The expansion of formal child care, particularly for children under the age of three, has resulted in more and more children from this age group attending day care facilities. This formal child care setting is frequently combined with care provided by grandparents or other individuals. The combination and number of child care settings made use of is influenced by a variety of socio-economic factors and the range of options available. Maternal personality can also explain differences in child care choices, if only to a relatively limited extent and predominantly in families residing in western Germany. Analyses based on the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) show that mothers in western Germany who are very open to new experiences are more likely to combine the use of formal with informal child care. Mothers, who classify themselves as conscientious, in line with personality research, are less likely to use this setting as the sole additional type of child care alongside parental care. The analyses emphasize just how different parental preferences are. A policy that is focused on freedom of choice and on creating the conditions for this by expanding the child care infrastructure should take these differences into account.
child care personality factors maternal employment