When you are a household with working parents/guardians, there may come a time when you consider daycare for your young children. You don’t want to leave them home alone (we all know how that worked out for the McCallisters), but finding the right daycare can come with high costs that may not seem worth it.
So where should you start? Check out these 4 points that can function as a preliminary gauge for what will work best for your family.
One of the biggest pulls for daycare is the fact that they are an established business with set hours, so whatever changes may happen to your own schedule, you’ll be able to count on them to help you out between those hours.
Most daycares follow the rule of early to open and late to close; they know parents have to get to work on time and try to account for that. But that being said, these hours typically cater to the standard 9-5 job. So if you work irregular hours like evenings or long shifts, you may have a harder time finding something that works.
The caregivers at any daycare you choose should be trained according to the state and position requirements. Some states require licensing, background checks, college education, and completion of other trainings. Other states may require only a high school diploma.
With a thoroughly vetted staff, you can trust that caregivers can handle any situation ranging from a tantrum to something more serious.
While this is a huge selling point for taking your child to daycare rather than hiring the teenager next door to babysit, keep in mind that some of that training may prompt caregivers to impose their own ideas about child-raising on your children. Do you keep your kids on the bottle longer than most parents? Talk it through with their staff before you commit to their daycare services.
If you live in an area where your children are surrounded by more adults than children, daycare is a great place for your young ones to interact socially with other children their age. This is an important part of your child’s growth as they get ready to enter school years and become integrated members of your community.
With all the good that can come from socializing, you’ll also have less control over who your child is associating with, meaning other children may teach them bad habits, share their contagious illnesses, or even prompt some tears because of arguments and meanness. You’ll want to check up on your chosen daycare facilities policies and processes for handling these situations.
If you’ve made it this far without any serious misgivings, then ultimately you need to decide whether it’s worth it for your lifestyle. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your job allow you the funds to use a daycare service that you trust?
- Will you have to travel further out of your way than is acceptable?
- Will you be spending enough time with your child to maintain a healthy relationship?
Life is always testing out the balance between different aspects of our lives, so when considering how the change would compensate for the most important aspects, realistically assess what your family and your lifestyle can handle.