When it comes down to choosing the best childcare option for your child, the first factor that most parents look at is: what that particular child needs. Now, there is nothing wrong with that, but there are a number of factors that needs to be considered prior to making that final choice. The decision of whether to send your child to a commercial daycare center or an in-home family childcare should depend on more than just the need of the child. Parents need to also consider environment, cost, certification, daily schedules, and provider to child ratios.
When a parent finally makes the ultimate decision to place their child into the care of someone else, they must be sure that it’s the best person or place not only for the child but for them as a parents as well. Daycare centers provide children with a safe, and healthy environment that not only gives the child a place to laugh and play, but a place to build and improve their social and developmental skills. Daycare centers are required to uphold all state requirements such as provider to child ratios, health inspections, food regulations, cleanliness, safety, and discipline.
The provider to child ratio can vary depending on the state regulation, the size of the building, and the age of the children. There could be times where there are more children to one provider than a parent may be comfortable with- meaning your child may not get that one on one attention he or she may need. Age groups separate children in a commercial daycare center, therefore allowing children to mingle amongst children their own age. This also helps with the issue of having younger children around toys that the older children are permitted to play with.
State issued health inspections are required but the frequencies of such inspections can vary. State regulated centers must also pass food regulations, as well as implement required safety and disciplinary protocols. The environment of the daycare center needs to be considered. Most daycare centers provide children with a number of child size equipment, furniture and activities. They also offer many different stations children can rotate into throughout the day. A state regulated center can offer a parent the security of having implemented the use of security cameras.
Daycare centers also have a steep chain of command, which is lead by the centers director. When you think of a daycare center, you think of costs. It is implied that commercial daycare costs are usually on the more expensive end of the bar. One must think of its employees that have to be paid and other programs that have to be paid for. Even though a daycare center may be a bit expensive, most parents believe that it is well worth it considering all a center can offer them and their child(ren).
Another factor that needs to be explored when looking at a commercial daycare center is the issue of illnesses amongst the children. When a child is in a four-wall room with 15 other children, the risk of catching another child’s illness goes up drastically. Not only does the risk factor go up, but the possibility of containing the illness goes down. There are so many children in and out of the room throughout the day that germs are being spread from child to child to toy to toy. Moving away from commercial daycare centers, we look into in-home family childcare.
Deciding to go with in-home care not only brings just about all the advantages of a daycare center, but it also brings a little more to the table. When choosing an in-home care, you would need to be sure that it is a licensed home. When a home is licensed, they too have to follow state requirements for provider to child ratio, health inspections, food regulations, cleanliness, safety, and discipline. Most states requires that in-home childcare have a smaller ratio than what a commercial daycare center may have for one provider.
This ultimately means that your child will get more of a one on one experience. However, an in-home care may have a smaller number of children, but they have a broader age range in care. This simply means that one home can consist of a six-week old infant, a two-year-old toddler, and a four-year-old preschooler. Just as commercial daycares, in-home childcare has to go through many health inspections and also be able to pass implemented food regulations, as well as safety and disciplinary protocols.
In-home childcare environments may differ from those of a commercial center. The space of an in-home care may be limited to an area of the home; however, the child can feel more at home due to the fact that it still remains a home. Having this as an advantage may give the child more security than that of a commercial center. In-home childcare costs are usually lower than that of a commercial daycare center. This can be for reason such as the provider sets the rates, and that there is only one person that needs to get paid.
Having one provider in the home means that the payments that are coming in does not have to be calculated between several individuals, therefore bringing down the cost of childcare. The issue of traveling germs may not be of a high risk factor in an in-home care as it would be in a daycare center. The smaller number of children in a home makes it a little easier for an illness to be contained. It becomes easier to watch the children, watch what is being shared, and what is being put into their mouths because of the smaller number.
In the end, parents have a huge decision to make. Whether a parent chooses the safe, more sociable, and more costly way of childcare or the still safe, more family orientated, and less costly way of childcare; the decision of leaving your child in the care of someone else is huge. When on the hunt for that home away from home for your child; there are many factors that should be considered. Whether you decide to go with a commercial daycare center or an in-home care, your child is going to be off to a great start in life in a safe, and playful environment.