What Are My Childcare Options?

What Are My Childcare Options?

Ready to return to the workforce after spending some quality time with your newborn? You may be prepared for your workload, but one thing still worries you: finding a suitable childcare. As new parents, it can be difficult to choose the best childcare arrangement for your family's needs. There is a wide variety of options that can be tailored to meet not just your needs, but your baby's as well. In this article, we will evaluate several child care choices and discuss the pros and cons of each to help simplify your decision. 

Leave Your Job

Although this is the most obvious option, we'll include it in this list to highlight the benefits and drawbacks of a parent quitting their job or filing for indefinite leave to care for their child. Many parents in this situation must weigh the high cost of childcare against the lost wages they would experience for a few months or years. 

The truth is, however, that there are much more substantial monetary implications you must consider. One of the things you need to consider is the loss of benefits such as medical insurance your employer pays for. Other benefits that you might also have to give up include, but not limited to, gym memberships and corporate discounts. 

But it’s not all about loss! Mothers or Fathers who stay at home are often free to pursue their own interests whenever they like. They can plan trips, for instance, without worrying about asking for time off from work. They can do things like go to doctor's appointments, hang out with other stay-at-home parents, or do errands without worrying about missing work. Best of all, stay-at-home parents have complete control over how they raise their children. SAHMs or SAHDs can also explore flexible work opportunities. They can work part-time or consider a fully remote job. 

Family Caregivers

Family members, such as grandparents or siblings, can be invaluable in caring for your child while you are at work. Let’s talk about the advantages first. If a close family member were to take care of your child, you could save a significant amount of money each month compared to the cost of a daycare or babysitters. Even if family members refuse to accept payment, you should still expect to save a substantial sum on childcare. If you need a nanny but have trouble finding someone you can trust with your child, a trusted relative is a lifesaver. Another advantage of family caregivers is being on the same page with them when it comes to parenting styles. Your child most likely won't notice any difference between the times you and grandma care for them, and won’t feel disconnected from you. 

Just as there are advantages, you’ll find that there are also challenges when a family member cares for your child. In contrast to hiring a babysitter, it’s difficult to issue "strict" orders to your relative. It’s a big possibility that they’ll find your “instructions” quite offensive as well. They may also raise your child in accordance with their own values and principles. You might have a hard time setting boundaries, especially if they refuse to take payment for childcare. Before deciding on family caregivers and if this is your only option, make sure to talk to them first. This is of utmost importance, especially if an in law or your own parents are taking care of your child. You have the right to establish boundaries for your child, so find something on which both of you can agree.

Daycare Centers 

Infants and toddlers require emotional and social support, and child care facilities are equipped to provide it. Children socialize with others their own age in a controlled setting where they are protected by adults who are also kind and attentive. This helps youngsters emotionally and helps them become more independent of their parents, which is important for their growth. The lifelong benefits of the skills children learn in daycare extend far beyond their formative years. High-quality child care has been linked to improved cognitive and academic outcomes in adolescents, according to research conducted by the National Institutes of Health.

Putting your child in daycare has advantages, but there are disadvantages as well. The cost is a major drawback of daycare. Certain locales may not even have access to such facilities. A higher risk of illness among kids is another prevalent disadvantage for those who use daycare facilities. Because of the close quarters and the generally poor hygiene of young children, infectious diseases spread rather quickly. Because of this, most daycare centers have to stick to the strict rules of requiring sick children to stay at home. When kids are sick and have to stay home from school, it throws their parents' schedules off track and often results in missed work. 

In-Home Daycare Providers

These providers give care in their homes for a smaller number of children than traditional daycare centers. Unlike a nanny, the caregiver will not travel to the child's home to provide care. The number of kids that can be cared for in a family's home is generally limited by the state. When searching for a provider, it’s important to remember the following: In-home childcare providers, also known as family care, should have a state license and undergo mandatory training in first aid, safety, and child care. Many family care providers have degrees in early childhood education and will use those skills throughout the day while they care for your child. There are providers that offer meals, and others that require you to provide your child's own snacks and meals. 

Wondering about the pros of family care? Firstly, your baby will be cared for in a private home rather than a large group setting like a daycare. They're able to relax a bit more this way. Your child will still have opportunities to interact with other kids, which will boost his or her social skills. Parents can rest easier knowing their children are being cared for by a professional. Plus, you are freed from a daycare's rigid routine. Most in-home daycare providers are quite flexible on hours as long as parents aren't taking advantage of them, but that depends on the arrangement you have made with them as well. 

Let’s explore the cons of family care. For the sake of preventing the spread of illness, not all in-home child care providers will accept your sick child. You may have different views on important issues like when to holiday schedules, child rearing style, and a lot more. Make sure to  find someone who is a good fit for your family and your child to easily address these issues.

Nannies and Babysitters

A nanny is an individual who takes care of a child in the child’s own home while babysitters provide childcare on a temporary or occasional basis. Hiring a nanny for your child has its pros and these include: 

  • Your child can keep their regular routine of eating, playing, and napping while in the care of a nanny or babysitter.
  • When you hire a nanny or babysitter, you get to make all the crucial daily decisions for your child.
  • Plenty of childcare facilities keep a low adult-to-child ratio, but your child will benefit even more from one-on-one attention during their crucial early years.
  • Your child is less exposed to illnesses
  • You don’t have to worry about pickups, drop offs, and even letting your child stay home due to an illness. 
  • There are plenty of nannies and babysitters who would be pleased to do some light housekeeping if compensated fairly.

With advantages, there are drawbacks to hiring a nanny or a babysitter as well. Nanny care is typically the most expensive choice for child care. When only needing part-time childcare, some families split the expense by arranging a "nanny share" with another family. When hiring a nanny, especially one who works full time, it's important to consider how to handle their salary, hours worked, sick days, vacation days, and taxes. Unlike daycare centers, many nannies and babysitters have no professional training. But for some families, experience is the best teacher when it comes to the soft skills necessary to be an effective nanny or babysitter.

For new parents, finding reliable childcare is a top priority. When selecting an option, think about how you feel, how convenient it is, how old your child is, and how much you're willing to spend. Don't be embarrassed about consulting experienced friends, family members, or other parents for guidance. Having a secure plan in place for your child's care will help ease your worry during this exciting time in your life. Do you have any advice to share when selecting childcare options? We’d love to hear from you!

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