There are many factors to take into consideration when choosing the right daycare center for your family, and the first decision for many parents is whether or not they are going to choose an in-home daycare or a traditional childcare center.
Maybe you are in a situation where you are trying to decide between in-home childcare and a daycare center, but you aren’t sure where to start.
Here are some factors to consider if you are trying to choose between these two options.
Factors To Consider When Deciding Between Home Childcare or Childcare Centers
Hours of Operation
Traditional childcare centers offer care encompassing normal work hours, allowing you time before and after work to travel to pick up your kiddos. Half-day daycare centers also operate during normal business hours.
This works great if you work normal business hours. But if you work odd hours–like second or third shift–and need to have childcare still, a traditional childcare center wouldn’t be the right option for you.
Home daycares can often offer more flexibility in their hours, which accommodates parents with very early or very late work hours. They can often offer flexibility each week as well if your work schedule changes regularly.
Educational and Social Environments
Quality childcare centers offer lessons from formal curriculums along with activities to support the lessons that they are teaching. They also provide a classroom setting where kids get to learn, make friends, and be introduced to many different educational and social situations to help them grow.
In-home childcare situations may not offer the same kind of educational opportunities or the same group size of kids, but kids can still learn and grow in these environments as well. If you are looking to make sure your child is prepared for kindergarten, then considering a childcare setup with a more established educational model might be the right route for you.
Child-to-teacher or caregiver ratios is another factor to consider when researching which daycare option is right for you. These numbers are going to vary from state to state and will also vary depending on the age of the children in the room and whether or not you are looking at an in-home childcare setup or a traditional childcare center.
Traditional childcare centers will have different classrooms for different age groups, with state-determined child-to-teacher ratios. This can allow for age-specific learning, activities, and play. In-home childcare settings have children of all ages together, which can create an environment of learning and coaching between younger and older children.
Make sure whatever childcare setting you are looking at remains in the set state guidelines for the ratios–out-of-balance ratios in either setting can lead to sub-standard care for each of the children. Traditional childcare centers usually have many teachers caring for all of the children in the center, whereas in-home childcare settings usually just have one caregiver.
Whatever decision you make, make sure you consider all three of these factors to help you make the right choice for you and your family.