the journal Child: Care, Health and Development, said that “children who spent more time in group care, mainly nursery care, were more likely to have behavioural problems, particularly hyperactivity”.

The study, led by Prof Alan Stein, of Oxford’s Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found that “spending more time in day care centres, over the total period was a predictor of total problem scores”.

“Children who spent more time in day care centres were more likely to be hyperactive,” it said. “Children receiving more care by childminders were more likely to have peer problems.”

The authors added: “The findings in relation to childminding suggest that it might be out of home care rather than group care that raises the risk of behavioural difficulties.”…

More at:  Children who spend time in nurseries ‘more likely to develop behavioural problems’

What do you make of the reported findings from this study? Does it add weight to Elizabeth Truss’s attempts to reform certain aspects of early years education? Please share in the comments or on twitter… 

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Categories: Pre-school.


  1. PeterHutchinso5

    SchoolsImprove Both of my children went to a state nursery in a poor area where they learnt to mix with other children from all backgrounds

  2. PeterHutchinso5

    SchoolsImprove The staff were not as highly trained as vets (!)but cared about each child and provided excellent stimulation for them.

  3. Mike Bell

    No figures are offered, so we cannot tell if the effect is high or low.
    In looking at evidence it is important not to give too much attention to individual studies, but to look at meta-analyses which weigh up all the evidence in the field.
    All researchers have a vested interest in getting a headline – this increases the chances of them getting the next grant.

  4. JeniHooper

    SchoolsImprove choice between child care or home care reflects income of family. Poverty links to stress and pressures in families

  5. VicksLou

    JeniHooper SchoolsImprove hmmm shocking info unfortunately many people don’t have the choice – this is going to cause mass concern

  6. JeniHooper

    VicksLou SchoolsImprove this study makes an age old mistake of assuming an association ie childcare is the cause. Cause may be different

  7. Jill_m_bolton

    VicksLou JeniHooper SchoolsImprove guilty feeling alert. However, Want to read full report to see stats in detail before I pack in job:-)

  8. JeniHooper

    Jill_m_bolton VicksLou SchoolsImprove research only shows a connection between child care and behaviour problems. Doesn’t prove cause.

  9. LaCatholicState

    SchoolsImprove Yet Cameron and Milliband want mothers to abandon their children to these impersonal loveless nurseries. It’s child cruelty

  10. climbdg5

    SchoolsImprove or be more socially aware as they have spent time with their peers, depends on the nursery! #paleosocial

  11. NQTCareers

    SchoolsImprove Totally disagree with this. Both my children attended nursery & thrived from the social interaction with others

  12. looloobyloo

    SchoolsImprove I think depends on the quality if nursery. We used two first one lacked quality interaction with chn 2nd staff were amazing

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