A major new study has found that children are less likely to do well at school if their mums return to work within a year of their birth.
The findings, publicised by the Daycare Trust charity who campaign for cost-effective childcare, revealed that children whose mums went back to work during the first year of their life fared worse in formal exams and showed signs of being more disruptive.
The study was undertaken by Macalester College, Minnesota, and the University of California and examined 69 separate studies carried out worldwide since 1960. It found that the impact on children differed according to the family's class and structure.
The research found that children from middle-class and two-parent families were more likely to be affected negatively than youngsters from working-class or single-parent families. Middle-class and upper-class children suffered more if their mothers returned to work within their first three years. The report said this was 'significantly associated with decreases in formal measures of achievement'
But Anand Shukla, the acting chief executive of the Daycare Trust said it was wrong to say that having a working mum was bad for children:
'We note in particular the benefits for both low income and lone parent families,' he said. 'But it is important parents are able to rely on high quality, affordable childcare. Benefits of a year's paid parental leave – which Daycare Trust has called for – are also borne out by this research.'
What do you think?
Are children better off when mum stays at home whilst they are young?
Or is that simply not possible in these times?