Baby Care Options for Working Mothers

By Jamell Andrews Many new mothers like the idea of being around to give their babies full-time care, but this is simply not realistic for most modern families. Some parents are able to find jobs that let them work from home, and some families can work out situations where one parent can be home at all times. But for most, it eventually becomes necessary to explore childcare options. There are many issues that go along with this. While everyone wants the best care for their children, there are pros and cons to every option, and the choice is not always easy. For new parents, the decision to use child care for a young one can be agonizing. Of course, you want to be there for your child, and you do not want to miss out on so much time with her. But keep in mind that there are many advantages to using child care. Most importantly, most types of child care give young children the opportunities to engage in types of play and social interaction that they do not get at home. It is a way to broaden your child’s experience with the world, which is a great thing at this stage. In-home care Many parents are uncomfortable with the group setting of a typical day care center and prefer their children to have one-on-one care. In this case, the best option is to hire a full-time nanny to come to your home and take care of your child during the day. If you check the listings in your area, you should be able to find agencies that connect families with trained and qualified nannies. There are of course disadvantages to hiring a nanny. For one, they are typically quite a lot more expensive than group day care. This is simply due to the fact that your family will essentially be hiring an employee and paying her at current market rates. Most families simply cannot afford the tens of thousands of dollars per year it costs to employ a nanny. But of course, it is possible to hire a part-time nanny if you are able to spend at least some days with your child. Many parents are understandably wary about the idea of turning their children over to an in-home caregiver. Fortunately, most nannies who work for reputable agencies are trained and vetted, and parents of course have the opportunity to meet and interview nanny candidates. If you can find a nanny who seems trustworthy and attentive, having her to care for your child can be a great blessing. Types of day care When it comes to out-of-home child care options, things get complicated. Here are just a few of the types of day care available in most areas:
  • Day care centers, including corporation-run centers and centers affiliated with schools, offices, religious institutions, and other public and private entities.
  • Part-time child care programs, including pre-schools, learning groups, and play groups.
  • Family day care, which basically involves bringing your child to a trained caregiver’s private home.
When choosing between these, there are a few important considerations. First, the age of your child is important. Children under one year old should have a single primary caregiver at all times. Once children pass that mark, the child-to-caregiver ratio can begin to grow. In any case, smaller programs with a good ratio are usually best, but if your child is particularly calm and does well in social situations, larger programs can work as well. Before sending your child to any day care center, it is important to make sure that the center has a good track record. If possible, get in touch with other parents who have had experience with the day care center. You may even be able to find some reviews and discussions online. Many day care centers have programs to orient parents and make them feel at ease. Above all, when you are considering a day care center, familiarize yourself with its policies, visit in person, and talk to some of the staff. You want your child to feel comfortable there, so a low staff turnover rate is a good sign.

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