Child Care in the Family. A Review of Research and Some by Alison Clarke-Stewart

By Alison Clarke-Stewart

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Extra resources for Child Care in the Family. A Review of Research and Some Propositions for Policy

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Middle-class families tend to be smaller than families of low SES and are more likely to have both parents living at home; middle-class homes are less crowded, tend to be less noisy, and often contain more stimulating objects with which children may play. The attitudes middle-class mothers reveal in interviews tend to be more positive toward and accepting of children of this age than those ex- EARLY CHILDHOOD: SDC MONTHS TO THREE YEARS 23 pressed by poorer and less educated mothers—and these attitudes are reflected in maternal behavior.

If locomotor opportunities and toys are available, motor skills develop satisfactorily. If the institution is brightly painted, well equipped with stimulating objects, and staffed by caretakers who have a knowledge of child development, the children are generally happy and of normal IQ, but their language and social adjustment scores are still low. When vocalization and social development of particular children are normal, it has been attributed to sustained individual attention from one or a few caretakers.

Spontaneous and responsive social behaviors are highly correlated, for both mother and child. Yet it has often been assumed that the mother is the causal agent. Longitudinal research demonstrates that this is simply not so. Overall, the frequency of the child's positive social behavior to the mother (looking, smiling, vocalizing) seems to affect how much time mother and child spend together, and how responsive the mother is to the child's distress. The child's smile elicits the mother's—not just immediately, but over a period of months the frequency of maternal smiling increases.

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