In American families, 91.3% of them have at least one parent who’s employed. As you can imagine, this can make supervision tough, especially if both parents work full-time.
For many families, they end up needing some extra help. For instance, if both parents work from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, then they’ll need some type of child care from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm when the kids get out of school.
However, there are many types of child care out there. What exactly are they and which one’s best for you?
In this article, we’ll discuss the types of child care programs available so you can make a better-informed decision for your kids.
Table of Contents
Check out the child care types
Preschool and Kindergarten
You might think of preschool and kindergarten as educational programs. But they are, in fact, types of child care.
Yes, it’s true your kids will receive an education while attending preschool and kindergarten. However, the hours are usually between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm, which makes it double as child care as you go to work.
In general, preschool is meant for kids around 3 to 4 years old. Kindergarten is a little past that, with most children being aged 4 or 5.
In these settings, your kids will get a basic education as well as develop socialization skills. You’d drop them off in the morning and pick them up after school, or have someone else do it if you’re unable to leave work early.
Daycare is similar to preschool and kindergarten. You drop your kids off at a facility for a specified amount of time.
Because most parents work full days, they usually leave their kids at daycares for half or full days.
However, daycares will also have the option of hour-by-hour care, which is really convenient if you need child care for a short period of time (such as if you have a doctor’s appointment).
Early child care programs are highly beneficial for your children since it helps them develop important social skills early on. These programs can also help them with learning and cognitive development.
While at a daycare center, your kids will get to partake in fun activities, meals, naps, and even outings if they’re there for a half or full day.
Family daycare is a close cousin of daycare. However, instead of taking your children to a facility, you’ll take them to someone’s house.
In a family daycare, a parent looks after multiple children from different households. They’ll usually be from the same neighborhood or nearby ones, which means it’s very convenient for everyone involved.
In addition, because it’s at someone’s house and not a facility, it’ll be much more affordable as well.
Another benefit is since the family daycare is in a house, your kids will have a better time adjusting to being away from you. You can use family daycare as a stepping stone to traditional daycare in the future.
In general, family daycares function pretty much in the same fashion as regular daycare. You can have hour-by-hour, half-day, or full-day care for your children. They’ll get to eat, sleep, and play with other kids.
Hiring a nanny can be one of the most convenient ways to get child care. However, it can also be pretty pricey.
This is because most high-quality nannies will have had formal education in something like child development. They’ll also be professionals who are dedicated to this career.
They will come to your house and look after your kids for as long as you need them to. They usually come for several hours every day of the week.
Nannies will develop a relationship with your children and may even do some light cooking and cleaning for you. You can also expect them to put their education to use and help your kids with developmental activities.
An au pair is like a nanny, except they’re from a foreign country. They typically live in your home and are temporarily part of your family.
Because they’re treated as part of the regular household, this means you should provide them with room and board. On top of that, you should also give them a small stipend for their child care services.
To hire an au pair, it’s a bit more complicated than with other types of child care. You have to use an approved agency and pay for their travel expenses.
If you can’t afford to hire a nanny or au pair, then a great alternative can be a babysitter. In contrast, babysitters don’t need formal education. They’re usually people who babysit as a part-time job and are interested in a different career.
You won’t have to pay them as much, plus you can either have them come to your house or drop off your kids at theirs. You can even hire the neighborhood teenagers as babysitters if you trust them enough.
Babysitters will perform basic child care duties and depending on their age (and your children’s), they might be able to help with homework too. Some may also help with transportation for extracurriculars.
Know the Types of Child Care Best for Your Kids
Now that you know the types of child care that are available, you can do further research. Hop on the internet and find out what options are in your local area.
You should also find out what their reviews are like and speak to other parents to see which types of daycares and other child care programs they enjoy. If you keep an open mind, you never know what you’ll find!
By looking at reviews and getting personal testimonials, you’ll have better peace of mind dropping your kids off for child care while you go to work and run errands.
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