Developmentally, these child caretakers have shown certain positive associations that affect their future resilience in the face of adversity. Caring for disabled parents raises their sense of responsibility and maturity, increases social and life skills, fosters closer parent-child relationships, and enhances a child’s early sense of purpose. Children caring for sick or disabled parents also experience less anxiety surrounding their parents compared to children who have an additional caregiver for their disabled parent. This is because the children understand more about the illness and feel more in control over the situation.
Many children in Norway start daycare between 10 months and 3 years old. Funded parental leave for working parents is either 44 weeks with full pay, or 54 weeks with 80% pay (both up to a certain level only). The government guarantees daycare for all children that are at least 1 year old by 1 August. Coverage is still not 100%, but most regions are getting close (2011). There's a maximum price to enable all families to afford it.
Given that the cost of child care may be nearly as large as one parent’s entire salary, a worker’s choice to leave the workforce or work part time so that his or her family doesn’t need to cover those costs may appear to be an economically rational decision. And while there are mothers who choose to stay home for other reasons, short-term economic pressures are often part of the equation. But this choice is not without consequences.
The majority of parents now work, regardless of the age of their children. Parents are workers and workers are parents, both out of necessity and preference: 70.5 percent of mothers are in the labor force, including 64.8 percent of mothers with a child under the age of 6. That’s in large part because many families in today’s economy rely on two incomes in order to pay the bills. In fact, the only married-couple families that have seen real income growth over the past 30 years are families where both parents work.
Studies have been done to get an annual salary estimate for a female caregiver. One survey suggested that the value of a mother's work, if she were paid the average wage for each task she performs in running the household and caring for her children, is $117,867 per year. The reason for the high salary is because mothers typically perform about 10 different job functions throughout the week. Some of these job functions are poorly paid, including cleaning, driving, caring for children, and washing laundry, but others, especially financial and managerial tasks that the survey equated with being the Chief Executive Officer of a company, are highly paid. Neither a nanny nor a housekeeper makes nearly as much money, and almost all of these tasks except direct child care also have to be done by non-parents. The value of unpaid childcare is also an important figure in various legal entities. Expert witnesses (most often economists) are occasionally brought into court cases to give estimates on the value of unpaid labor. By giving estimation, the plaintiff or defendant can be fairly compensated for their labor.
The story becomes even bleaker for mothers who are living below the poverty line. As Table 1 shows, 26 percent of working mothers in poverty pay for child care out of pocket, and those expenses eat up nearly half—42.6 percent—of their monthly wages. It is vital that these women have work support, since they are more likely to be single parents and since seeking paid employment is required to have access to certain governmental benefits. Employment is also an important pathway into the middle class, but when child care is as expensive as it is, it places a disproportionate burden on the mothers who can least afford it.
Local legislation may regulate the operation of daycare centers, affecting staffing requirements. Laws may mandate staffing ratios (for example 6 weeks to 12 months, 1:4; 12 months to 18 months, 1:5; 18 months to 24 months, 1:9; et and even higher ratios for older children). Legislation may mandate qualifications of supervisors. Staff typically do not require any qualifications but staff under the age of eighteen may require supervision. Typically, once the child reaches the age of twelve, they are no longer covered by daycare legislation and programs for older children may not be regulated.
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Plato, according to Elaine Hoffman Baruch, around 394 B.C., argued that a system of child care would free women to participate in society. Among the early English authors to devote a book to child care in the modern sense was Elizabeth Dawbarn (The Rights of Infants, or... Nursing of Infants, 1805). Day care, daycare, child day care, or childcare is the care of a child during the day by a person other than the child's legal guardians, typically performed by someone outside the child's immediate family. Day care is typically an ongoing service during specific periods, such as the parents' time at work.
Childcare varies dramatically across cultures. These discrepancies are attributed to the homestead and household environments. That is, the type of work performed by adult caretakers in a given community strongly influence the type of childcare used. In agricultural/ horticultural societies where work is done to provide sustenance for the community, siblings and similar-aged children are responsible for younger children. While many global communities prefer children aged 7–10 for designated caregiving responsibilities, children no younger than 12 are preferred in the Western world where paid childcare is common.