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UNC Study Suggests Working Moms Spend Quality Time With Kids

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FAYETTEVILLE — According to a new study from UNC-Chapel Hill, working mothers may be hurting their relationship with their children by putting them in day care.

The study suggests working moms slow down and spend more quality time with your kids. Without it, the bond between parent and child could suffer.

Katherine Southerland likes to visit her son in his day care classroom but that's not always possible. She works full time and her job doesn't stop after business hours.

"I think as parents, we get a little obsessed with the house being clean and taking care of errands," Southerland said.

More than half of the children in the U.S. attend day care. In 1995, there were about 21 million children under the age of six in the U.S.

Forty-five percent of children under age one are in child care on a regular basis.

Researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill say the more hours young children spend in day care, the less they relate to their mother.

Eva Hansen, Director of the Cumberland County Partnership for Children, says you don't necessarily have to throw out your "to-do" list to find time for your kids.

"It's about scheduling and prioritizing," Hansen said. "When you're making dinner, try not to put yourself under so much pressure that you are saying, 'get away, go play,' engage them in dinnertime activities too."

Hansen says the study also confirms the need for the religious community to plan more activities for the whole family, and for employers to create more family-friendly policies, such as extended lunches. That would give parents a chance to participate in some of the special events many day care centers hold during lunch hour.

The study says the day care factor fades as children get older. Other elements such as the mother's education level and the quality of the day care may have an even greater effect on the relationship moms have with their kids.