There’s a lot of emotion at play when you’re trying to decide who will care for your child. We break down the pros and cons of each option, from nanny to au pair, day care to Grandma, here.
Here are the 3 questions you need to ask when deciding which childcare option is best for your family.
1. What do our child + family need?
Is your schedule flexible? You might need the help of a part-time nanny. Or do you need a childcare provider who can bend to your fast-changing schedule? An au pair might be best. Each family’s answers will differ, so consider the following additional questions.
Do you need someone who can do some housekeeping? Or would you rather she take baby out to daily events around town? Do you want the comfort of a single person taking care of baby in your home, or are you drawn to the uber-social environment of day care? How much are you willing to spend on your ideal situation, and what compromises are safe and possible?
Once you meet your little one, you’ll learn more about their personality and needs—but for now, just know that you might need to adapt your situation to their particular personality.
Check that any center you’re considering is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
This means that the center has met all of the association’s high standards for qualities like safety, training and education.
Ask whether any or all staff members are certified by the Council for Early Childhood Professional Recognition.
Do they have any degrees in the field of early childhood education or development?
Ask the head of the program to see their license, and take down their license number. Review inspection reports, quality ratings and background checks.
Review all policies: Each center should have policies for media, play, discipline, transportation and health standards (including illness, medication and nutrition).
3. What is my gut telling me?
Day care owner Colleen Getzinger suggests that mamas trust themselves in the decision:
“I always tell people to go with their gut when looking at a new day care. You will know within the first five minutes if you love it or not. Aside from your overall feeling about the place, look around you—is it clean? Does the air smell fresh (aside from maybe a stinky diaper anyway)? Do the children look happy, busy and focused?”
“After an interview [with a nanny], I usually take a minute and ask myself what I feel about the person I just met. I ask myself, Is this someone I want my child spending time with? Is this person a good role model for my child? Did they give off a good vibe, look me in the eye and smile? Is this someone I want to interact with on a regular basis?”
Mama knows best.