Victorian homes offered children a large network of various caregivers built in to the family structure. Each married couple had an average of six children, but the average household was considerably larger. Rarely would one find methods to buy for psychological and pedagogical examination of children nuclear family living alone.
Only thirty-six per cent of families consisted simply of a set of parents and their children. The composition of the home constantly changed: older children married or went off to work, while babies were born and died. Babies and young children were extremely susceptible to illness. In the worst and poorest districts, two out of ten babies died in the first year. One fourth of them would die by age five.
Life expectancy varied greatly depending upon the quality of the area in which people lived. Children usually enjoyed the benefit of their mothers’ presence on a daily basis. The mother’s place was considered to be in the home. Common thought dictated that a woman should be available at all times to care for her husband and children. The idea of a working mother was considered highly improper and thought to result in neglect of husband, children and home. The habit of a manufacturing life being once established in a woman, she continues it and leaves her home and children to the care of a neighbor, or of a hired child, whose services cost her probably as much as she obtains by her labor.