Child Care Options

Maternity-leave-chart-final

After 12 weeks I’ll have to go back to work!  Do you have any suggestions for child care?  How do I start this process?  Thanks!

First of all, have you seen that chart (above) before?  It’s crazy to me how much more time most of the world gets for maternity (even paternity) leave…sigh.

When considering child care, you have three options (not including friends & family): daycare center, home daycare, or nanny.  I’d like to explain each a bit and give you more information on how to find one for you!

Daycare Center

Using a daycare center is very popular; therefore, you need to start your search at least six months before you need it!  There are many things to consider such as size of the daycare, location (near your home, your work, your partner), cost, hours, security, etc..  One way to get started is to ask friends for recommendations or read child care & day care center reviews on Yelp.  You’ll find things aren’t always the same in person as they are on paper…so definitely visit the centers.  You may want to bring along a list of questions and take some notes (this is recommended when visiting home daycares too); and try to see this place from the perspective of the children.

This site has useful information on the requirements of teachers and child: teacher ratios.

In Rhode Island, the following sites offer information on daycare centers:

*DCYF

*NAEYC for Families

*Daycare.com

Home daycare

Home daycare is just that…having someone watch your child in their home.  Usually the ratio is 4-6 children (depends on their age) to one adult.  According to baby center,

The United States has more than 280,000 regulated home daycares — almost three times the number of licensed childcare centers. According to a 1996 report by the National Center for Education Statistics, home daycares (and probably many more that aren’t regulated) provide care for 14 percent of the more than 21 million U.S. children under six, making home daycare the third most popular option after center care and relative care.

The advantages of using a home daycare are that your child isn’t exposed to quite as many other children (think: germs!), your child will likely get to play with children of various ages (which they may enjoy), the care provider might have more flexible day/hours to accommodate your needs, and it’s a warm environment that is usually less expensive.  The disadvantages might be that if your care provider gets sick, the daycare may be closed; no one is supervising the child care (although they may have an assistant or co-teacher); most are licensed, but some may be not; and there are fewer spaces available.

In Rhode Island, the following sites offer information on home daycares:

*DCYF

*Childcare Center, US

*The Day Care Resource Connection

Nanny

Some of the advantages of hiring a nanny is that they come to you so you avoid the chaos of packing up yourself and baby every morning; baby gets to stay in the comforts of his/her own home; there are no other children to spread their germs; your nanny can help with additional household responsibilities; and they may have more flexible schedules/hours.  The disadvantages would be that you probably have to pay more ($12-$15/hour is average), your child won’t have the opportunity to socialize with other children, and if your nanny is sick you may find yourself stuck.  To ease the cost burden a bit and welcome some baby socializing, some parents participate in nanny-sharing.  Nanny sharing invites two families to use the same nanny ~ reducing the cost for each family and allowing children to play.  If you have a friend or relative with a child arriving near the time that your baby is due, you may want to consider this option!

To find a nanny, the websites below can be helpful as they do background checks, allow you to post jobs and read resumes:
*http://www.sittercity.com

*http://www.care.com

*http://www.enanny.com

*http://www.nannies4hire.com

Deciding whether to use a daycare center, a home daycare, or to have a nanny come into your home is a personal decision.  There are pros and cons to each.  More than anything, I encourage you to trust your gut and listen to that inner voice.  If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.  It’s going to be a challenge to give your little one over to the care of someone else, so be sure it feels like a good fit.

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