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home day care vs. day care center

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I have to return to work in mid-april and am searching for daycare options. My daughter will only be 3 months old so i'm dreading leaving her with anyone at this point. We have visited a couple of different options. one is a home daycare and the other is a center. Trying to decide which is the best options. We see some pros and cons to both. Just wanted some feedback from other moms. Does anyone have any strong feelings either way or experience you want to share?

post #2 of 11

I haven't had to make this choice personally, but I can share the experience of a good friend of mine.  She chose a woman to care for her child at the woman's home, did background checks, interviews, etc.  This woman had a child of her own about the same age as my friend's son, and was looking into adopting another child, so the woman was excited to have the my friend's child in her home to help her own son get used to having another child around, as well as save up for the adoption.

 

(My friend's son was about 18 months old, by the way.)  It seemed to go very well for several months. My friend had a hard time with how attached her son got to the other family, some days he would be very uspet to come home. But that wasn't the worst of it. 

 

Sadly,  my friend received a call one day out of the blue, that the woman had left town.  Several weeks later, it came out that the caretaker's husband had been arrested for child pornography.  He had been present in the home while my friend's son was being cared for, and so now my friend is dealing with the unknown of whether her child was possibly abused.

 

The main problem I see with in-home care, is that you have no idea or control over who is at that home at any given point.

 

Most professional centers have a lot of security, cameras, windows, and you can drop in at anytime. Some even have technology now that allows you to access a webcam to check in from work.

 

I am not trying to be shocking, it's just something I never thought about until this happened to my friend. 

 

Good luck with your decision! 

post #3 of 11

And to be clear, the woman doing the caretaking seemed to have no idea at all of her husband's activities.  My friend never felt that she was doing anything but being a loving caretaker to the son, but the fact that he was this house at all is unsettling.

post #4 of 11

I was divided as you were on this decision when we were selecting child care.  We don't start until the beginning of April, but we did end up at a licensed child care centre.  It's definitely more expensive (and that makes it really inaccessible to a lot of people), however, after talking to lots of parents and other care providers, we chose it for the following reasons:

  • never have our child care call in sick
  • never have to worry about our care provider taking holidays or vacation and finding alternate care
  • could ensure that the focus was on the baby and providing a stimulating environment or activities each day for her
  • better adult to child ratio (3:1)
  • rules and regulations monitoring the caregivers, as well as working as part of a team, would more likely ensure high quality care

 

All that being said, if we had of known someone we trusted who ran a home daycare, and ran a daycare as opposed to providing child care (by this I mean many people who take on kids are still taking care of their houses, their appointments and errands, and their kids, which means there may not be as much focus on the kids as there would be in a daycare setting), we may have further explored that option.

 

Good luck!

post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by gumshoegirl007 View Post

I was divided as you were on this decision when we were selecting child care.  We don't start until the beginning of April, but we did end up at a licensed child care centre.  It's definitely more expensive (and that makes it really inaccessible to a lot of people), however, after talking to lots of parents and other care providers, we chose it for the following reasons:

  • never have our child care call in sick
  • never have to worry about our care provider taking holidays or vacation and finding alternate care
  • could ensure that the focus was on the baby and providing a stimulating environment or activities each day for her
  • better adult to child ratio (3:1)
  • rules and regulations monitoring the caregivers, as well as working as part of a team, would more likely ensure high quality care

 

All that being said, if we had of known someone we trusted who ran a home daycare, and ran a daycare as opposed to providing child care (by this I mean many people who take on kids are still taking care of their houses, their appointments and errands, and their kids, which means there may not be as much focus on the kids as there would be in a daycare setting), we may have further explored that option.

 

Good luck!

 

These are the reasons that we went with a center, too.  It really set my mind at ease to know that the infant room teacher's only responsibility was to feed, diaper, cuddle & play with the babies.  She didn't have to worry about cooking lunch for older children, washing up dishes, etc.  She gets a lunch break to recharge her batteries, and if she ever needs an extra hand there are other staff there to help her out.

 

The biggest negative to a center is, in my opinion, sleep.  If you can find a daycare with a nap room - problem solved!  Ours doesn't have one though, and DS likes it nice and quiet and dark to sleep so he would get short naps sometimes.  But we got through it.
 

 

post #6 of 11

I use a center, and my ds has always thrived in a center. The first one he went to was in my law school (which was great!!), and I could drop in whenever I wanted to, and nurse or cuddle him, or give him a kiss if he was sleeping, eat lunch with him - whatever I wanted (but unless you were with a parent, were a parent, or were faculty you weren't allowed in the center at all). It was very small, so the ratio was great, they had a small playground, went for walks around the school, and I loved it there. Then after I graduated I moved him to a larger center that was bi-lingual Mandarin/English and that was also great. There were cameras in each room, the front door was locked (they still had an open door policy, but you had to ring the bell to get let in), and if you didn't have a child with you, you weren't allowed to look with the intent of enrolling a child (they wanted to make sure that your intentions were honest - makes sense to me!)

 

Now we have moved to a different state, and we still use a center. It's wonderful. I love it, my ds loves it, its a really great place.

post #7 of 11

Keep in mind that many day care centers keep schedules similiar to school - meaning they close for school holidays and breaks. If you go with a center, look into its accreditation and liscensure, if any.

