Your Child Care Options

childThe decision to entrust your baby or child into the care of somebody else when you return to work is hard, and it can be confusing deciding which type of service is best for you. As a starting point, here is a summary of the different types of childcare available. You need to check your local authority regarding what standards are mandated in your area.

Childcare Centers

These are licensed centers where groups of children are cared for by several caregivers.

Advantages include:

  • Multiple caregivers. This may be safer than having only one caregiver because it reduces the risk of your child being harmed through neglect or abuse.
  • If a caregiver is unable to work, the center will provide a backup caregiver.
  • Programming. Many people believe that a more structured program enhances their child's learning and development.
  • More resources. Larger centers have more money to provide equipment, toys, and other resources.

Disadvantages include:

  • Many parents feel that their child may be overwhelmed or overlooked in a center with a large number of children.
  • Childcare centers operate during the daytime, which may not be compatible with your working hours.
  • Childcare Centers can be more expensive than other child-care services.
  • Your child can not attend if unwell.

Family Child Care

Family child caregivers look after your children in their home.

Advantages include:

  • Cost. Family child-care is usually less expensive than child care centers.
  • Convenience. Many family child caregivers live locally.
  • Parents may prefer the consistency of one caregiver, and children may feel more secure.
  • Smaller numbers of children may mean that your child receives more attention.
  • More homelike feel with siblings remaining together.

Disadvantages include:

  • There is nobody else around to ensure the quality of the care your child receives during the day.
  • There may be no backup care if your caregiver is unwell.
  • There may be no educational program and more limited resources.

In Home Caregivers

This includes nannies, au pairs, babysitters, and housekeepers who also care for children.

Advantages include:

  • Parental control. You do the hiring and firing so you are able to choose the caregiver and set the conditions based on the needs of your family.
  • Convenience. Your child's caregiver comes to you so you do not need to do the dropping off or picking up, and you can choose the hours you need. If your children are sick, the caregiver usually looks after them anyway.
  • In home caregivers may be able to do other things such as light housework or starting dinner while they are caring for your children.

Disadvantages include:

  • It may be more expensive if you only have one child.
  • You are allowing somebody into your home, and for some parents, trust is an issue. You need to ensure that you check references and credentials very carefully.

Relatives, Friends, and Neighbors

Some families have a relative, friend, or neighbor care for their children.

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Advantages include:

  • Cost. Relatives, friends, and neighbors may be able to care for your children at no cost or charge very little compared to other forms of childcare.
  • Convenience. Your child may be cared for outside the hours when childcare centers or family child caregivers are available. This is especially important if you work shifts, start early, or finish late. If your child is sick, your caregiver will usually still be able to care for your child.
  • Known caregiver. You personally know the person who is caring for your children and feel that they are safer and happier with them.

Some disadvantages include:

  • If you are not paying or pay very little, you may feel that you have less input into how your children are cared for. This can be particularly true if the caregiver is a grandparent.
  • If your care provider is sick or otherwise unable to care for your children, you will need to arrange for backup care.

The main thing to remember when choosing a childcare provider is to have a list of what you feel are the most important issues for you and your family and compare how each provider rates on each of them. With the variety of child care available, you are sure to find the perfect fit for your family.

What do you think?

Your Child Care Options

Tell us what you think!

27 comments

  1. susan says:

    I’m lucky to have family who would love to help with baby

  2. I’m a stay at home mom, so I won’t be needing child care. I have family and friends that can babysit, when we go to dr. Appt sorry date nights.

  3. Alanna says:

    I won’t be working for the first year of my child’s life so I am lucky enough the be the constant caregiver. I am looking forward to the bonding.

  4. Samantha says:

    I am lucky enough to be a stay at home mom. We live 1300 miles from any family or friends and the day care where I live is VERY expensive. After doing the math even if I got a full time job I would be losing money. So I stay home with my babies while my husband works. I am very blessed

  5. mommy nhoj says:

    Grandmothers and relatives are always the best person you can turn to. But in our case, we have no one since we just moved here. I have trust issues to begin with and can say, have separation anxiety. I don’t know how will it be when the time has to come that I need to leave my baby with someone else at somewhere else!

  6. Lindsay says:

    Grandma is always ready to babysit ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. gfeld says:

    I am looking to go back to work. Until now I was babysitting for my friends who are due the same time as me.

  8. Christina says:

    Im glad I can stay at home with my kids

  9. Jules says:

    I’m thrilled my sister-in-law is having a baby in Oct and I’m due in Feb. When it’s time to go back to work we are going to work our schedules out together and babysit for each other.

  10. Marilyn says:

    I’m going to be a stay at home mommy while my baby is still tiny. Maybe I’ll consider daycare when he’s 5-6 months old and then I can go back to school ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. EbyMom says:

    am a stay home mum for now. I look after my kids but if for anything day care will do.

  12. Grace says:

    pray… lol prey…. anyway i so wish we could do this, we know of a christian school/child care center not too far away and its income based but i (stay at home mom) would need to have a job to be able to afford it, even then it would be difficult, i still for the structure and my children being able to interact with others wish i could….

  13. grandama will be sitting.

  14. Janice says:

    I took my children to a day care at a local church.

  15. yayyeritzi says:

    luckily I won’t be working. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Melody says:

    I can’t afford care centers, or even frequent babysitters. I’m grateful my husband is working so I can care for our little one.

  17. jennifer says:

    i am going to be my childs only sitter

  18. ChrisS says:

    I take my toddler to Child Care Center. In my area, the childcare center cost is affordable, they are more structured, they have 3-4 adults to watch over 17 kids, plus it is a Christian School – meaning they teach little children about the bible and they teach them how to prey

  19. Julie says:

    My mother-in-law is going to be my main go to babysitter. Once I am emotionally ready to let the baby be away from me for that long.

  20. sukismom says:

    I stay home most of the time but if needed my hubby can watch her… We had his mom watch her for a bit once (outside of the house) and she took her to another city ๐Ÿ™ I wish she would have AT LEAST told us before hand. I have a hard time trusting people to watch her who have different view then me.

  21. Babyma says:

    I still waiting on my both daughters go school then i can back college or find job soon

  22. LovinMySon18 says:

    Im still in school nd i havent had my baby yet nd i still dnt kno who goin to b tkin care of my lil man

  23. bms:) says:

    I go to school & my husband takes care out baby, when he has job interviews my mommy takes care of our baby & I pay her. I work In the afternoons and i only see my baby at night:(

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