As parents, one of the most important decisions we make is who will care for and educate our child. This decision starts very early for most of us depending on how long we are able to stay at home with our own child after they are born.
We, of course, want our children to be in a loving environment where they will learn and grow in the best and safest way possible, but what is the right choice?
As I’m sure you have heard before, there is the old adage: “Whatever works for you and your child.” This is true across all realms of parenting, but finding what is best for you, your child, and your situation can be difficult when it comes to childcare. You want to find a place where your child will be given structure and be acquiring new skills and knowledge, but that must be balanced with them feeling loved and secure in their environment.
Two of the most popular and affordable options for childcare of young children are home daycares and traditional daycares or preschools. There are positive and negative qualities for each option.
The following pros and cons may or may not apply to every home daycare or traditional daycare situation, but we at DaycareSpotter.com believe they are a good place to start when considering your options for childcare.
- Nurturing, Home Environment
- Consistent Caretaker All Day - Daycares often have different teachers at different times of the day or even day to day.
- Authentic Teachable Moments
- Flexible Hours for Parents’ Schedules
- More One on One Attention
- Can Offer Strong Educational Programs (though not guaranteed)
- Children of Multiple Ages - Kids can learn from older children and serve as a helper/mentor to younger children. Also, this allows for siblings of different ages to be together.
- Typically Less Expensive Than Other Child Care Options
- Outings to the Park, Museums, Library, Etc. (depending on number of children in home daycare and the policies of the caregiver)
- Caregiver Becomes Like a Part of the Family - Children may be in the care of the same person for many years and develop a bond not possible in a traditional preschool/daycare environment.
- Safety Concerns - Traditional preschools often have a more secured entrance/exit than a home environment and may even offer in-class video cameras for surveillance.
- Lack of a Structured Curriculum or Education (in some cases)
- Potentially Not As Many Peers In Their Age-Group
- Caretaker May Not Have Any Teaching Experience or Training
- Single Caretaker - The caregiver may not have a backup for sick days.
- Fear that Child is doing Unstructured Activities - such as watching TV
- Fewer Books, Toys, Playground Equipment, etc. Catered to the Age of the Child
- Closed for Holidays and Personal Vacations
- Building Typically Less Child-Friendly than as a Traditional Preschool Building - For instance, in a traditional preschool bathrooms are built with young children in mind with smaller toilets, lower sinks, etc.
- Fewer Recommendations/Reviews Available
- Stricter Licensing Requirements in Some States and More National Accreditations - Although, only about 10% of preschools achieve National Accreditation, it is easy to search through the NAEYP’s database to find them.
- Early Childhood Educated Teachers
- Controlled Curriculum and Strong Educational Programs
- Reliable and Open Daily - If a teacher calls in sick, another staff member will be called in to cover.
- Secure Entrances and Video Cameras throughout the Preschool Environment (this varies depending on the location)
- Children have more peers Their Own Age
- Classroom Environment Catered to the Age of the Child
- Enrichment Activities may be offered such as field trips, music teacher, art teacher, dance classes, etc.
- Child-Friendly Building - fewer or no stairs, child-sized bathrooms, etc..
- Easy to Find Recommendations/Reviews Online and From Other Parents
- High Turnover in Staff
- Large Class Sizes - High Student/Teacher Ratios
- Less Personal or Individual Care
- Lack of Home Environment for Authentic Learning Opportunities - The play environment is more structured and classroom instruction tends to be more strict. Sitting quietly and listening.
- Often Times More Expensive
- Less Flexible Hours or Schedules - Rigid Drop Off and Pick Up Times
- Greater Risk of Injury with So Many Children in One Space
- More Opportunity for Sickness/Germs To Spread
- Will Not Provide Care for Sick Child
- Can Be Hard to Find a Spot for Infants - Many daycares take a limited number of infants and those spots can be gone quickly.