Mother-child bonding

Published: Tuesday 29 February 2000

A new study suggests that the more hours a child spends in day-care centres or with caretakers, the greater is the impact of separation on the mother-child bond. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, USA, examined 1,274 mothers and their children. They found that children who spend more time in day-care centres than with their mothers, have "somewhat less positive" relations with their mother than children who spend more time with their mothers.

The mother and the child are perhaps less "in tune" with one another since they are not together most of the day. By the early 1990s, over 50 per cent of mothers with infants under one year of age worked away from the home in the US. While the long-term impact of such separation is still unknown, Margaret Tresch Owen, a researcher at the University of Texas in Dallas, USA, advises mothers to spend more time with their children ( Developmental Psychology , Vol 35, No 6).

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