So you’ve realized it’s the right time for you to research your childcare options. One of the things you’re likely to be wondering about is whether a daycare or a babysitter would be a better choice for taking care of your child when you return to work. Let’s discuss some of the factors that could influence this crucially important decision.
A private babysitter doesn’t have the same high expenses that a corporate daycare does, so s/he is likely to have more flexibility in determining to price. For this reason, a babysitter could turn out to be a more affordable choice.
This is not always the case; some sitters charge more — perhaps because they have special expertise. For example, it could be worthwhile to pay more to hire a sitter who is experienced working with special needs children if your child has a disability.
If your job doesn’t pay enough to cover the costs of a corporate daycare, you could solve the problem by seeking out a babysitter who is willing to work inexpensively.
Corporate daycare centers have far more accountability for their employees’ actions than private babysitters do. Additionally, they typically have better insurance policies and better systems in place for handling emergency situations. These are all important considerations.
I know of a woman who once showed up at her sitter’s house to pick up her baby, three hours early and unannounced. The sitter was passed out on her couch, surrounded by liquor bottles. In her state of alcoholic stupor, she was completely oblivious to the fact that the baby was screaming and had wet her diaper.
There was no government entity looking over the babysitter’s shoulder to hold her accountable for her actions — so she got away with this behavior until it was accidentally discovered.
In most cases, a babysitter will be able to provide your child with more individual attention than the caregivers in a corporate daycare will be able to. However, just because a babysitter could give your child more attention, doesn’t mean s/he will.
Babysitters vary greatly in their approaches to childcare. You can’t rule out the possibility that some might talk on the phone or watch soap operas all day instead of interacting with your child. Others will be proactive about playing with your child and keeping him or her engaged.
Qualifications for Caregivers
When it comes to corporate daycare centers, they need to be following all relevant local and state regulations — at a minimum. In the USA, state requirements vary as to the qualifications that daycare workers must meet. Some require licensure, certification and/or CPR training. In Australia, child carers must typically obtain either a certificate or a diploma of early childhood education and care to fulfill government regulations. Registration, licensure and/or certification may also be necessary, depending on the circumstances.
Just because someone meets all the government’s qualifications doesn’t mean they’ll be a great childcare provider, but at least the requirements are a start at qualifying candidates.
As you can see, both methods of childcare have their advantages and drawbacks. The best option for your child will depend greatly upon the individuals who are providing the care to your child. Some caregivers are wonderful, and others are horrible; that remains true for daycare center workers and babysitters alike. One is not inherently better than the other.
When it comes to hiring a childcare provider, it’s wise to check references and run background checks — especially if you are planning to hire a babysitter rather than take your child to a formal daycare center. Conduct careful interviews with the providers under consideration, and watch their body language as they answer your questions. You’ll have to allow your instincts and intuition to guide you when you make your final decisions about who will be entrusted to care for your child.