Finding the right quality child care is a big decision, especially since your children can draw a lot of influence from their early caretakers. Here are some of the best options for child care.
Group Care—Child Care Centers
Child care centers are not only cost effective, but they can also provide a lot of different resources for your child. For instance, they are a good resource for peer and adult (non-parent) social interaction—your children can start to become socialized in an environment where they're watched closely. Daycares also provide a good amount of structure to young ones if they have scheduled nap, play, and meal times. Your daycare center may even be qualified to prepare your child for kindergarten if they have a pre-K curriculum.
Quality child care centers can actually be very individualized to your child. If you have specific teaching and child care philosophies, look for a private school that matches your interests. There is a wide range from more hands-off care to highly individualized and hands-on Montessori-style learning.
Shared Child Care Options
There are a few ways to share quality child care among several families. One format is to hire a joint nanny or babysitter that each family chips in for, depending on how many children they need watched. Or, if you have a parent who is available part-time to take care of the kids, then you may want to team up with other families who have a part-time parent available. This way, you can provide full-time care as a team and save money.
Looking for these arrangements can be a bit tricky. You should discuss your expectations for how the children should be kept busy during the day, what their diets look like, and what types of behavior and punishments are acceptable. If you are able to trust other parents and come to a joint agreement, this option can be quite beneficial.
Individual Child Care—Babysitters and Nannies
You also have the option to hire an in-home nanny or babysitter to take care of your children alone if you can afford it. This can be a good option if you have a child with special constraints such as behavioral issues or severe allergies. But at the same time, you lose out on more cost effective options that pool families' resources for affordable care. The choice is highly individual, but each of these options can provide some benefits.