Education, Daytime Hours, Job Flexibility Most Help Single Moms of Preschoolers
March 23, 2009
URBANA - University of Illinois Researcher Christy Lleras conducted a study that found that the education level of a single working mother is the most important factor in contributing to a nurturing home environment for 3 to 5 year old children. The second most important factor is the mother's job being one with daytime hours or some flexibility.

Lleras found that if young single mothers had even one more year of school, they did much better in terms of parent-child relationships. And, mothers with more schooling may also be better able to find jobs that pay higher wages and allow them to work a daytime shift or have predictable work schedules with some flexibility, which is important with preschool children.

For single mothers, the benefits associated with paid employment are offset by the added difficulties that accompany working, such as less time spent with their children, Lleras says.

However, job schedules did matter, and stable jobs on a day shift or with some flexibility--for example, a rotating shift--translated into a big boost in the home environment.