Background to the Study
According to Farlex (2013), child care is the supervision and nurturing of a child by an organized child care and non-organized arrangement. Child care is best when children have a key person to relate to, who knows them and their parents well and who can meet their individual needs. Almanac Policy (2013) described Child development as something that is determined by many factors like the characteristics of the child, the family environment, care outside the home, and the larger social environment all influences their development. Wikipedia (2013) define child care as the caring for and supervision of a child or children usually from newborn to age thirteen. Child care is the action or skills of looking after children by a day care center, babysitter or other providers. Solomon (2013) defines child care as a broad term used to describe any number of arrangements or setting where the primary responsibility is caring for young children. Therefore, childcare is the act of giving proper attention to a child or children between the stage of birth to the puberty age in order to enable them develop properly both in physical, social and cognitive aspect of their life.
The normal, mental, physical and psychological development of a child is the desire of every parent. The period of childhood is a critical period in child development and if anything goes wrong at this stage it will affect the child adversely. Pre-school age (from birth to six years) corresponds to a critical period of rapid, physical, cognitive and psychological development of a child (UNICEF, 2013). The quality and intensity of care, nutrition, and stimulation a child receives during this period determines to a large extent the level of physical and cognitive development a child can attain. Child care provides the foundation for the children to develop, socialize with other children. Child care is a very critical family need, for families of preschoolers (3-5years), or for school age children who may need care before or after school and on other days when schools are closed (Health and human service, 2013).
The term child care encompasses a wide range of services. It can include home-based care, care of grandparent or care by organized licensed facility. Nursery schools, Montessori schools and kindergarten are also kinds of child care programmes. Families may use one, or a combination type of child care depending on their needs. Parents should make sure that any type of care chosen can be beneficial for their families. White and Rebecca (2009) suggested some factors to consider while choosing a childcare for children like cost and continence, children’s ages, abilities, interests, personalities, beliefs and attitudes about education, training, child guidance, nutrition and health of the child. It is important to note the crucial value of child care provides to children. Quality early care and education programmes support a child’s optional development readiness for success in school. It is of view that early year education benefits children’s learning, improving their confidence and can help to break cycles of poverty. Children with no pre-school experiences have poorer cognitive attainment, sociability and concentration when they start primary school that those who have some pre-school experience (Glynn, Farell and Wu, 2013). Home early learning also has a vital role to play in children’s life. Glynn, Farell and Wu (2013), also maintain that how parents relate to their children and activities they do with them have a greater impact on children’s development than the socio-economic backgrounds.
Child care has positive influences on children’s lives, providing them with opportunities to make friends, learn and get some time away from home. Child care provides children opportunity for children to develop physically, emotionally and cognitively. Accessible, quality childcare supports the ability of parents to participate in the workforce, be economically self-sufficient and balance their work and family needs (American planning Association, 2013). Parents involve in child care feel less isolated, more value and more confident in their parenting. In addition, access to child care helps to bridge the gap between male and female earnings and reduces a mother likelihood of going on public assistance (Glynn et al, 2013). The location and availability of child care can affect other community development goals and activities including smart growth and sustainability planning activities.
Generally, through child care, children learn to feel safe, loved and emotionally supported from their parents, when parents show concern and compassion in meeting their children needs, they help them grow up to be stable, caring, healthy and independent adults (Solomon, 2013). These mothers nurture and develop their children into functional members of society. A family’s social class plays a large role in their opportunities and resources that will be made available for a child. Mothers have a choice between remaining at home, where she provides child care herself and going out to work which requires expenditure on child care (Burnette and College, 2010).
Statement of problems
Child care is critical to economic survival of most families because employment outside the home may be impossible for most mothers. One of the problems working mothers face is where to leave their children when they are away at work. Mothers employed in various workplaces face many different challenges to care for their children; one of which is due to lack of information and access to well established and equipped child care programmes within the work environment.
However, knowledge of families’ need and constraints for adequate child care provision is obvious even from layman’s observation. Mothers in Ishielu are frequently absent from work and exhibit anxiety even when they are on the job due to inadequate care for their children and several other truancy as well as bad conducts exhibited by mothers of young children at their various work place. This reduces mothers’ productivity in their workplace in recent times, child care facilities needed to take care of young children are not available as supposed owning to the fact that political leaders in Ishielu local government are yet to understand the importance of providing modern facilities that will enhance healthy development of the children. This becomes a serious issue to every citizen of both Ishielu and Ebonyi State in general as children are the future of every society.
Most child care centres available are owned by private organizations and most of these private enterprises are motivated by profit making which makes it difficult to be afforded by average earners in Ishielu. This cause too many mothers using alternative child care which does suit their children and do not encourage healthy development of the children. These problems outlined above are militating against provision of desired child care for parents and families in Ishielu local government area of Ebonyi which need to be addressed to enable child care planners provide effective and adequate child care programmes.
Purpose of Study
The main purpose of this study is to investigate the mothers’ in three occupation child care; implication for child care programme planning in Ishielu local government area of Ebonyi state. Specifically, the study will;
- Ascertain the child care use by families aged 0-8.
- Ascertain the childcare need of the mothers 0-8 years in Ishielu.
- Determine the mothers’ child care constraints in Ishielu.
- Ascertain the preferred child care arrangement of mothers.
- Ascertain the ways of child care constraints can be alleviated for families.
Significant of the Study
The outcome of this study will benefit the following group of people; families, administrator of child care services, individual aspiring to establish child care programmes, government agencies in charge of supervision. The result of this study will enable families of the young children to have adequate child care services to meet families’ need. The study will also enable the families to avoid child neglect and give children adequate care.
The study will also help child care administrators to understand the families’ needs and challenges of mothers in the Ishielu local government. This will assist improving the quality of the programmes. Furthermore, the study will enable individual aspiring to establish child care to have useful information about child care and be able to establish the one that will be beneficial to families. The study will also enable individual aspiring to establish child care to planned effective child care programmes for families.
The result of this study will also be beneficial to government agencies in charge of supervision because they need to know the programmes necessary be able to meet the child care needs of the families. The result of this study will also enable government to provide policies and strategies for running both private and public child care programmes in order to meet child care needs of families.
Scope of the Study
This study focuses on the mothers’ in three occupations child care; implication for child care programme planning in Ishielu local government area of Ebonyi state. The study is delimited to the child care used by families for young children in Ishielu local government area of Ebonyi, child care need of the mothers, the mothers’ child care constraints, the preferred child care arrangement by mothers, and ways child care constraints can be alleviated for families. Working mothers in Ishielu local government area will serve as the respondents.
Five research questions are formulated to guide the study, which include:
- What is the child care use by families for children aged 0-8?
- What are the child care needs of mothers in Ishielu local government area of Ebonyi State?
- What are the mothers’ child care constraints in Ishielu local government area of Ebonyi State?
- What are the preferred child care arrangements of the mothers?
- What are the ways child care constraints can be alleviated for families?