Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 December 2022
Employment and earnings are the cornerstone of economic well-being for families worldwide, with the responsibilities of parenting occurring alongside paid work. For this reason, as well as for early educational enrichment, children spend a fair amount of time under the care and supervision of nonparental providers or in settings other than their home environment while caregivers work. This chapter focuses on families with young children age 0-5 and considers the context of work and employment for parents, the role of child care and early education as supports for working parents, and the theoretical and empirical linkages between parents’ work contexts and parenting. Many employment circumstances, such as unpredictable work schedules, work during nonstandard hours, and temporary work arrangements, make the combination of work and parent roles more difficult, while other characteristics, such as flexible work schedules, can support parents in fulfilling their dual roles. Early care and education can provide crucial support for parents’ work but is not always affordable or available during parents’ work hours. The chapter concludes with a discussion of U.S.-based public policies that can support work, earnings, and child care and thus promote economic security and stability for families and parenting.