Being parents, even if you want to be very hands-on when it comes to looking after your child, there are times when you will need to seek additional help. Usually, this is the struggle among working parents. Likewise, when your family is getting bigger, an extra hand is usually needed to juggle your job, manage the household, and as well as looking after the kids.
5 most common types of childcare:
- Au Pairs
- Family Care
- Daycare Centers
In this article, you will learn about these options. Their pros and cons, which can better guide you in selecting the most suitable option.
Hiring a babysitter is one of the most popular types of childcaring. Babysitters usually work as a part-timer and provides temporary care while the parents are away. They are usually paid per hour.
- Flexible hours may be arranged. You may book them for as long as you need to. This depends on your agreed arrangement.
- They usually just remain within the comforts of your house. Otherwise, you have to give specific instructions for them to be at certain locations like the school or the park.
- Since babysitters are hired on a need-to-need basis, availability is highly dependent on them. If something last-minute occurs, and your trusted sitter is not available to look after your child, it might be a challenge to look for a back-up.
- They are strangers. A careful and thorough screening process is highly advisable when looking for a babysitter.
Nannies are somewhat similar to babysitters in terms of providing temporary child care. The major difference is that nannies are more invested and involved in the child’s development, as they can be hired on a long-term basis. Their main task is focused on providing child-care, although they may also be able to help with some light housework. They may be paid weekly or monthly, depending on what has been agreed on.
- They work for full-time. You will no longer have to worry constantly about your child’s care. An upside of having a nanny as a regular presence in your household.
- They have the option to be an in-house provider. It will be easier for you to delegate and coordinate tasks if this is the case. Although the main task is solely focused on childcare, if mutually agreed upon, the nanny can also do some light housework, such as washing the dishes and cooking meals. Otherwise, if you require heavier cleaning tasks while looking after your kids, you might want to consider getting a House Helper instead.
- They are expensive. Since nannies are like regular employees, they are being paid for the experience. The location, the number of kids to look after and years of experience are some of the factors affecting their rates.
- The search for one may be challenging. Like babysitters, nannies are strangers, a thorough background check is a vital step to do, especially if you are looking a long-term nanny.
3. Au Pairs
An Au Pair is a well-known exchange program originating from Europe. This involves a young person who is studying in a foreign country, and lives with a host family. In return for the lodging, they provide light household chores that include looking after children. However, they are not to be confused as babysitters or as nannies since they must be given time to complete their studies. A monthly allowance is given to them in exchange of the help rendered.
- There is a chance to learn about a new culture. It may mean new learnings for your child and family. At the same time, it can be beneficial for your child’s social skills.
- They are easily available and reliable. If your family has decided to host an Au Pair, it will allow you more flexibility in your time and routine. You may readily ask for their assistance, if it does not coincide with their class schedules or exceed their working hours.
- They might lack of experience in child care. Since most of them are students, some Au Pairs might not have the sufficient skills and experiences. If you have an infant in your household, you might want to consider getting an Au Pair who has had some training and experience in caring for babies.
- There will be higher living costs. Since you have temporarily “adopted” another person during their stay, there will be some adjustments in your daily household expenses and utilities consumption.
4. Family Care
This probably sounds as the safest and most preferred type of child care, as you are engaging with people you know well. They may be your grandparents, parents, siblings or even cousins. Since they are family and will normally not expect anything in return, it is up to your discretion on how you would like to arrange the payment.
- They are familiar faces. This comes to your advantage since you will be more at ease to leave your child under the care of people you trust.
- There is a chance for lesser expenses. As mentioned earlier, family members normally do not expect any payment in return, unless an agreement has been made between you and your concerned family. Returning the favor may be in the form of gasoline money, giving gifts, or simply offering to accommodate a request from them should the need arise.
- Misunderstandings may arise if you are too complacent. While they are your relatives, it is still important to set some boundaries to avoid misunderstandings, especially if you are regularly enlisting their help to look after your kids. For instance, you may want to always check their schedules at least a week before to see if they are able to accommodate, so you can all make the necessary preparations. Even if you are already very close, this still shows a respect for them and their time.
- There may be differences in parenting styles. It is important to note that your family members are there to only look after your child. However, sometimes it is unavoidable for a relative (especially your own parents) to express their care so much that they tend to overstep some boundaries, and this might include the way they discipline your child. If you find yourself in such a situation, you might want to tell them of your concern.
5. Daycare Centers
In contrast to the first 4 types, this one is highly likely to be the most formal kind of childcare, and one that is set outside the corners of your home. A daycare center is usually under the supervision of a director with staffs who are well-versed and trained in providing child care. It is also known to be more budget-friendly than when hiring a babysitter or a nanny, as you get to pay for the rate of one day.
- They have a school-like environment. Daycare centers are often structured like this. It can be beneficial for your children, as this can be an environment for the development of various skills such as social, cognitive and sensory. They get to play with other kids and can enjoy the activities organized by the center. Most importantly, this can prepare your child before attending an actual school.
- There is no need to worry about looking for a back-up. In case one of the handlers is absent in the daycare center, your child will be under the care of the available staff for the day. That way, you don’t have to cancel on your appointment because of childcare.
- The schedule is fixed. Unlike the first 4 types, leaving your child under the care of a daycare center means having to deal with a fixed set of schedule, which may be a disadvantage if you have conflicting appointments, or if you frequently have to render extra hours at work. If the center closes by 6pm, you will need to pick-up your child by then, otherwise, you are most likely to pay an overtime fee.
- The child has higher chances of being exposed to germs. Being in a public area, the presence of germs is inevitable.
For a parent, it is natural to feel initially hesitant to spend some time apart from your child. By planning ahead of time and taking the necessary precautions, you can find the most suitable type of childcare. All it takes is keeping an open mind for starters. This may bring about a lot of benefits such as growth and exploration for your child to interact with others.
What if my child becomes more attached to the babysitter or nanny? It is inevitable for children to become attached to someone they have spent a lot of time with – especially if it was a fun time. You can work on re-establishing to your child that you are the primary caregiver by spending some time off from work to bond or simply by cuddling.
What are some ways that I can monitor my child while I am away? You can coordinate with your assigned child care provider to send you photos or have video calls for updates, especially if you will be away for some time. Likewise, you may also consider installing a CCTV in your house if that will reassure you.