According to The New York Times, the pros of day care include better reading and math skills and the cons include more problems with behavior and worse social skills. Children in professional day care centers are considered safer than those in private homes or those with professional nannies.

In 2005, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's Study of Early Child Care found that four-year-old children who spent extensive time in professional day care were more aggressive, demanding and noncompliant than their peers. Later research from NICHHD found that the children became less aggressive over time but continued to have issues with social skills. The researchers stated that the effect was not large and was smaller than the effects shown by differences in parenting skills.

The New York Times also found that the benefits of day care on math and reading skills doubled if the child was from a low-income household. The greatest benefits were found if the child was enrolled in day care at ages two to three. However, the earlier children enter day care, the more stress is placed on their growing social skills. The effect on social skills is greatest in those from high-income families and include lower levels of cooperation and sharing, less engagement in the classroom and increased aggression.