Well, hello everyone!! Happy Monday!! Lately my mind has been racing because I’ve been thinking about daycare options. I feel that day care is one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. Now, for those who are not familiar with day care, there are a few different options. I have found that there are advantages and disadvantages to each option. Generally speaking, I believe that no one will take care of your child the way you do.
1) Day care facilities. These are established facilities that are licensed for the sole purpose of child care. They often have licensed staff that are trained, have good background qualifications, often in child development. They have set hours and their provider to child ratios are monitored by the county. A lot of day care facilities have set schedules for the kids and do fun educational activities daily.
2) Home day cares: These are also licensed child care facilities but they are within a residential area. Often times the owner of the day care cordons off one section of the house and uses it as a day care facility. The county also regulates these facilities(which is a plus). From my experience, home day cares are often cheaper than licensed day care centers. They also tend to have more flexible hours for parents who do not have a traditional 9 to 5 schedule. Children also get to socialize with peers. Depending on the facility, your child might be exposed to various educational components that some parent might not be able to give their kids. Now I have been to some home day care facilities that teach kids absolutely nothing. They run around all day and eat bon bons until they are tired, so watch out for that.
3) Nannies and babysitters: Another option for people who do not feel comfortable dropping their kids off outside the home. You may pay someone to come in to your house and watch your kids for a fee that both parties agree upon. There are live in nannies who live with the family, and live out nannies who come in to the home daily, but do not live with the family. Depending on the nanny’s qualifications, it could cost more than a home day care. The up side to this is that the kids get to stay in their comfort zones and for parents with a non traditional schedule, the nanny could work around you. Depending on how many children you have, the provider to child ratio is smaller, meaning your child could get more attention. The downside is sometimes your child will not get the opportunity to interact with peers. I would recommend getting a background check.
4) It is also possible to have family members, friends and neighbors watch your kids. The upside to this is that many parents feel safer when their child is with family. The downside is that sometimes grandma does not put the kids on a set schedule or the kids might be sitting in front of the TV all day. This does not always happen, but I guess it varies from person to person.
Things to Consider
In choosing the right cay care, here were some things we put into consideration:
1) Location: We wanted somewhere close to home.
2) Finances: Our day care option had to be affordable for our family.
3) Socialization: It was important that our kids had the opportunity to mingle with children of other backgrounds. Diversity was also at the top of the list as we wanted them to learn how to deal with children with special needs, children of various ages, and children of different ethnicities.
4) Flexible schedule: For the past few years, neither me nor my husband has had a set schedule. Sometimes we work evenings, and some days we leave the house bright and early in the morning. It was important that our child care provider be available to watch the kids as early as 6am in the morning, or as late as 11pm at night.
5) Cleanliness: Some facilities and homes are cleaner than hospitals and others are bacteria growing buildings that are dirtier than stables. I am a stickler for cleanliness and I will not send my kids somewhere to catch creepy infections because of convenience.
We also look at our children’s personalities and like to match them up with care providers that they actually like. If my child is adamant that he or she does not like someone, then they will not be allowed to watch my babies. PERIOD. I also like places that feed the kids wholesome meals.
With all that said and done, I still have not found the perfect provider, but I have a situation that is convenient, safe and comfortable for the entire family, and I can live with that. What are your child care stories and how do you find a provider that can meet all your needs?