Swedish experience suggests that it’s not necessarily a good idea.
A sociologist, Jonas Himmelstradt, has warned MPs that toddlers under the age of three shouldn’t be in daycare.
According to a report in the Times by Social Affairs correspondent Rosemary Bennett, Sweden, once seen as a model for family policy with 95% of children aged 2 to 5 in daycare, is now seeing the results of children going into daycare too early.
Those children, now teenagers, suffer serious psychological problems such as anxiety, perform badly at school, and are unmanageable outside school being dangerously attached to their peer groups according to Himmelstrand.
He says “the Swedish Utopia is a myth“. Discipline in Swedish schools is among the worst in the OECD (developed countries).
Daycare means parents lose a grip on their responsibilities and cannot set limits. Psychological disorders have tripled since the introduction of daycare and academic results have fallen from the top of the international table to average as children became unteachable and truancy levels rocket.
In addition to getting more children into daycare the government is also planning to change the rules so that child care assistants can look after more children than at present.
If the Swedish example is anything to go by the government should think carefully about its proposals.