Your baby is getting older, and the end of maternity and paternity leave is getting closer. So, now what? Your little one’s care is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as parents. This can shape the way your child interacts with other adults, peers, develops language, academic skills, social-emotional intelligence, and self-esteem. This guide will help you determine the right choice for your baby and for your family.
Babysitters are usually hired for a few short hours and are not required to have any certification or prior experience. Babysitters’ responsibilities are only focused on the children of the house, and they might expect dinner and a ride home or money for a taxi. Oftentimes, babysitters can be young teenagers looking to make extra money, which is why their rates can be lower than those of a nanny.
Is a babysitter the option for me?
At some point, most families will need a babysitter. The important things when choosing one are:
- Interview the babysitter before hiring them. Make sure to ask about their personal background, education, and ask for a few references.
- Make sure that they get along with your baby! Because their time together will be limited, it’s important to find someone that your baby is comfortable with and has fun with.
- Settle on a rate, hours, and responsibilities, as well as details such as whether you will provide dinner and/or a ride home.
|Babysitter Pros||Babysitter Cons|
|* Individualized care in your own home
* Flexible hours
* Time for parents to socialize and unwind
* No need to rely on friends or family for childcare
|* Hourly rate can add up
* Lack of experience with a younger babysitter
* Extra childcare expenditure
* If your go-to babysitter is not available, you have to find another
A nanny is usually an experienced childcare provider who comes to your home and takes care of your little one(s), as well as taking them to playgroups, parks, museums, and other activities. A nanny is often more flexible and can accommodate changes in your schedules, as well as pick up extra responsibilities around the house. There are a few different types of nannies:
- Full-time/Part-time nanny: A nanny’s main focus is taking care of your child (or children), as well as their health, safety, happiness, and development. A good nanny will even help you work on academic skills specific to your baby’s needs, which is not possible in most daycare settings. Depending on the agreement and contract, some nannies are willing to take on extra housekeeping responsibilities.
- Nanny-Housekeepers: These nannies take care of your children, as well as housekeeping needs. They work full-time but may charge more than other nannies because they are offering many different services. In this case, it’s important to make sure that the person is organized enough that the housekeeping duties will not interfere with the childcare duties, which are priority number one.
- Au pairs: Au pairs are students from foreign countries who live in your home for a year (sometimes 6 months) providing childcare and some housekeeping. They are paid a weekly stipend and require room and board in your home. This is one of the most affordable options, but you are usually required to pay upfront. Unlike most nannies, au pairs do not always have previous experience or credentials.
|Nanny Pros||Nanny Cons|
|* More parental control
* Easier logistics
* Schedule flexibility
* Housekeeping duties (if applicable)
* Money-saver if you have more than one child
* Individualized care
|* Can be more expensive than other options
* No state regulation
* Managing an employee
* Less socialization with peers
Is a nanny the option for me?
Nannies can be an enormous help for parents, whether they are full-time or part-time. Depending on the financial resources of the family, a nanny could be a good option for your baby if you and your partner are looking to have more individualized care or are planning to have more children. A nanny can become like a member of the family, and many parents love knowing that their children are in the hands of someone who is comfortable and familiar.
Kinedu Premium users have the ability to add members to their account so that they can also contribute to their baby’s early development. Having your nanny on your Kinedu account can be a great way to get the most out of your Premium membership. This way, when they are with your baby during the day, they can easily use the Kinedu app or website, which will automatically suggest age-appropriate activities to keep your baby both entertained and stimulated. Through Kinedu’s personalized development plans, you can rest assured that your nanny is helping your baby continue his development, and if you have other children, you can include up to 5 profiles!
To add your nanny as a member, you simply need to send them an email through your Kinedu account, and once they sign up they will have full access to your baby’s personalized development plan and activities. You will also be able to see every activity completed, and all the milestones your baby is reaching!
Daycares are centers designed for childcare, usually from infants through preschool age. Most daycares have set hours when they are open and some of them may offer breakfast and/or lunch on-site. Different types of daycares offer different services –here are the main options available:
- Daycare center: These are independent facilities run by licensed caregivers. These centers usually group the children by age in order to provide age-appropriate activities and social opportunities, as well as pre-academic skills.
- In-home daycare: These childcare services are run in the caregiver’s home. These are also regulated by the state, but might be less structured than traditional daycare. They offer more individual or small-group care, but not all the caregivers will necessarily be licensed professionals.
- Religious schools or organizations: Some religious organizations might offer significantly less expensive daycare options whether or not you are a member of the organization.
|Daycare Pros||Daycare Cons|
|* Social interactions for your child
* Professional, licensed teachers
* Books, toys, and many other resources for your little one to play and learn
* Often includes multiple teachers
|* High staff turnover rates
* Set times may be inflexible with your schedule
* Can be expensive
* More exposure to germs
* Not available when your baby is sick
Is daycare the option for me?
The daycare option is usually best for parents that have rigid working hours. Try to look at options that are near your home or near your work so that drop-off and pick-up will be easy. If you and your partner both have full-time jobs, and you want a structured environment where your baby is exposed to other children, daycare might be a good option. It is extremely important to always check the credentials, premises, and reputation of centers before choosing one.
Deciding what kind of childcare is best for your little one is a personal matter and depends largely on your lifestyle, your family situation, and your financial possibilities. The important thing is that you have the peace of mind that your baby is in the best hands.
Regardless of the option you choose for your family, make sure to always do extensive research and background checks on anyone that will come into contact with your little one.