You might have heard the term home daycare and wondered, “What is a home daycare?” And how is it different from traditional childcare centers? Basically, an in-home daycare is a type of childcare center that provides care for a small number of children in the childcare provider’s own house. Also called family daycares. This can be a convenient option for parents who are looking to find quality child care near their work or school.
Many home daycare providers are licensed child-based businesses. In some states, home daycare must meet the standards set by their state’s Department of Health and Human Services for family daycares. These include meeting health codes and fire safety regulations.
These are some of the reasons why home daycares might be right for you:
- You want your child cared for in the comfort and safety of home. In large daycares, napping on a mat on the floor is the norm. This can be difficult for a lot of kids. Home daycare usually has a more peaceful napping routine.
- You are looking for a childcare that will provide your child with more one-on-one attention and care. Home daycares have less number of kids to provider ratio.
- You want more flexibility with operating hours or you need extended hours.
- You are concerned about sickness. Home daycares have less children.
The home daycare that is best for you and your family may not be the home daycare with the cheapest rates or closest to home. It all depends on what you need. Also, check out the benefits of traditional childcare centers below.
Here is a list of questions that are important to ask when looking into daycare services:
- What are your qualifications and experience in providing care for children? Do you have references I can contact to learn more about how satisfied other parents were with your services?
- How much does it cost per child?
- What are the home daycare’s hours of operation?
- What is your policy on accepting visitors at the home daycare facility, including parents or family members who want to visit their child during non-regular business hours. Will I be able to visit my child during the day?
- How do you address any behavioural issues, such as children who are disruptive or aggressive. Do you have a system for identifying and addressing those behaviours quickly at home so they don’t get out of control?
- What is your policy on discipline and punishment?
- Do you provide any educational or enrichment programs for children at home, such as reading circles and playtime activities. If so, what are these programs like?
- What is the daily routine? Will I have access to a checklist that breaks down the daily routine of the home daycare?
- What is your policy on food? Do you provide nutritious snacks and meals for my child or are parents responsible for bringing foods with them every day?
- What happens in the event of a home daycare emergency or shutdown?
- What is your sickness policy?
Make the right decision by asking family daycare providers about your specific needs, goals, and concerns.
Benefits of Large Child Care Centers
Daycare centers may be more expensive than home daycares but they provide other benefits that might make them worth it for your family:
- Full-time daycare staff that has experience in the industry. Large child care centers have enough staff that they don’t have to close in the case of sickness of one of their staff. You usually will be scrambling to find backup care, if your home daycare has to close.
- A safe environment for your children with trained professionals who have a significant understanding of child development and safety.
- Daycares have educational and enrichment programs, such as reading circles and playtime activities. Some offer a preschool program for older children at no extra cost to parents.
- More kids for your kids to play with. Your child has more oportuntity to make friends with different kids.
- Accepts different age ranges of children. Not all home daycares take older children or provide before and after school care for older children.
If you are interested in daycare, here is how to find a reputable center:
- Visit daycares near your home or workplace during hours when they are open.
- Check out the daycare’s website, Facebook page, and brochures or pamphlets they have on hand to learn more about what daycares offer.
- Meet with a daycare provider in person before enrolling your child so you can ask any questions that come up for you during this meeting (e.g., how is daycare discipline handled, what are the day care’s hours of operation).
- Make sure to read your daycare contract thoroughly before signing anything and ask if there will be any additional fees that you need to sign up for (e.g., after school program or summer camp)