Being a parent is an immensely challenging and incredibly rewarding role. Raising a child is a responsibility that includes not only providing your little one with healthy, nutritious food, comfy clothes, and loving home, but also helping them learn about the world they live in and grow into a kind, responsible, and independent adult. Luckily, you don’t have to shoulder this extremely important burden alone. Both single- and two-parent families can benefit greatly from child care services. Read on to find out what some of your options are.
Day Care Centre
Daycare centres (also known as early learning centres) are state-licensed facilities where parents drop their kids off, usually for a full day. Most of these centres group children by age in classrooms, similar to schools.
A well-established child care centre is a smart choice for many reasons. First of all, daycare centres offer a structured day for your kid, meaning your young one will have a regular schedule and activities. These often include time for outdoor play, songs, and storytelling, which are essential to a toddler’s intellectual growth and development. Most parents are satisfied with this because the scheduled activities prevent erratic behaviour in toddlers and young children at the end of the day as a result of a lack of structured times for eating, napping, and playing.
Academic advancement is another strong reason to opt for this child care option. Research shows that it’s highly likely for young children to have higher cognitive and academic achievement scores as teenagers if they spend time in high-quality daycare (facilities that provide extensive interaction with care providers, support, and cognitive-boosting activities).
Spending time in a child care centre will allow your kid to socialise with peers. An early learning centre provides children with a safe and friendly environment in which they get to play with each other as well as learn to share and problem-solve while being supervised by professionals.
Speaking of professional care providers, children at daycare have the opportunity to see other adults as mentors and authority figures. Professional caregivers provide positive guidance and encouragement as well as discourage negative interactions in a calm and patient way. In addition to this, a quality child care program prepares children for kindergarten and school, making the transition smoother.
Aside from children, parents can benefit from this child care option as well. A study showed that parents who engaged in talk while dropping off their kids gained “social capital” or, in other words, started feeling as a part of a community. This is immensely important because many parents find sending their children to a daycare centre anxiety-provoking. Plus, this option helps parents (especially single ones) to hold down a job.
Sending your little one to a daycare centre is probably a bad route for your family if your kid needs one-on-one attention to thrive. Also, if you have two or more young children, this option might be a bit costly for you for rates are per child.
Family Day Care
Slightly more affordable than daycare centres, family daycare is an approved form of child care that usually involves fewer children and is provided in the educator’s own home. This means that your little one will learn in a nurturing, natural, and flexible home environment and quite likely get more one-on-one attention than is typically possible in an early learning facility. Parents of shy, introverted children, you know how important this is.
Family daycare also offers children the opportunity to form genuine, long-lasting bonds with their qualified early childhood educator. Speaking of family day care educators, they usually create personalized learning programs for the young individuals they care for.
This is a wonderful child care option for parents who want their kids to be looked after together (for siblings and cousins). Many family day care educators offer their services during standard hours, before/after school, evenings, during school holidays and sometimes overnight and weekends.
However, this option isn’t perfect. When your kid’s family daycare educator gets sick or takes a vacation, you’ll need to have a reliable back-up option.
Nannies are career caregivers who look after all the kids in a family. They often choose to stay with a family they are fond of for the long haul, thus becoming a member of it. If you decide on this child care option, you’ll probably need to provide your nanny with a bedroom and bathroom (a live-in nanny). If your nanny doesn’t actually move in with you, they’ll be referred to as a live-out nanny. Aside from the one-on-one care nannies provide, they can also do light housekeeping (if agreed upon).
Hiring a nanny has its disadvantages as well. If yours catches the flu, gets a stomach bug, or asks for a day off for family-related reasons, you’ll have to arrange for back-up care. Plus, sometimes nannies quit (yes, even long-time ones), which can be incredibly hard on the kids.
Babysitters are persons who watch over children in the family’s or their own home for several hours and are paid by the hour. These are usually high school girls, college students, and occasionally women with grown kids who simply want to make some extra money. Babysitters are the ideal choice for those of you who just want to go out every now and then and need another set of hands. More often than not, finding a babysitter is an easy task, even at the last minute.
Please keep in mind that babysitters usually don’t have enough experience to take proper care of children younger than 3 and many of them aren’t trained in any formal way.
As the name suggests, overnight sitters or night nannies are persons who stay overnight, meaning they’ll be asleep most of the time. This is a great option for single parents who work the night shift or often go on business trips and want to make sure their little ones aren’t alone and have everything they need. However, overnight sitters might not be suitable for every kid, especially for those who have bedwetting issues or are prone to nightmares. In such cases, the child may feel much more comfortable if they spend the night with a grandparent, an aunt or a family friend.
In many developing countries, this is the norm. Yes, having your mother, father, sister, brother, cousin or aunt care for your young one is a good idea because you won’t have to worry if the person looking after your child is a decent human being. Plus, they can come over or you can drop your kid off to their place. Flexibility, yes!
However, before deciding on this option, ask yourself: “Is my relative up to the task?” Toddlers and young children can be a bit of a handful sometimes, meaning love and affection are usually not enough. Patience is a must as well. Older relatives might be willing to help you out, but soon realize this is too challenging for them.