Family daycare is provided by individual caregivers in their own homes. Home-based care, when carefully selected, can be an affordable, high-quality, and safe daycare option. Family childcare is a preferred choice of childcare for infants and toddlers, and is a convenient option because it’s usually available nearby in the neighborhood in which you live or work.
Usually family daycare takes in smaller groups of children than daycare centers. A small family childcare home may provide care for 6 or 8 children, offering children an intimate, homey setting. The environment is familiar, relaxed, and meals are usually served family style which adds to a child’s comfort level.
The intimate environment of family daycare fosters an atmosphere where your child can build close relationships with other children, especially since child turnover in home-based care tends to be low. Since the same provider is used over time and the rate of staff turnover is usually significantly lower than most daycare centers, your child also has the opportunity to build a close relationship with the childcare provider. Smaller groups of children may also result in fewer illnesses.
Family daycare is a little more flexible than a daycare center in many ways. Usually family daycare providers offer very flexible hours and schedules. Your special requests are more likely to be granted and your child’s individual needs are more likely to be met in comparison to a daycare center. Also, family daycare allows siblings to be together whereas daycare centers separate children by age.
As with any daycare option, there are some disadvantages of family childcare to consider. Family childcare is commonly provided by a single childcare provider. In this case, a provider is alone all day for long days without relief. If the childcare provider becomes ill or has an emergency, childcare may not be available. You may need to arrange for backup childcare. Usually, no one directly supervises or observes the childcare provider, which may be unsettling. Not all providers are licensed and they do not always have early childhood education training, so be sure to carefully interview the childcare provider and perform a thorough background check.
All in all, family daycare is a smart childcare choice for infants and toddlers, providing a comfortable family atmosphere in which children can learn and develop.