Kids benefit from bonding with teachers.

How Does Both Parents Working Affect Children?

by Alice Drinkworth

The fifties are history. These days, it is likely both mom and dad are bringing home the bacon. In 2011, 63 percent of mothers with children under age 6 were working, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. How does the new dual working-parent family life affect the children? The answer might surprise you.

1. Bonding

Parents, particularly mothers, often fear that leaving their baby for eight hours a day will affect the parent-child bond. Staying connected with your child doesn’t have to take all day. Bonds are formed over time with consistent, loving care. It is true that a child in daycare will become attached to his caregiver--and you wouldn’t want it any other way. This attachment will not supercede your relationship with your child. Look for extra time to bond with your tot: read him a story before bed, eat breakfast together in the morning or rub noses when you tell him goodbye.

2. Childcare

Deciding on a childcare situation is one of the most important decisions you can make. After all, this is where your baby will spend much of his time. How he is treated will have in impact on his development. Whether you choose a childcare center, a nanny or rely on grandma, look for a childcare provider who is responsive to your child and offers a stimulating environment. Young children need love and attention from a bonded caregiver, but they also need opportunity to experiment and learn. By age 3, most children benefit from social interactions and learning environments offered at childcare centers and preschools.

3. More Equality

When both parents are working, parents are forced to divide and conquer when it comes to childcare and household duties. Fathers are more likely to take a greater role in child rearing these days, particularly if mom’s work is on an alternate schedule. Children in these households are less influenced by traditional gender roles, because they know dad can change diapers and pack lunches.

4. Stress

If you are stressed out or depressed, it is going to affect your kid. In this case, being in childcare is going to have a more positive impact on him than staying home with you all day. Australian researchers found that mothers who suffered recurring depression while their children are young were more likely to have children with behavioral problems at 5 years old. Regular childcare mitigated the effects of maternal depression for these tots, with those who spent as little as three hours a week in a formal childcare setting at age 2 showing significantly fewer behavioral problems.

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