Group-based childcare programmes have been linked to lower levels of social withdrawal among children.
This is according to scientists at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center at the University of Quebec and Montreal, who found children exposed to maternal depression during their early years were two times more likely to develop emotional problems.
However, attendance at group-based childcare programmes for at least eight hours per week was linked to substantially more positive outcomes for children.
Entering pre-school at a younger age was also associated with significant benefits and helped youngsters to learn to interact with others more easily.
Lowered stress levels among mums and toddlers were also reported.
This could be due to the more structured setting, the fact that care professionals are more experienced than many new mothers, the child leaving their home or exposure to other kids of a similar age.
Dr Sylvana Cote, a researcher involved in the study, said: “It is important that we support young families, particularly those at risk, by providing access to quality child care services.”