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Child Care Options for Infants and Toddlers

by Lori Sciame | August 4th, 2011 | Infants/Toddlers

Finding child care for your newborn can be stressful to say the least. I can remember having to leave my firstborn in the care of others when he turned six months old. To help make ends meet, I had found a job for 32 hours per week. The first week of work was awful, but I felt comforted by the fact that I had decided on his child care provider weeks before.

If you are pregnant, or your little one is just weeks old, don’t delay your child care decision. It pays to know the options that are available, and to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Consider the following child care options for infants/toddlers.

1. Child care in your home.
This option involves a caregiver that comes to your home. The advantages of this are many. Your baby will be safe and secure in his or her own environment, and you won’t have to bundle him or her up in order to go to the sitter’s. Also, your child will not be exposed to the many germs in a multi-child day care.

One of the disadvantages of this type of care is that it can be very expensive. Some families hire a nanny to live in the home, which involves room, board, and spending money. On the other hand, if you have a relative who is willing to babysit, he or she might welcome the chance to do it in your home for a modest fee (or even for free).

2. Child care at grandma or grandpa’s (or another relatives) house.
Remember, relatives already love your little one, so worries about good care are lessened; however, if your potential caregiver smokes, has dogs that may bite, or does other things that might affect the health of the baby, the option may not work. Again, relatives may not charge for their services, so this could be a great help to a young couple first starting out.

3. Child care at an in-home day care.
I live in a neighborhood that has several in-home day cares. While the number of children cared for in each home varies, it is usually around five or six at any given time. The benefits of in-home daycare are: it may be less expensive than “regular” day care; there are fewer children, which may promote better one-on-one attention; and you can usually find one close to your home. The main disadvantage concerns state licensing of the establishment; make sure you choose a home that complies with state mandated laws!

4. Child care at a day care center.
This type of care usually takes place in a building unto itself. In this setting, many children are housed in separate rooms according to age. For example, there are infant rooms, toddler rooms, and pre-school rooms. Negatives include: lots of germs, and a relatively high cost. Positives include: socialization opportunities, and strict health and safety regulations.

Whatever child care you choose for your baby, rest assured, he or she will always love you most!

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