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Do day care centres impact a child's development?

Q: My son is 2 years and 9 months old now. Since I am working and I don't have anybody to take care of him I have to leave him in a child care centre. This I have been doing since he was 9 months old. Will there be any drawback in such a child who is brought up in a child care centre? My son has a habit of thumb sucking since he was 2 months old. I breast fed him till he was 6 months old but later he totally refused to take mother's milk which forced me to give a substitute after two continuous days of efforts to feed him my milk. When I consulted my doctor he asked me to just leave him as it is and he will automatically leave this habit once he goes to school. How do I cut down his habit of thumb sucking? He is also hyperactive and unable to concentrate. He doesn't sit for even two minutes if we take him to a new place like friends'/relative's house or any such place, either me, or my husband, have to run behind him or keep a watch on him.

A:1. Impact of day care centre on the child's development depends on 2 aspects- a) quality of environment and care in the centre and b) quality of interaction with parents. If the day-care centre is caring and hygienic and you as parents are giving adequate time, love and attention to the child, there should be no need to worry. 2. Thumb-sucking becomes a source of concern when the child reaches the age of getting permanent teeth. It is better to gradually divert his attention when you find him sucking his thumb. But do not make him too conscious of it as he would then do it behind your back. 3. A child who is between 2-3 years old is usually very active and parents may mistake normal activity levels for hyperactivity. It is best to let the problem be diagnosed by a child psychologist and then take remedial steps as advised.

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