When it comes to our children, we can all struggle with letting them be looked after by other people. However, when it comes to work commitments. Juggling jobs and school runs, there can come a time where you need to consider your childcare options. With four children under the age of 10, I know only too well the juggle. But it doesn’t have to be a complicated process.
When it comes to choosing the best childcare option, you must consider your family first. What will suit your needs and the children? The timing and flexibility of the choice will all be accountable things when considering the best choice for you. With that in mind, I thought I would explore some of the basic options for childcare. From when your child is young through to being at school I hope this helps you in some way.
According to the US Census, over 2.6 million children under the age of five attend a day care. It happens to be one of the most popular forms of child care before kindergarten begins. These tend to be locations or centers that must be licensed to look after children. Giving parents peace of mind that staff and productivity are managed. What is great about this facility is it tends to work around working hours. Offering early morning drop offs and late pick ups. But the cost can also be quite high. Especially if your child will need to be in daycare for long periods.
Family day care or home center
Often some parents like the idea of their children being looked after in a home environment. This is where someone takes care of a certain amount of children from their home. Often these offer a great compromise between a daycare and a nanny. Offering your child the chance to socialize with other children in a more relaxed setting. These organisations do need to be regulated in some way, though. Which does provide some peace of mind. The only worry is that some family day care centres don’t have to be as regulated as a daycare would be. Making it difficult for some parents to learn the history and background aspects.
Hiring a nanny is becoming a more popular choice. Once regarded as a luxury only the well off could afford, it’s becoming an increasingly more flexible option for many parents. However, the only worry is that you are never sure of exactly who you are hiring. This is why when advertising for a nanny it’s worthwhile to pay for extensive checks to make sure you protect your children and yourself. A great thing to consider would be a hidden nanny cam. This ensures the safety of your children. But it also gives you the opportunity to not miss a moment from your child’s life. A nanny could work with a baby, toddler or even after school for older children. Making it a hugely flexible and, in most cases, cost effective option.
Having an Au Pair is one step further from a nanny. This is someone that lives in the family home, or close by, and is treated as a member of the family. They look after your children for up to 45 hours per week. They also need to have some accreditation and be licensed. Making it another viable option. As an Au Pair is also treated as an employee of the family, they can earn up to $17,000 per year. These figures tend to include all background checks and accreditation. So you are quite covered in that respect. The only main concern is having an Au Pair live with you. You don’t tend to meet them in person until they arrive at your home. So although you are covered in some respects, you won’t be able to gauge how the children will be until you have committed.
Of course, there is a chance that you don’t need to consider much childcare until the school years. However, there are some school establishments that offer a pre-kindergarten. This tends to be where your child will go to school, albeit not a huge learning environment. They will, however, learn the value of the structure and will begin to learn some basic skills. A school environment can be of huge benefit to a young child. Preparing them for when Kindergarten starts. We all know it can be emotional when a child begins school life. So any way you can make that transition will always be of great benefit.
We all know that there seems to be a varied amount of options available for children before school but what about vacation time? Thankfully things like summer camp offer great options for some families. These could be anything from sport based to a camp offering a wide range of facilities. Some can be related to the church offering an alternative to some of the mainstream choices out there. These can be great options for parents as many offer accommodation for the children to stay.
Family member or relative
By far the most popular choice for any parent is to call upon a family member or relative. Over 4 million children under the age of five are cared for by a grandparent. A further 7 million get cared for by other relatives including siblings. It is the easiest and most cost efficient option. Often not costing the parent anything at all. What is great about this option is that your child tends to stay in a home environment they know of. Be it their own home or the relatives. It also is the most flexible option when it comes to time. As a relative or family member will take care of the child around the parents working hours. It’s always a huge advantage to allow your children to spend time with grandparents or relatives. It also works for any age of a child. However, the only downside would be asking yourself whether that relative is up to the task. Often grandparents are in their later years, meaning perhaps they weren’t as active as they once were. It would be worth asking yourself whether placing all the childcare on them is fair.
I hope this has highlighted to you exactly what childcare options are available to you.