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As a working mom you know how important it is to feel like you are leaving your children in good hands. Child care is an important field that many non-parents overlook. However when you have a child and need to go back to work it becomes a matter of vital importance. But what are your choices? What are the pros and cons of each? And how much do they cost, on average? Hopefully I will be able to answer your questions as we discuss the child care options of working moms.
Obviously the first and often cheapest option is asking a member of your family to watch your child. A grandparent, sibling, or even cousin can make a great caretaker for your child. They might even come to your home to watch your children for you. Oftentimes, these caretakers are either retired or have children of their own that they stay home and look after.
This is a great option for those working mothers whose family lives close by. Typically a relative will only asked to be paid a very small sum for their time and effort. Relatives are also usually well-known and trusted, so your child will stay safe. However there are some downsides to this arrangement. Number one, some working mothers do not have family nearby.
This makes the arrangement impossible. However even if you do have family that lives close by there are other reasons you might not want to leave your child in your family’s care. Perhaps you do not like the environment your child will be raised in. Some relatives are dirty, have different views on religion, eat unhealthy, or even have health concerns like smoking.
While they are fine with raising their children in that sort of thing, you are not. You also have a lack of control when it comes to family. Unlike in other care situations, you cannot demand from family that certain things are done or precautions taken. Things like special diets and safety concerns go out the window when you are dealing with family. If you continue to insist on things you may create a strain on the family. Arguments arise on how to take care of the child and feelings are hurt. Whole families can be torn apart because of disagreements like that.
Another option for working mothers is a daycare. Daycares are great because many employers will allow you to set up flexible spending accounts to help pay for child care. Even better, they can be paid for with pre-tax income, although it is recommended that you find an online withholding calculator to determine the exact stipulations. Daycares come in many shapes and sizes. Some are called preschools or early learning centers. There are different levels of daycare education. Some daycares are just places that will supervise your child and let them get on and play.They do not offer many educational activities, and staff do not interact much with the children.
Some daycares do more, and offer classroom like activities for younger kids to learn the basics. Still others do more, offering music and art classes, early reading and even basic math. Of course, the price goes up exponentially with the quality of education. A basic daycare can cost as little as one hundred dollars a week for one child and a more education based one can get well up into the thousands.
It all depends on the quality of care you are willing to pay for.
There is another issue with daycare that you might not have thought of. You have no idea who is teaching them or really what they are being taught. You trust the daycare to do background checks and make sure that the teachers are responsible adults. That is a scary proposition, especially for very small or disabled children who can’t communicate yet.
There are also many children packed into a small area. While socialization is all well and good, the germs that kids pick up from each other are not. Prepare yourself for a few weeks of cold after cold until your child’s immune system can fight off the wild variety that day cares breed. Illnesses spread quickly through the family, too. So be prepared not just for your own child’s illness – there is a strong chance that the whole family could pick up bugs too!
Another aspect of daycares that is hard for some working moms to deal with is the time constraints. If the day care hours do not match with your work hours what are you going to do?
Last but not least comes the nannies. Sometimes these child care professionals are also called babysitters. While you may think that getting a nanny for your child is way out of your price range you could be wrong. Many nannies work for reasonable wages from around the minimum wage in your area to a few dollars more.
Only very rarely does an experienced and highly educated nanny get paid the ‘big buck’ and those typically are hired by the rich and famous. If you have more realistic expectations then a nanny can be really affordable, especially if you have more than one child. One of the great things about hiring a nanny for child care is that they come to your home. Your child can stay in a safe and familiar environment and still be taken care of.
Finding your own nanny can be a hard process but you have the benefit of doing background checks and really getting to know them before you let them care for your child. Having a nanny means one on one care for your child and some nannies come with years of experience in how to raise and educate young children successfully.
You can also instruct a nanny on things your child needs like healthy meals, set nap times, and other activities. Nannies can also work flexible hours like nights, holidays and weekends should something come up.
As you can see, there are many pros and cons to all three methods of child care for working moms. You want to make sure you get the best care for your child and that your children are safe and happy no matter what type of child care you choose. Your children are your number one priority so take the time to find out which solution works best for you.
Sara is an active nanny as well as an active freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor of http://www.nannypro.com/