Sending your child to daycare is often one of the most difficult decisions to make. You want to make sure they have the best care possible and the best environment for their growth. But what is best, home daycare or public daycare?
Today there are more options than just public daycare. Many people have started home daycares so they can be home with their children and add to their family's income. These can be a great option.
Let's look at what each has to offer as well as the drawbacks.
For years, women have offered their home and time to take care of the children of working parents, but now it has become more controlled. It's a formal business, and the people who run home daycares, aka family daycares, can now be licensed (and may have to be) depending on which state they are located in. You can check here to see what your state requires.
Pros of Home Daycare
- Small size gives children a chance to really connect to one another and the caregiver. It can feel like family and often caregivers become a part of the family
- More affordable for those on a tight budget since there are less overhead costs
- More individual attention can be given to each child - This allows for greater bonding and a feeling of safety and comfort.
- Diverse age groups allow children to have a greater range of experience
- Relaxed atmosphere allows for more free play time as well as flexibility in scheduling
- Less exposure to germs in a small, home environment means less sick days for you and your child
Cons of Home Daycare
- Small staff size can mean that if there is a sole caregiver and they get sick or have an emergency, you may have a problem. Often they do have a backup plan, but emergencies can happen
- Less educated staff since they don't have to be early childhood education teachers - This doesn't mean they don't have the education. It means there is a possibility they won't.
- Less regulation can lead to more concerns on your part - Be sure to do your homework and check if they are licensed and not just permitted. Also, be aware of the environment. Ask to spend time there to see if you feel comfortable and to see if your philosophies match up.
Since the mid-19th century, there have been various forms of public daycare in the United States. Over the years it has gone through many changes as the need for it has fluctuated. Childcare centers across the country can be nonprofits, sponsored or privately owned, but are ruled by strict regulations both federally and by the state.
Pros of Public Daycare
- Large staff means you never have to worry about being left without care for your child
- Educated staff who are knowledgeable in early childhood development allows them to be more understanding of the various stages your child is at and provides a greater learning environment
- Highly regulated means you have less homework to do, but you should still do your homework to make sure it's a fit and they are doing what they are supposed to be doing
- Curriculum provided that is age appropriate and enriching for your child
- High monitoring also helps you feel safe and comfortable that your child is well looked after
- Enrichment programs can be provided at larger centers - Sports activities and other special programs can provide your child with more opportunities for growth and learning.
Cons of Public Daycare
- Cost can be prohibitive for some families - Daycare centers have high overhead costs including the facilities, teaching staff as well as maintenance staff. Some centers are subsidized for low-income families.
- Less individual attention is put on each child since there are so many
- Less free play time since there are formal activities and set times for them
- More germs abound in institutional environments
Whether you choose home daycare or public daycare, both options can provide great care and growth opportunities for your child. Your decision comes down to what you value most.