Choosing between in Home Child Care and Daycare

One of the most stressful things about our lives these days is the fact that most families actually need two incomes. One of the most stressful things about that reality is that there is the constant worry about whether our children are being well cared for while both parents are at work. For new parents, the stress of leaving their baby with someone outside of their immediate family can be great indeed. The choice of whether to have your child cared for at home or daycare can seem a daunting one.

Here are some things to consider as you decide:

Pros of in-home child care

Your child will be in his own home, where his own bed, toys, and surroundings will reassure him in your absence.

Your child will be less likely to be exposed to the myriad of outside germs usually associated with groups of children in one place as at daycare.

Your child will have the complete attention of your in-home caregiver rather than the attention being divided among many.

Cons of in-home child care

Your child will have less socialization than with a group of children his own age. This can, of course, be off-set by having your child and his caregiver joining a play group, or even going to the park on a regular basis to interact with other children as his age allows.

 You may have a difficult time finding an in-home caregiver in whom you can place your complete trust. Not only will you be entrusting access to your home but you will be entrusting your child to their complete, unsupervised care all day, every day.

This can be greatly offset by getting a caregiver who has worked for and been recommended by someone you know and trust.  Also, there are many varieties of home surveillance equipment or “nanny-cams” that can be installed, even those that you can watch from your computer at work. You may also feel the need to enlist a nearby friend or relative to pop in unannounced from time to time to check that all is as it should be.

In-home care is usually much more expensive than day care. Having a person come exclusively to your home to care for your child comes with a price.

Pros of daycare

Your child will have more socialization with children his own age. He will be able to learn social skills such as learning to share and waiting his turn.

Your child’s caregiver will be overseen constantly by others. Not only will the daycare have supervisory personnel coming in and out of your child’s area, but there are often closed circuit cameras so that you can watch from your computer at work, as well.

Daycare is almost always less expensive than in-home care.

Cons of daycare.

There is a greater chance of your child contracting illnesses in daycare due to the constant contact with many children. However, experts have come to acknowledge the fact that a healthy child’s immune system is actually strengthened by being exposed to common illnesses, getting sick, and then recovering in a normal fashion.

Your child will naturally get less individual attention when he is one of a large group. For the sensitive child, this may be acutely distressing, especially at an early age. You will need to observe how your child reacts over a period of days or weeks and be in close contact with your child’s daycare worker. Many children will have a distressed period at first and then settle in, and daycare workers are well aware that children coming into a new situation will need added support during this time.

You will have to transport your child to daycare every day, probably early in the morning. Your child’s schedule will have to accommodate your work and the daycare’s schedule as well. To help you arrange your schedule, many daycare centers are very flexible in having early opening or late closing hours.

The decision of child care is, by all accounts, the most important one a parent can make. By careful research of the options open to you, clear communication with potential caregivers, and vigilance after the care plan is established, you the parent can navigate the obstacles. A happy, well-adjusted child that you can leave with confidence will be your reward.