Which Childcare Options Are Right For You? (A Detailed Guide)
After my son was born, I absolutely loved being on maternity leave so I could be home to provide and care for him the first eight weeks of his life.
But, sooner than later, for me, reality was going to set back in since I was going to return back to work.
Luckily, I had my childcare all arranged so the transition would be easier on everyone!
If you're in the midst of your pregnancy, it’s time to start thinking about your childcare options if you must return back to work.
There are a number of caregivers who are able to care for your child.
Each has pros, cons, and cost considerations to think about.
Read on to learn everything there is to think about when choosing the right childcare provider for you.
Important Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing Childcare
Choosing your childcare provider is one of the biggest decisions I’ve made as a parent.
You need to consider the following things before you begin your search and interview sessions:
Do you want one-on-one care?
A newborn is a lot to take on. While some moms are fine with enrolling their infant in a
daycare setting, others want an exclusive one-on-one caregiver until their baby gets bigger.
Do you want one caregiver or multiple caregivers?
Some moms find it easier and cost effective to have a friend or family member watch their baby for a few days and remain under a facility’s care for the other days.
Others feel this is confusing to a baby and does not help them establish a healthy, daily routine.
Do you want to keep your baby in your home or are you ok with doing a drop off?
Some parents prefer to keep their baby in their home environment with all their comforts and belongings, while others are more than ok with taking their baby elsewhere to utilize their goods and services, or by packing them a bag with everything they need.
Do you want your child to be around other children?
Some moms like the social interaction that comes with being cared for around the company of other children, while others shy away from it since there’s a higher risk that your child will get sick or not get as much one on one attention.
What's your budget?
Childcare isn’t cheap!
So, it’s important to be aware of your budget and make sure you are able to afford weekly care, or apply for assistance if needed.
Some caregivers have animals in their home. Are you ok with this?
Or, would you prefer that your baby isn’t around other animals?
If you're going to pay for care, what kinds of perks are included in tuition?
Will your facility or home have an alarm system or an electronic code that must be entered before gaining access?
Is your childcare provider first aid certified?
Do they know how to handle a baby with special or medical needs?
Is their home or environment baby-proofed and up to safety standards in regards to care?
There's much to consider before choosing the right childcare provider.
Here are some additional pros and cons from some of the most popular childcare options.
Hiring a Nanny
When it comes to selecting a nanny, you can opt to choose one-on-one care, or a nanny-share service (which means another family will be sharing the nanny with you).
Nanny Cost Considerations
Nannies are not really for those who are on a tight budget!
Oftentimes, a family will choose to save up money ahead of time and utilize a nanny for just a few months.
Nannies do tend to put in long hours and are mainly for working families who travel a lot or who also need help around the house and caring for pets.
Nannies generally become a part of the family, and even attend family vacations.
And, for these reasons, they are expensive!
Expect to dish out anywhere from $500-$2,000 a week, depending on the nanny, your location, and your needs.
Sending Your Child to Daycare
Daycare is a popular option for many parents, because there is a daycare in every community that's typically in their price range and within a reasonable driving distance.
Daycare Cost Considerations
Daycare facilities cost anywhere from $35 per day for an infant, up to $45 per day. Generally, expect to pay around $175-$200 per week for full time enrollment.
Many facilities will let you enroll part time (3 or less days a week) and will prorate what you owe.
Many parents prefer the home daycare routes.
It's much smaller than a traditional daycare, but has many of the perks.
In-Home Daycare Cost Considerations
Home day is an affordable option for many families.
Some providers charge by the day, and as low as $25, and some may charge up to $45 per day, so it's important to price around.
Hiring an Au-Pair
An Au-Pair is like a nanny, and they're usually sourced out by an agency.
They help with childcare and light housework, and often come from other countries and live with a family in exchange for a cultural experience.
Au-Pair Cost Considerations
An Au-Pair is just as expensive as a nanny (if not more).
Most programs that source them out require a downpayment to hold their spot ($2,500 or more).
Then, you will be asked to pay the remaining balance for obtaining their services( $6,500 or more).
From then on, they get paid a weekly amount (approximately $200) for care, living expenses, etc.
However, they usually eat your food and utilize your own supplies around the house.
Does It Make More Sense To Be a Stay-at-Home Mom?
After reading this, you may roll your eyes and wonder if it’s better to just stay home.
It all depends on the kind of care you want for your child, how long, and how much you’re willing to pay.
Here are some major things to consider:
There’s a lot you need to think about when it comes to to childcare.
Sit down with your partner to determine what you want from a provider, what your budget allows you to do, and the types of goals you both have for not just your child’s care, but your own life.
Choosing the right provider is one of the biggest choices you’ll make as a parent, right from the get go.
Don’t wait until the day you’ve delivered to decide!
Use the nine months leading up to your D-day to plan, collaborate, interview, and think about what you truly want and need for your little one!