Choosing the Right Daycare

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Knoxville (WVLT) - It's a tough decision, you want to provide the best quality care for your kids, but if you work, it's hard to do it yourself.

A study released this week by the National Institutes of Health ties daycare to behavior problems in sixth graders.

We sent our Whitney Daniel out to learn how to weigh the benefits against the problems and what you should consider when choosing a daycare.

"The bottom line is: Does your child like going to daycare?" Child Psychiatrist Dr. John Robertson says attitude is everything.

In fact, a new study ties daycare to behavior problems, but experts say it isn't all about care outside of the home.

"I suspect the behavior problems are largely related to two working parents, stressed out, they have difficulty finding time outside of daycare for all the children's needs," Dr. Robertson says.

For children younger than three, those needs include a loving, nurturing teacher who can gently and positively enforce the rules.

"We teach the children that it's a community and a family," says Lisa Graves from Garden Montessori School.

Kids older than three need more of an educational environment.

At Garden Montessori School, they structure their daily activities instead of group play.

"We have a schedule and we're consistent," Graves says. "They're not just coming in and playing together but they're actually learning from each other."

UT's Early Learning Center for Research and Practice focuses on quality child care, they caution you as you read the results of any study.

"The parenting context is most important for children," says Dr. Rena Hallam from UT.

And don't let a study sway your decision to use daycare.

"I'm worried about that. I think parents should be concerned where and how their children spend their time and the quality for child care," Dr. Hallam.

While your individual preference is important, experts suggest you check state statistics, too.

In Tennessee, there are two tools to help you: the "Child Care Evaluation And Report Card" and the "Star Quality Child Care" programs.

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