The topic of childcare is a sticky one, and one that no one seems to quite agree on. Some people are vehement supporters of sending their children to daycare, while others are adamant that hiring a nanny is the best choice. If you’ve found yourself in a situation where obtaining childcare for your child is a must, then you’ll want to consider these points for finding the type of childcare that is best suited to your family’s needs:
1. Look at all the different types of childcare. Are you interested in sending your child to a daycare? Do you have a family member who you can leave your child with? Have you thought about hiring a nanny?
- If you’re looking at daycares, check out online reviews, visit several different schools, and try to get opinions from people who already take their children to the centers you’re considering. Don’t hesitate to talk to the daycare providers and to ask pertinent questions about what makes their center stand apart from others.
- If you have a family member you’re considering utilizing, you’ll want to make sure that it’s not going to put any unnecessary stress on your relationship. Will you be paying her? Will she be able to handle all of the needs of your child? Is it going to complicate things with your personal relationship?
- If you are looking into a nanny, are you going to use an agency, an online agency, or do you have a recommendation from a friend? Is the source you’re using a reputable one? Does the nanny have adequate experience and fit your personal criteria?
2. Determine your personal needs. Are you able to stick to a strict schedule or do you need some leniency?
- Daycares typically will charge by the minute if you are late picking your child up and close at a certain time no matter what. This usually isn’t a problem for parents who work from home or have very set schedules. Daycares also tend to close on the same holidays as the public school system – which may or may not match up with your own holiday schedule.
- Having a family member watch your child means that you’ll need to consider their schedule. Does it jive with yours? Will they be coming to your home every day, or will you be dropping your child off at theirs? Do they live close enough for this to be feasible, or is it going to add a significant amount of time to your day to drop off and pick up your child?
- On the other hand, nannies typically work in your home, and have the flexibility of coming in early or staying late if something comes up that prevents you from being home at the same times every day. Her schedule will basically revolve around yours, and most nannies are used to working despite school holidays.
3. Check into costs.
- Daycares are usually less expensive than nannies when you only have one child. However, when you start looking for child care than more than one child, things can get tricky because they tend to charge per child.
- Using a family member can go either way – determining if you’ll be paying them or not is a very individual choice, and you’ll want to ensure you’re not offending them either way.
- Nannies charge the same amount per household whether there’s one child or two. While it may be more expensive than a daycare if you only have one child, it’s usually less expensive if you have two or more.
4. Do you want a group situation or more personalized care?
- Daycares are a great way to socialize your children, and teach kids important lessons such as sharing with others, waiting their turn, and basic school lessons. However, the group setting can be overwhelming for some children, and your child will be exposed to all types of germs and sickness.
- Utilizing a family member means your child will get adequate family time, but will they get enough time with kids their own age as well? Will your family member be able to teach them the things you want them to be taught?
- Nannies tend to give more personalized care to their charges and spend a lot of one on one time with your child. Most will also go out of their way to arrange play dates for your children and will get them out of the house as much or as little as you want. You also can hire a nanny based off her own individual skills, such as if she plays the piano and you want your child to learn.
Taking these things into consideration before you make your childcare decision can help you narrow down the process of if sending your child to a daycare, dropping them off with a family member, or hiring a nanny will be the best fit when it comes to providing your child with quality childcare. They all have pros and cons, and the real question is not is one better than the other, but is one better than the other for your family. Evaluating your family’s personal needs is the best way to determine which will be the right choice for you.