Quality Time Most Important for Babies

Working mothers with infants at home, take a breath or a sigh of relief. According to a new study, it’s quality of time spent with baby — not quantity — that helps guide a toddler’s social and intellectual development.

Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin compared women who didn’t work outside the home and spent a lot of time with their infants to women who were employed outside the home and spent less time with their infants. They found no differences in the children’s development up to three years of age.

“I would say the big news here is the amount of time that mothers spend with their children does not seem to be that important; it is the quality of the interaction, not just the amount of time,” said Aletha Huston, the lead author and a professor of human development at the University of Texas at Austin.

The results appear in the March-April 2005 issue of the journal Child Development.