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When I first found out I was going to be a mom, words couldn’t describe how excited I was. I got giddy at every doctor’s appointment and found myself surfing the web for hours looking for the perfect crib bedding and adorable baby boy outfits. But, when it came time to consider child care, things became less fun and to put it bluntly, I became anxious, worried, mess! There is so much to think about if you have to put your baby into the hands of others. Read on to learn about five questions you need to ask yourself before you place your child with someone else.
Should I do Homecare?
- One-on-one or small group care
- Can be affordable (Anywhere from $25-$35 a day)
- Home-like, comforting environment
- Flexible daily schedule (naps, meals, activities)
- If homecare provider gets sick, you have nowhere to go
- Not a strict set of guidelines when it comes to cleanliness, structure, or safety
- Many only accept cash
- Difficult to get into, limited spots
- May have animals in the house
Should I do Daycare?
- Socialization opportunities for babies and children
- Must follow a strict set of guidelines and regulations for operating the facility and caring for children
- Government assistance available for those who qualify
- Accepts a full time or part time schedule
- A wide range of hours (6:00 am-6:00 pm)
- Workers certified in CPR and first aid
- Many toys and resources
- Sick policies (Must have back up care)
- Unable to get exclusive one-on-one attention
- Must pay for a spot even if not in attendance
- Age Group Issues (Could be negative influences playing around your child)
Am I a Candidate for a Nanny?
Nannies are ideal if you can afford them. Because your child is the only child they care for, their rates tend to run on the high side. The average nanny makes anywhere from $10-$20 an hour. They are flexible and open to coming to your home.
In addition to caring for your child, they generally tend to run errands, take your child to appointments (as well as other places like the pool, library, and park); and they do light housekeeping. I decided to use a nanny that I found on www.care.com
She lived five minutes away from me and was willing to do a meet and greet (and came prepared with references) prior to the birth of my son. I felt completely at ease with her and she had a lot of experience with babies and children. We paid her $80 a day and she watched my son since he was six weeks old. Now that he is seven months old, we have decided to socialize him with others and enroll him in a Keystone Stars Daycare.
How Much Should I Expect to Pay Each Week?
According to USDA, the average family pays $245,340 from the time a child is born until they reach the age of 17. It is the biggest yearly expensive for most families and they pay on average, $18,000 a year on it. Yet, nearly 42% are unprepared and don’t budget for it!
Care.com projects that if you choose to send your child to a home daycare, expect to pay on average, $127 each week. If you choose to send your child to daycare, the budget for $185-$200 a week. For nanny services, the average parent pays $472 a week!
Can I Ease My Child into Care?
After making the decision to leave our nanny and give daycare a try (2 days a week), I felt more at ease when speaking to the director. She told me that I could pop in a week or two prior to my son’s enrollment date so he could spend time with his caregiver. I could also be there watching and playing with him, helping him through the transition (and getting a better idea of how the facility is run). When interviewing a home care facility or daycare, ask if you too can visit briefly prior to the child’s start date to make sure both of you feel completely comfortable. Also, ask her if she’s familiar with your video baby monitor model if you’re going to use it.
Deciding on childcare can be difficult. Be sure to consider the five questions above, as well as the pros and cons of care in order to make the best decision for your little bundle of joy!