When you are searching for a child care provider, consider the pros and cons of home daycare vs. daycare center.
Home Daycare Vs. Daycare Center
Finding the perfect child care for your child isn't a decision that can be made overnight. There are so many factors that go into choosing who will take care of your child and where your child will stay while you are at work. Many parents have several options to choose from, such as depending on grandparents and other family members, swapping out shifts, and on-site daycare at their jobs. For the majority of working parents, however, the decision boils down to home daycare vs. daycare center. There are positives and negatives for both situations, and the factors involve the following:
- Expenses-To get the full picture, find out if you have to pay for days your child may not have to attend, such as holidays, sick days, etc.
- Age of child-Where you place your child can have a direct bearing on that child's age. For infants, you'll want plenty of one-on-one care, but for toddlers, you may want more of an educational setting.
- Number of children-If you have more than one child in need of day care, you may want to keep them at the same facility. Find out if discounts are available for more than one child's tuition.
- Availability of services-What kind of care/activities will be offered? Will your child be served breakfast and lunch, including snacks? Is this strictly a babysitting service, or will some educational activities be given as well?
- Convenience-You are away from your child all day, so you want to get to him or her as quickly as possible. How convenient is the daycare facility to your work?
- Features-What features does the daycare situation offer? Fieldtrips? Playground? Music lessons?
- Focus-What is the focus of the daycare? Is it a nurturing environment? Are educational units planned out in advance?
When addressing the issue of home daycare vs. daycare center, there is no doubt that a home daycare environment can provide peace of mind...if everything is on the up and up. The advantages are easy to see.
Advantages of a home daycare can include the following:
- One-on-one care-This is especially important for that first year of your baby's life. A home daycare is typically run by one or two teachers, and they can offer individualized care and nurturing.
- Established care-Unless some unforeseen circumstances arise, you can typically depend upon your daycare provider to be there.
- Personal relationship-Even if you don't know your home daycare provider personally, you will soon. She will be more likely to give you a play-by-play version of your child's day.
- Limited number of kids-Home daycares typically only have a small number of children to care for, limiting your child's exposure to illnesses and providing more attention to each child.
Just as with virtually any situation, there can be disadvantages to a home daycare situation, including the following:
- Sickness-Who will take care of your child if your daycare provider is sick? This is definitely something to think about, and you'll need a backup plan.
- Regulations-Home daycares aren't typically regulated like daycare centers are, so who will make sure the home daycare you choose is following the rules?
- Educational requirements-If you want educational instruction for your child, you might not receive it at a home daycare, and your daycare provider may not have any formal educational training.
- Expenses-A home daycare situation may be more expensive than a daycare center.
Daycare centers also have their advantages and disadvantages, and you'll need to take both into account before you choose a childcare situation for your child.
- Educational benefits-Many daycare centers actually provide educational instruction to the children who attend.
- Educational training-Many child care center employees have formal training and even degrees in early childhood education.
- State regulated-Daycare centers must abide by strict regulations and pass unannounced inspections throughout the year.
- Class divisions-Most daycare centers separate their children by ages, and many only accommodate small groups of children in each class.
Again, your child's age and specific needs will dictate whether a daycare center is right for him or her. Some of the disadvantages may include:
- Limited individualized care-Your child may not experience as much individualized care as you'd like.
- Increased likelihood of illness-Germs are easily spread at child care centers, so you may find yourself having to take off work more to take care of your sick child.
- High employee turnover-In some cases, the turnover rate for employment is high, and this can be hard on a child who gets attached to one teacher only to lose her in the middle of the year.
As you can see, there are lots of factors to consider before you place your child in a daycare situation. Remember, however, that if you place your child in a situation that isn't working, try something else. Above all, have patience. The first few weeks will be an adjustment period for everyone involved.