 

One thing that's a big plus for in-home care is that the care giver can be more flexible with your wants - like baby wearing, cloth diapers, delayed solids, nap times (how and when) etc. also if you delay/selective/non-vax she may be more willing to work with you. many day care centers are all or nothing sorts.

 

I also think kids benefit from being with kids of different ages. Little ones learn faster when around older ones, and older ones get to practice and learn with littles.

 

I used to work in a very good center. But I really wouldn't choose that environment for my littles. Thankfully DH is a SAHD and I WAH most day - so this hasn't come up for us.

post #8 of 11

We originally were focused on centers, but ultimately found a hybrid option - our childcare is affiliated with a well regarded center (a place that has many classrooms, and cares for infants through preschoolers). They realized there was a need for more infant care, so they opened up an infants-only space nearby, in a big house. It's technically licensed as an in home day care, due to its residential location. A teacher from the center lives upstairs for that reason. So it's a very homey environment, but with center structure and policies. The babies are all within the same 12 months of age, and will stay there as a class until they all graduate to a preschool room at the center (after they're 3). We're loving it, and A is thriving - he adores his primary teacher, as well as the other two teachers. And it's a great group of babies/toddlers. 

 

 

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by akind1 View Post

Keep in mind that many day care centers keep schedules similiar to school - meaning they close for school holidays and breaks. If you go with a center, look into its accreditation and liscensure, if any.

 

One thing that's a big plus for in-home care is that the care giver can be more flexible with your wants - like baby wearing, cloth diapers, delayed solids, nap times (how and when) etc. also if you delay/selective/non-vax she may be more willing to work with you. many day care centers are all or nothing sorts.

 

I also think kids benefit from being with kids of different ages. Little ones learn faster when around older ones, and older ones get to practice and learn with littles.

 

I used to work in a very good center. But I really wouldn't choose that environment for my littles. Thankfully DH is a SAHD and I WAH most day - so this hasn't come up for us.

 

YES! I worked in a wonderful center, fully accredited and all. We always had a great bond with our (meaning, in the classroom) babies, but after having my first, I couldn't imagine leaving him in there. Even while I worked there, in that same room. Its just not natural, especially if there is no nap room (which we had, luckily.) As much as we would try to respond to each babys individual needs, it always ended up feeling like assembly line work, it was never go-with-the-flow.  I also very shortly worked in a home based day care, and it was much more natural/warmer feeling. 
 

 

post #10 of 11

My son is at a center.  As others have mentioned, it is more expensive, but potentially more reliable than home care or nanny share options.  My only issue with it right now is the darn germs!  he's been sick 4 times since he started (at 3 months) in January.  Nothing serious, just one annoying cold after another.  I'm not sure a home care option would be any better when you're talking germs and the middle of the winter in New England, but sometimes I wish we'd just hired a nanny for the first year. 

 

Pros of my center:

  • Location - it's close to work, so I can visit at lunch.  I work in a somewhat industrial area, so there really weren't any convenient home care places.
  • Hours are better (pick up is 5:30, not 5).
  • Many hands - there are always at least 2 teachers with the kids
  • It's adorable - all these babies!
  • There is an actual "curriculum."  Not much for babies, but the director has advanced degrees in child development so they make sure the babies work on stuff like tummy time, sitting, rolling, etc.  Plus we get little daily and weekly reports of what he's worked on.
  • They are breast feeding friendly - they have a glider for me to use for lunch visits and are experienced feeding expressed milk - half the babies are EBF!
  • My personal feeling is that I wanted my baby to be separate from toddlers and bigger kids.  I know that's artificial but i just didn't like the idea of my little tiny baby (and make no mistake, 3 months is SO small to hand off to someone else!) being in a room with toddlers wandering around.  I'd be fine mixing ages of older kids, but I like that my infant is with other infants.

 

Cons:

  • The Director/Owner is really the only constant.  Staffing can and has changed.  They are pretty good about letting us know about it, but still - I adore the lead infant teacher, but she could decide to quit tomorrow and then everything would be up in the air.  The original infant teacher we met when we first visited got "promoted" to the toddler room!
  • GERMS.  Plus, if you wind up as the parent of the kid with the germ, they can be a bit condescending.  They called for me to pick up my son "early" because of a very  low fever - 15 minutes before i usually pick him up.

 

I'm sure this has been said and will be said over and over, but you must go with a place that makes you comfortable.  You have to be able to leave your baby there and go off to work and not spend the day worrying about him/her.  When I first started looking it was all about cost and factors and so on, but the eventual decision came down to a sense of warmth and trust.  My child's teacher is amazing, she is so warm and loving.  She loves these kids and never even looks frazzled at the end of the day. 

 

Best of luck - try not to let this process invade too much on your precious time at home! 

 

 

 

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by CherryBombMama View Post

 

YES! I worked in a wonderful center, fully accredited and all. We always had a great bond with our (meaning, in the classroom) babies, but after having my first, I couldn't imagine leaving him in there. Even while I worked there, in that same room. Its just not natural, especially if there is no nap room (which we had, luckily.) As much as we would try to respond to each babys individual needs, it always ended up feeling like assembly line work, it was never go-with-the-flow.  I also very shortly worked in a home based day care, and it was much more natural/warmer feeling. 
 

 

 

Sorry, just read this - I do agree to some extent about the assembly line thing!  Our center does have a nap room and I can see where if they did not that would be a BIG problem.
 

 

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