Toddlers, Babies Spending Long Hours In Daycare Could Be Stressed, Study Says

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald March 01, 04:00 am
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A new study showed that children who stay in daycare for eight or nine hours a day have higher stress levels.
(Photo : Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

Toddlers and babies who are left at daycare centers could be stressed. A new study conducted by experts in Norway revealed long hours spent in these facilities contribute to children's elevated stress levels.

Experts looked into the condition of 112 toddlers in 85 Norway daycare centers for the study published in the journal Early Child Development and Care. They learned that toddlers and babies who stayed in these facilities for eight to nine hours had high cortisol levels.

Cortisol is the hormone that determines stress. Experts further learned the kids' cortisol levels dropped during days when they are at home and in the company and care of their parents. In Norway, toddlers and babies spend an average of 40 hours a week in daycare while their parents are at work, according to Science Daily.

One factor that contributes to the stress of kids in daycare is unfamiliarity in their environment. Toddlers and babies take some time to adjust to their surroundings and the stress could be further exacerbated by the presence of other kids. Having no parents around for those long hours also contribute to the stress triggers.

It's still unclear, however, what long-term effects this produces in the children, according to Psych Central. Experts pointed out the need for a larger study to determine other implications.

In the United States, some 16 percent of children under the one and 26 percent of children under two are enrolled in daycare facilities. Some 33 percent of kids under five are in facilities or cared for by nannies or relatives at home, according to Slate.

There is a host of advantages and disadvantages to putting kids in daycare especially for someone so young. Depending on the quality of care and the system in the facility, the child could grow up to become well-adjusted socially and academically, or they could have behavioral and learning problems.

Do you put your kids in daycare? Have you noticed if they experience any stress? Talk to us about your experience in the comments below!

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