How should you manage your childcare?

It's natural to want to spend the first part of your child's life at home caring for them. However, before too long, many parents feel the desire to return to work. When returning to work after the birth of a child, arranging suitable childcare will always be a top priority. You may, perhaps, have parents or grandparents who will care for your child on an occasional basis, but it's unlikely that they will want to take on that responsibility day after day for years. If you are working regularly, it is better to look for professional childcare help. You could think about either a daycare centre or a family daycare. Both of these options have advantages, and you will have to see which best fits your family situation.

Understanding the difference

You might think that it doesn't matter too much what type of childcare you arrange, but it is vital to understand the distinction between family daycare and a daycare centre. In simple terms, the distinction is one of scale. With a children's centre, the children will be cared for as part of a larger group, and the care will take place in a building designed for that purpose. If you opt for family daycare, the group of children will be smaller, and the care will take place in the educator's home. Here are two questions that can help you decide which method of child care is best for your child.

Many or few?

Does your child flourish among a large group of other children, or do they cope better with smaller, more intimate settings? Each child is different, some children revel in the excitement of getting to know new friends and spending time with lots of others. Other children enjoy the opportunity to bond with a small group of friends over a prolonged period. Look for a childcare solution that is well-suited to the temperament of your child.

Is personal attention needed?

In a childcare centre, there is often an attempt to establish a routine tailored to the needs of a specific child. However, as their young charges grow, there can be a switch to more of a group dynamic because so many children of a similar age are present. With family daycare, the numbers allocated to the educator are much smaller, allowing time for a greater individual focus for each child. Some children may be happiest working as a group and co-operating in activities with others all day. Other children may place greater value on direct interaction with an adult.