Why Home Daycare worked well for us
Are you considering using a home daycare for your baby or young child? I'll share my positive experience of childcare for my two boys. Childcare can be a really positive experience
What is a Home Daycare?
A Home Daycare (US) or Childminder (UK) is run in a childcarer's own home with a small number of babies and children. If you pick a good home daycare then the results can be very positive. A good home daycare is a friendly home-from-home environment which can be much better tailored to your child's needs than a large daycare center.
I'm Mum to two boys aged 4.5 and nearly 3. I returned to work when my older son was 7 months old and needed to find childcare. I know there are lots of brilliant nurseries but he seemed too young for such a busy environment. Plus the daycares weren't really on the route to work, adding extra time to the daily commute.
I looked into the option of a home daycare and was lucky enough to find a brilliant childcarer in my neighborhood - just a few minutes walk around the corner and on the way to work. I'll call her Sue. Sue is licensed to take 3 or sometimes 4 children under school age. (Check the regulations in your area.)
My son started going to her for a couple of hours at a time at 6 months of age so he got to know his childcarer while her was very small. This made the transition to full days pretty painless. My son will start school in September and will have spent almost 4.5 years with Sue.
This form of childcare is very flexible. My son spent the night with Sue when his younger brother was born. This made the transition very easy. My younger son also started having trial sessions with Sue at around 6 months though I didn't have to return from maternity leave until he was 11 months old. He had a little more trouble adjusting to full days - probably because he was older, but he's also a complete Mummy's boy! After a few weeks he was completely happy.
My older son will still be able to go to Sue before and after school from September. She drops off and picks up at the local primary school.
Advantages of a Home Daycare
We've found lots of advantages to using a home daycare. My boys are part of the local community, they do the same kind of activities that they would do with me if I wasn't working. They go to toddler groups, visit children's farms and go to a playbarn. They have a wonderful time!
They also mix with older and younger children which has been brilliant for them. They know lots of children in the neighborhood and often get hellos from people I don't recognise!
Because it's a small group of children, they don't have to fit in with a larger group. Sue tailors activities to their interests. My older son is fascinated with nature so they have been learning about the lifecycle of frogs and butterflies.
Problems with Home Daycare
One of the big concerns people have about a home daycare is what happens when the childcare provider is off sick.
Well this is an issue in theory. In practice our childcarer has an amazing immune system and hasn't taken a day off sick in over 4 years! Other than for a planned operation. She's part of a network though and if she is sick she will try and arrange childcare with another childcarer who has space - the children know the other childcarers as they meet up regularly.
Another concern some people have is trust. They worry about not having other adults around keeping an eye on each other. I trust my judgement on this one and I'm very happy with our choice.
You do need to check out licensing and regulation in your area and make sure you are happy with the provisions made.
Childcare can be a positive influence
I have no regrets about using childcare while I work. Both my partner and I work 4 days and week so the children are in childcare for 3 days each week. This feels like the right balance for us.
I like the fact that my children have developed a warm relationship with another adult. It's good for them and gives them another perspective on life. As the children will continue going to their childcarer once they start school, this will be a long-lasting and important relationship in their life.