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 Children looked after by grandparents 'are naughtier than those who spend day in nursery'

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PostSubject: Children looked after by grandparents 'are naughtier than those who spend day in nursery'   Tue Feb 10, 2009 4:39 pm

Children looked after by grandparents 'are naughtier than those who spend day in nursery'

By Laura Clark
Last updated at 2:37 AM on 10th February 2009

Research says children looked after by their grandparents are less likely to be ready for school

Young children looked after by grandparents are more likely to be badly behaved than those sent to nursery, a study claims today.

They tended to have wider vocabularies, but were also more likely to show 'problem behaviour' and find it harder to get on with other children, said researchers.

They were also less likely to be ready for school, according to the study by the Institute of Education, a University of London research body widely viewed as left-wing.

The Institute tracked 4,800 children of working mothers and found those sent to nurseries and playgroups had a better understanding of colours, letters, numbers, sizes, comparisons and shapes.

But other experts said the findings appeared to contradict studies which found that care by grandparents was linked to happiness and security.

They said grandparents often developed almost as close a bond with children as parents and were able to give children one-to-one attention.

Siobhan Freegard, founder of parenting website, said the emotional benefits to children of being cared for by a grandparent may outweigh any short-term head start at school.

'There is a lot of research saying that children who went to full-time nurseries are ahead of their peers when they start school,' she said.

'But that head start is not sustained. It shouldn't be used so often as justification for putting children in daycare settings from a young age.

'There is plenty of time for education after the age of three. For a very small child, there are massive advantages in terms of brain and emotional development of having one-on-one attention from an adult who loves them.'

One Government-funded study previously found that toddlers put in daycare for long hours are 'significantly' more likely to bully or tease other children, and to demand their own way.

Other Government-funded studies have found wide variation in the quality of day nurseries and creches, with the worst linked to slower progress at school and behavioural problems.

The latest research, publicly-funded through the Economic and Social Research Council, surveyed working parents when their children were nine months old and again when they were three.

The three-year-olds were given simple assessments of their vocabulary and readiness for school.

Youngsters who were being looked after by grandparents at nine months were considered at the age of three to have more behavioural problems, judging from parental interviews, than those who had been in the care of a nursery, creche, childminder or nanny.

This was particularly true of boys, and mainly manifested itself in difficulties getting on with other children.

But while youngsters were also judged generally less prepared for formal education, they tended to have wider vocabularies and more accurate speech.

Researchers suggested that while grandparents may struggle to provide physical activities for children, they compensate with plenty of conversation.

Dr Kirstine Hansen, research director said: 'Our research shows that grandparent care contributes both positively and negatively to child outcomes and, perhaps with government support, this situation could be improved.'

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