We can breathe a sigh of relief as researchers have shared today that being a working mum does not affect our children’s vocab and reasoning.
Children from similar family backgrounds develop comparable vocabulary and reasoning abilities even if their mothers’ work histories in the first five years after birth are different.
Dr Michael Kühhirt from the Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology at the University of Cologne and Dr Markus Klein from the University of Strathclyde found that exaggerated hopes and fears for the consequences of mothers’ employment for children may be unfounded, at least with regard to early language acquisition and cognitive ability.
These results are based on 2,200 children of the Growing Up in Scotland study, who were followed from roughly 10 months after birth until around their fifth birthday.
The study was novel in that it looked at the relation of mothers’ employment with children’s development not only at one particular time point but it compared the effects of different employment patterns over time. This is important because any impact of maternal employment is likely to unfold after a longer period of exposure.
The researchers speculate that differences in the developmental outcomes at age five, for the most part, seem to be driven by characteristics such as mothers’ education and family structure.