If you have small children, then you probably have to grapple with the realities of childcare. After all, most folks have to work for a living, and many do not have grandparents who can watch the little ones all of the time.
For many a parent the search for the right in home childcare day care provider is hard to do. Granted, there are numerous leaflets and booklets available that are designed to help you understand what to look for, but when it comes to that personal touch, they are not as accommodating.
For example, should you choose the big day care center, or should you choose the small in-home childcare?
By the book they all check out ok, but when it comes to understanding the pros and cons, you are unsure. To help you make the best decision possible for your children, here are some pros and cons of in-home childcare.
An in-home day care is almost always run out of the individual provider’s home. This means that when you enter the home, you will get a good “feel” of the atmosphere of the place. Is it dark and musty or is it airy, light and welcoming? If you have a good feel just walking into the place, this may be a good indicator on how children are treated there. At a day care center, the corporate office usually chooses the colors and décor, and it is next to impossible to get a gut level feel for the atmosphere.
Since the in-home provider is residential, the odds are good that she (or he) is located near your own home. This will cut down on driving time, which is a welcome fact when getting ready to spend some quality time with your children. After all, since you have been away for a long period of time, you will want to spend as much time with the kids as possible before having to enforce the bedtime. The close proximity of your in-home provider may be one of the biggest advantages!
Usually there are fewer children in an in-home setting. This will ensure that your child will get more personalized attention, and it will take away the institutional feel that sometimes permeates a day care center setting. After all, an in-home provider will be able to shift gears quickly and accommodate the children in her (or his) care if they wish to do more coloring rather than moving on to the next scheduled activity. Similarly, if your child is shy by nature, she or he will probably do better in a setting that has fewer kids.
Since there are fewer overheads, the pricing of an in-home childcare is usually less than that of a daycare center. This is a wonderful advantage if you are on a budget but still want the best available care for your child.
If you need some flexibility, then an in-home provider probably has the advantage. Even though policies and procedures are in place about early drop-offs and late pick-ups, you might still be able to work out something with the provider without having to pay an arm and a leg.
Of course, there are also some disadvantages to an in-home childcare setting. For example, while you may assure your provider to the contrary, and while at face value she (or he) may accept your explanation; you will always feel awkward about dropping by unannounced for a surprise visit. These visits are important to your feeling comfortable with the setting and the provider, but since you are essentially intruding into someone’s home, this might make it a little odd at times.
Another disadvantage that you may need to face is the fact that individuals other than your regular care provider have access to the home. While it may be uncomfortable to ask, you do want to make sure that there is nobody in the home with a criminal record, with a history of drug use, or who might be smoking around the children. Of course, you can only take the provider’s word for this, since there is no way to actually obtain proof.
Many in-home providers are unlicensed. While this is not bad in and of itself, it does beg the question why the provider has chosen to remain thusly. Is she (or he) unable to comply with the rules of the governing agency or is the provider simply not willing to go through the whole process. If the former is the case, then there may be safety issues at stake that you need to think about; if it is the latter, then your provider may be in the business for the money and not so much for the care of the children.