A Little Time Apart Can Shield Toddlers from Mom's Depression

Filed under: Baby-sitting, Research Reveals: Babies, Research Reveals: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Expert Advice: Just For You

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If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

Fortunately, research has discovered a way to keep toddler's from getting caught in the fallout of their mother's depression: Stay the bleep out of her way.

It's true. WebMD reports just a few hours of child care can shield toddlers from the psychological radiation of an exploding mommy.

Mommies often lose their tempers because small children can drive them feather-plucking insane. Just a few hours apart acts as a pressure valve for both mother and child, lead researcher Lynne Giles of the University of Adelaide in South Australia tells WebMD.

"Modest amounts of formal child care in toddlerhood for the children of mothers with recurrent depressive symptoms can have enduring benefits for the emotional and behavioral state of the child around the time they transition to school," says Giles.

By "formal child care," Giles means day-care centers or paid caregivers such as a nannies. Informal child care, by contrast, is leaving with the kids with Grandma. No offense to Grandma, but the formal child care showed a more beneficial effect in the study.

Of the 438 moms in the study, 69 percent showed no signs of depression, 20 percent reported some depression and 11 were seriously bummed out. Formal day care seemed to help mostly moms with chronic depression.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.