Unexpected benefits of daycare

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I are expecting our first and we’re on the fence about whether to hire a nanny or find a childcare center for our son. It would be great to have someone at home to take care of household chores, but our friends say that there are some great advantages—for us as parents—to having our child in daycare too. Is there any truth to this?

A: In a word, yes. While it’s every parent’s dream to come home to a sparkling clean house where the laundry and the toys have been put away and as healthy dinner’s on the table, having a child in daycare offers some definite benefits to parents as well as to kids. In fact, the same day as I got your email, I received a copy of a new book by Mario Small, a Professor in Sociology at the University of Chicago, who has extensively studied a number of these benefits.

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Standing up for Men’s Health

Dear Mr. Dad. My husband’s father had several heart attacks and recently died of prostate cancer. That means he’s in a high risk group and should have regular physicals and screenings. But despite having good insurance, he refuses to make an appointment. I’m worried about him—and our 13-year old son who’s already modeling his behavior on his daddy’s. What can I do?

A: Unfortunately, your husband is far from alone. From the time we’re little boys, we’re conditioned to believe that we’re bulletproof and that showing pain is a sign of weakness. It’s that whole “big boys don’t cry” thing. No wonder only about half as many men as women have a regular physician, and men make one fourth the number of doctor visits.
The results of this lackadaisical attitude are startling: We’re twice as likely to die of heart, lung, and liver diseases. We’re forty percent more likely to die of cancer and 20 percent more likely to die of a stroke. In 1920, women outlived men by an average of one year. Today it’s almost seven.

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