A caregiver is more than a babysitter for your child. The caregiver will take part in some of the earliest development and education your child will receive. For that reason, choosing childcare can be a hard decision.
Childcare can be one of the largest costs of raising a child. So the choice often comes down to finding a balance between what's affordable and what's the optimal setting in which your child will spend considerable time.
Day Care Centres
Day care centres are a moderately priced option for childcare, but they are still expensive. You may be lucky enough to be employed by a company that offers day care as part of its benefits package. Churches, schools and community centres often offer lower-priced day care. The centre will be staffed by trained and licenced day care professionals.
Day care centres are an attractive childcare option because they provide a stimulating environment for children and typically have several caregivers working at any given time.
Family Day Care
Family day care differs from traditional day care in that the caregiver provides care in his or her own home. Since they are run from a residence, they are often located more conveniently than other centres and can be much less expensive. You should still insist on licensed caregivers.
Family day care is often less structured so you'll want to make sure the caregiver's ideas on playtime, feeding, sleeping and other issues, as well as their value system are a good fit with your own ideas and values. You'll also want to inquire about and possibly run a background check on the other people that live in the home, even if they are not caregivers.
While usually the most expensive option, both live-in and daytime nanny and au pair childcare have definite advantages: one-to-one attention, the familiarity and convenience of your own home, a consistent companion for your child. You also don't have to worry about getting your child ready and out to day care before you leave for work. If you pay enough, light housekeeping chores may be included in the deal, too.