You career requires you to meet certain demands, which can at times come into conflict with your desires as a parent. However, financial stability is an important part of raising your children in a healthy environment, which is why many parents choose to put their young kids in the hands of a qualified childcare provider while they work. Typically, there are three types of childcare options:
• Spouse, Friend or Relative
• Out of Home Day Care
• In Home Day Care
Choosing an Out of Home Day Care Provider
Unless you have a relative or friend who is willing and competent enough to care for the child, it is likely you will depend on a day care service. Parents in this situation should begin by researching the various day care services in the immediate area.
The first consideration should be the needs of the child. If your child likes to be active and socialize, a day care center with a more preschool environment may be better suited than one that encourages quiet activities. It is important to talk with each provider about the type of atmosphere that is promoted and the number of children will be together each day. For example, a large group may not be ideal for a demure child. Inquire about the qualifications of the staff, the turnover rate, and whether they are adequately compensated. An underpaid caretaker may be less motivated to do their job. Confirm that the child care center itself meets the regulations put forth by the state.
Once you have determined what is best for the child, you can then begin to consider your needs as a parent. Location, cost, and available hours can be the difference between choosing one provider over another.
Choosing an In-Home Day Care Provider
For many families, choosing an in-home childcare provider makes the most sense. The one-on-one attention and care your child receives from a nanny or babysitter is important for their development. However, it can be difficult for parents to find someone they can trust with their infant, as some nannies may burn out and place the child in front of the television. They also are the most expensive option with regard to day care.
Given the importance of finding a reliable person that you trust, your search for a nanny should begin during the pregnancy. Most parents are most comfortable leaving children with family members, but they may not always be available. There will times that you need to have a babysitter or nanny on call.
When choosing a nanny, ask them about their qualifications and the path they took to becoming a childcare provider. Often times, the people who have an emotional connection to their job will be better with children than those whose motivations lean toward the financial. Caretakers with a more visceral love for the job will be able to describe their feelings with more depth and recall seminal experiences they had with young infants. They should have an understanding of what children need and more specifically what your child needs. They should be flexible enough to adapt to your child’s naps, hunger, and desire to play.
Generally, you will want to hire a more experienced nanny, particularly with young infants. However, as the child gets older, you may feel it is safe to go with a cheaper, teenage babysitter. If this is the case, have the babysitter come over during the weekend and interact with the child until you feel comfortable leaving the two alone. Regardless of who cares for the child, remember to always leave a list of emergency phone numbers to call in case an accident occurs.