March 12, 2015

How does child care affect child development and educational outcomes?

How does child care affect child development and educational outcomes?

Evidence shows that:

  • child care choices in a child’s first few years strongly impact upon their future development
  • children benefit most from parental care
  • formal child care can boost a child’s social skills

The time that parents spend with their children has a huge impact on their social and educational development. As the rate of female employment is increasing, more and more families are coming to rely on external forms of care – which has raised some concern among child development specialists.

A new article by Daniela Del Boca compiles evidence to compare formal and informal child care with parental care, and the effect that these have on a child’s future attainment. When parents are highly educated, children reap strong benefits from parental care. However, she also notes that formal child care can carry developmental benefits, such as boosting a child’s problem-solving skills and preparing children for the transition into formal schooling.

Del Boca concludes that policies which allow generous parental leave and provide affordable, high-quality formal child care are likely to have a positive impact on children’s abilities.

Child care choices and child development, by Daniela Del Boca, was published on 12th March 2015.

IZA World of Labor is a free, online resource created by the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in collaboration with Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Articles focus on global labor economics issues, drawing on empirical, evidence-based research in order to offer pertinent comment and evaluation, and best-practice policy advice.

Daniela Del Boca is Professor of Economics at the University of Turin, and a Fellow of Collegio Carlo Alberto. She is Visiting Professor at New York University and Research Associate of the Institute of Human Development and Social Change at New York University. She joined the IZA as a Research Fellow in 2000.