That was the sound of millions of working mothers breathing a sigh of relief, after a new study found that the decision of many mothers to work during the first year of their children’s lives is not such a bad thing after all.
The study showed that, over all, children whose mothers went back to full-time work within the first 12 months after birth performed worse on a series of cognitive tests. But there there were big exceptions: the study also found that children whose mothers improved the family income significantly, or selected high quality child care, or remained sensitive to their children did not have any cognitive setbacks when compared with children of stay-at-home mothers.
The study, released by the Society for Research and Child Development last week, was conducted by three Columbia professors: Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, a child development specialist; Wen-Jui Han, an associate professor of social work; and Jane Waldfogel, a professor of social work and public affairs. It examined data collected on 1,364 children by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care.
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Hmm, so maybe if all those working mothers had access to a good childcare provider their kids would turn out just fine. Shocking, no?