Childcare Tips for New Mothers
a good time to start seeking family activities to help your children's well-being, comfort, safety and their intelligence by providing your young children a great home environment, family well-being and good day care. The search for good and reliable child-care ideally should begin when you discover your due-date. This gives you plenty of time to research your upcoming child-care options. Depending on the type of childcare you choose, there are several issues of importance to consider before selecting a baby or childcare provider. Are you going to need in-home care in which a single caregiver comes to your home. If this is the type of child care you need, be aware that many of these providers are not licensed nor are they required to be licensed. In this case it is especially important to get references from previous employers for at least 5-yrs. Ask for names and phone numbers; don’t hesitate to call the parents who have used their services. If the provider refuses or is unable to provide this information for you, move on. In-home caregivers may be left alone with your child, they may be unlicensed and are often costlier than other types of childcare; caution should be exercised when choosing this type of child care.
Another option is family childcare, which is a more casual environment with a limited number of young children enrolled, and is usually less costly vs day care centers. This type of childcare requires you to drop off and pick up your child at the person’s home. Often there are charges made if you are late in picking up your child; the caregiver is more like a 9-to-5 business and may strictly enforce this rule. These types of childcare providers should be licensed, and the type of care provided is left up to the individual so again, references from other parents are crucial.
Still another option is a day care center, which must be licensed. Your child will be among more children, receiving less individualized care than the previous two types of childcare mentioned. However, there are many benefits to this type longer hours of operation, less stringent rules on pick up and drop off times, and more activities with more children to interact with. The down side may be the more children your child is exposed to the more chance of illness and other problems resulting from inter-acting with many children (some of the kids will likely be sick at any given time) all at once.
Before you have your baby is the best time for you to visit your prospective child care providers. Take along a note pad with you; make notes of any positive or negative items you will want to check into later. Checklists provided by several websites can be printed out, using your notes for comparison. If you are going to be returning to work after maternity leave, having several providers lined up will make your intro back to work less stressful.
If you are working out of your home, or work part time, it is still a benefit to have a child-care provider on call for emergencies. This would be a drop-in provider who can be called at the last minute and basically is an on-call provider. Having a drop-in childcare option will also afford you some time to get back into the routine post-baby. Even a few hours a week can give you time to do the grocery shopping, keep doctor’s appointments, have lunch with a friend or just get out of the house for an hour.
Day Care 101 - What is Day Care
Day care has come a long way since the temporary baby-sitting jobs of the 1960's and 1970's that paid 50-cents an hour per child, maybe .25c more an hour for 2 kids. Neighboring teens made good baby-sitter candidates, as did children of friends or older family members. All that was required of the baby sitter was to fix a dinner plate for the child, clean up afterwards and play with the kid before tucking them into bed. Most of the sitting was done on Friday or Saturday nights allowing the parents to enjoy a night out. Today, day care means a whole lot more.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the last 10-years almost 65 percent of women with children six years old or younger were working outside the home. Especially in single parent households, it's essential to have access to day care, if other alternatives such as relatives or grandparents, are not available. In a family where both the husband and wife work full time jobs, ongoing day care is sometimes the only choice.
There are several options available today. More corporate employers are adding on-site day care facilities, in-home providers are available, and full or part time day care centers are located in nearly every city large or small. Some centers only accept children ages birth to toddler, while others welcome children of any age. There is a growing trend toward “drop-in” child care, with facilities offering affordable short-term, high-quality care.
Schools, gyms, recreation centers and even churches are jumping on the child care bandwagon by offering such events as Parent Nights Out. Some communities are organizing child care co-ops. Nannies, also known as a child's nurse are also an alternative, however, a more costly one as it involves full-time in-home care by a person who may or may not reside on the property.
Nannies can be male or female; however nannies are becoming popular. Families can choose the care that fits their changing needs a nanny for the newborn, drop-in care for the toddler, and an environment rich day care for preschoolers. Summer needs may differ from those during the school year and parents may switch programs to accommodate those needs.
Day care centers that are evolving into highly structured children's learning centers now offer a wider range of activities. Still available are simple arts and crafts projects, but the addition of early learning programs has been attributed to research showing a response to academics at an earlier age. Parents want their children to start developing skills that previously were not taught until much later. Add-on extracurricular activities such as gymnastics, ballet and martial arts are offered for an additional fee. The instructor comes to the center on a weekly basis providing on-site instruction, and this is especially beneficial to those parents who are short on time and cannot accommodate weekly lessons. Keeping parents up-to-date on the schedules and events was done by a simple newsletter; today many providers have websites which even include the weekly menus. You can also request an update on your child’s conduct, which is in turn emailed to you.
Communication between the provider and the parent is important, but early morning good-byes can be difficult for younger children and keeping it short and sweet encourages a good day for both the kids and child providers.