Evidence against controlled crying, time-outs and the benefits of keeping young children at home vs. childcare


I came across a couple of documents written by the Australian Association for Infant Mental Health (AAIMH) that explain their position towards controlled crying, time-outs and sending young children to nursery.

The AAIMH are clearly working from an Attachment-Parenting background and I am pleased to see this. I wish the Brits would also adopt this attitude. Too many incentives to push people to ship their kids off to childcare/nursery from an early age, for example, free government-subsidised nursery places for all from the age of 2.5 years of age. Understandably, many mothers make use of this. But is this what our kids need? Do they really need the so-called “socialisation” that nursery/childcare provides at such tender ages? Research suggests no. That their stress hormones or cortisol levels are raised compared to when they are at home, even if they are sent to high-quality childcare.

I can understand if both parents have to work and so childcare is a necessity, and in that case, the AAIMH recommends only high-quality childcare settings with university-qualified and trained childcare providers at staff ratios of at most 1:3 for babies and very young children, and to ensure that each child gets a stable, constant caregiver at such a setting – I.e. not having different caregivers look after the same child over the course of time. This is so that the child can develop a stable attachment with the primary caregiver. In the case of a child who has to go to nursery/childcare provider’s, the childcare worker is the one the child needs to form a stable and secure attachment to, since mummy or daddy isn’t there to form that relationship with the child because they have to work. So stability and constancy of the childcare provider is key.

There is so much true with the attachment parenting theory that as more research is done, the more it will be evident that the timeless tradition of raising our children ourselves, keeping them close to us and guiding them, rather than shipping them off to others for hours a day to care for them, will be proven to be the best way to raise our children into mature, emotionally-stable adults.


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