When choosing child care, there are many different options available. Not all of these are good choices for every family. You should first consider all of your available options before choosing the one that is the best for your family. The physical safety as well as the emotional well being of your children should guide you in your choice of appropriate child care.
Licensed day care centers in which parents drop off children before work and pick them up on the way home are popular. An advantage of this kind of child care is that in order to keep their license, the day care must maintain quality standards set by a government agency. An up-to-date license should be displayed clearly on a wall in a child day care center. If you’re unsure about a licensed day care, call your government child care agency to find out if that particular day care is in good standing.
Many parents appreciate the organized activities such as crafts, music and sports games found at licensed group child day cares. Licensed child care providers must provide supervision for the children at all times. One drawback is that licensed group day care is usually more expensive that unlicensed family care.
Unlicensed family care usually consists of a mom who, in addition to looking after her own children, also watches another child or two in her home. If you have a trusted friend with children and like her parenting style, this may be a good child care option to consider. The advantage in this type of care is that it’s done in a natural family setting. Children close in age can interact socially and play together. A disadvantage in many unlicensed family care options is the lack of adult interaction and organized activities.
For families with an extra room or basement suite for a nanny's quarters, a live-in nanny is often the preferred child care option. The children are cared for in their own home by the live-in caregiver who, in many cases, becomes a part of the family. The room and board also pays most of the nanny’s salary so that may be another advantage for families. Live-in child care providers may also be responsible for housekeeping and cooking duties, but these require extra pay. It’s best to look for an experienced nanny who loves children and will fit in well with your family’s values and lifestyle.