Do you and your spouse both work outside the home? If so, you’re definitely not alone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 64% of married couples with children both work. Of course, single parents have to leave their children in someone else’s care so that they can go to work too.
If you are getting ready to return to your job, you’re probably wondering about the types of childcare available, and which is the best option for you and your family. Join us as we explore the options.
A nanny is something like a senior-level babysitter, but who works full-time in childcare. Other nannies look for a part-time position while pursuing a degree in early childhood education or a similar field.
Nannies might handle only childcare, or they may take on additional duties such as cooking, laundry, or cleaning.
An Au Pair
Generally young women from other countries, au pairs take on childcare duties in exchange for room and board. They’re almost always paid a small stipend as well. An au pair usually lives with the family but doesn’t take care of household chores that are unrelated to the children.
Nursery School or Preschool
Depending on the age of your children, nursery or preschool might be a good option. These facilities tend to have half-day programs. They are best for a parent who works part-time or has a flexible schedule.
Daycare centers are similar to preschool programs. For example, both teach children the skills they need to thrive. There are substantial differences, however.
Preschools only offer childcare for a certain age range, usually 3 to 5 years. They close on holidays and in the summer, just like “regular” school, and have a defined pick-up time.
Daycares, on the other hand, accept children ranging in age from just a few months to tweens. They offer longer, more flexible hours, including before and after school care. Another important difference is that unlike nursery or preschools, daycares accept children who are still in diapers.
In-Home Day Care
In-home daycare facilities are another option. These are operated out of the owner’s home, but it’s not a casual arrangement. These providers must be licensed and their house must undergo safety inspections. Usually, there’s only one caregiver, so if your child has special needs or requires more attention, this may not be the best choice.
Lucky enough to have family members nearby who dote on your children, but who can also discipline them when necessary? Ask them about the possibility of a more formal arrangement. This type of care benefits everyone, from Grandma to baby, and it can give you peace of mind as well.
A Mother’s Helper
Similar to a nanny, a mother’s helper works in your home. However, they will need more supervision than nannies or au pairs, so they are only appropriate for parents who are present.
Mother’s helpers are often tweens who love kids and want to gain babysitting experience. They will play with and supervise your children so that you can have some peace and quiet to work. Yet you’re still close at hand in case the mother’s helper needs any assistance or guidance, or if an emergency arises.
What Types of Child Care Are Best for Your Family?
Every family is different, so what works for one might not be a good choice for another. Take some time to learn about the different types of childcare before you decide so that you can make the right decision for your children.
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