Choosing the right caretakers for your baby

 

Who will provide your children with the affection and guidance that good parents naturally give? Leaving your baby or small child in the care of another is never an easy choice. But, sometimes it is the only choice that a parent may have. If the caregiver can be the other parent or a grandparent or another close relation, it may be easier, for they have reason to care particularly for this baby. In this day and age, with families spread all over the map, finding a family member to help with child care is not an easy task. Your only option will probably be searching for someone that you have faith and belief in to provide your child with the love and attentiveness that you would if you could be home.

There are many possibilities when it comes to finding a care provider for your child. Take your time and analyze the alternatives to find the best solution for your particular needs. Some popular care alternatives and their advantages and disadvantages are listed below:

In-Home Care

Advantages:

Baby is in familiar surroundings, with his or her own toys and belongings. Baby doesn't have to be transported back and forth, which can be an added plus if you live anywhere with a bad climate. The complete attention of the caregiver is given to your child or children. There is a good chance for a strong relationship to develop between the baby and caregiver.

Disadvantages:

Since you are relying on one person to care for your baby, if that person is sick or cannot show up for work, you are left without a caretaker. Replacing the caretaker that leaves suddenly can take you several weeks or months, time that you may not have. Home care can also be more expensive than other alternatives.

Group Day Care

Advantages:

A good group daycare program can offer advantages such as trained personnel who offer a well-organized, structured program. These programs can be specifically geared to encourage baby's development and growth. Social interaction and play with other children of the same age can also be a big advantage. Because these centers do not rely specifically on one person, there is no emergency if that person is sick or leaves the job. These centers are usually licensed and monitored well by the state they are located in.

Disadvantages:

There is less flexibility in scheduling than if care were in your home. The cost is usually fairly high unless subsidized by the government or your employer. There is increased rate of illness in day-care situations. Not all programs are created equally, so investigate the center's record well and look into their education program to make sure it is in line with the what you want to teach your child(ren).

Home Day Care Programs

Advantages:

You may be more comfortable with leaving your baby in a family situation such as what is found in a home day care situation. This is a program located in a private residence with a smaller ratio of children to adults. Family day care can provide a warm, homelike environment at a lower cost than other forms of care. Flexible scheduling such as early drop off and late pickup is often possible.

Disadvantages:

These day-care facilities are often unlicensed, giving little protection in the way of health and safety. The day care provider is often untrained, lacking in professional child care experience. This could vary from one care giver to another, so situation needs to looked into thoroughly.

Monitoring The Care Your Child Is Receiving

Having found a warm caregiver or well run day care facility, you will still want to monitor how your child is responding to the care he/she is receiving. If your child is happy and thriving physically and emotionally you can be pretty sure he is in good hands. If you have any concerns about the care your child receives, drop in unexpectedly and watch how your child and care giver interact when they don't know you are observing. Do you feel good about their interaction as you watch them?

Following is a checklist of other things to look for in choosing or monitoring day care:

●     Are the staff members attentive to the children's safety?

●     Are emergencies planned for and handled well?

●     Is good nutrition promoted?

●     Is the atmosphere bright, pleasant and fun?

●     What are the rhythms of feeding, sleeping and diapering?

●     Are there signs of individual attention for each child?

●     Can you visit at anytime without being announced?

●     Do you get a report of your child's activities at the end of the day?

●     What is the sick child policy?

●     Does the school provide development reports for the parents focusing on early teaching?

When it comes time to separate from your baby- whether for your job or for an evening out- it will never be easy, especially for the first few times. But separating with the confidence that you are leaving your child in the best possible care will help to ease your anxiety and guilt.