Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size

Long Hours in Day Care Increase Risk of Behavior Problems

WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD

April 19, 2001 -- Children who spend extended time in day care risk behavior problems when they reach kindergarten. But most of these kids don't have behavior problems -- and the better their day care, the better their memories and learning skills.

These findings are part of a new report from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of Early Childcare and Youth Development. The report was presented recently at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, held in Minneapolis.

During the study, researchers followed 1,200 children from birth to the age of 4.5 years. They found that 17% of children enrolled in child care for more than 30 hours exhibited aggressive behaviors, while these behaviors were seen in only 8% of children with less than 30 hours of day care per week.

"Children who had more hours in child care were reported by the caregivers and then by their kindergarten teacher to show more behavior problems than children with fewer hours of care, regardless of the quality and type of that care," study presenter Deborah Lowe Vandell, PhD, tells WebMD. "The behavior problems we see are more boisterous, rambunctious children who are more likely to get into fights."

Why some of these children developed these behaviors while most others did not remains a mystery. But Vandell, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Wisconsin, thinks parent-child relationships explain part of the problem.

"I think we do see that more hours in child care also affects mother-child interactions," Vandell says. "When these hours are higher, mother-child interactions are a little less positive. When you [take into account] these interactions you see the effects of child-care hours go down, so it looks like that is part of it."

NICHD researcher Sarah L. Friedman, PhD, is the scientific coordinator and project scientist for the study. She warns that although long hours of child care may increase a child's risk of behavior problems, reducing a child's time in day care can also bring problems -- particularly for working families.

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
mother and daughter talking
child brushing his teeth
Sipping hot tea
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
rl with friends
tissue box
Child with adhd