Childcare Choices: What’s Right for You?

They say it takes a village to raise a child. With my five-month old son, I believe it; he’s not even crawling and yet I find myself with my hands full on a daily basis! For many parents, whether you’re going back to work after baby, you’re working from home or you’re even a stay-at-home parent, you might find you need a little extra help when it comes to childcare. As baby gets older, you may find your needs change over time: you might need a little extra help for a few months, maybe less so or in different ways as they grow.

Not sure what childcare options are out there? Take a look through our helpful guide to find out which childcare choice may be right for you!

  • Childcare 101

    Childcare 101

    From nannies to daycare, learn about the different types of childcare options available to you, how much you can expect to pay, and what options may be best suited for you and your family.

  • Daycare Centers

    Daycare Centers

    What Are They?
    • Larger group childcare in licensed, inspected facilities
    • Often mirrors traditional school environment
    • Typically full day sessions 5 days a week

    How Much Should We Budget?
    • Cost varies based on location and number and quality of services provided

    A Good Choice For…
    Parents who are back to work full-time who need 9 to 5 childcare coverage outside of the home.

  • Family Child Care

    Family Child Care

    What Is It?
    • Smaller group childcare delivered in provider’s home
    • Regulations and licensing vary by state (see yours here at ChildCareAware.org)
    • Typically offers more flexible scheduling options

    How Much Should We Budget?
    • Typically less expensive than other childcare options, varying in cost based on number and quality of services provided

    A Good Choice For…
    Work-at-home parents who need a few hours to crank out some work (or catch a nap!) while baby is close to home.

  • Nannies, Mothers' Helpers & Sitters

    Nannies, Mothers’ Helpers & Sitters

    What Are They?
    • In-home care providers; not required to be licensed
    • Excellent referrals & background checks a must
    • Some may do household chores or run errands

    How Much Should We Budget?
    • Nannies most expensive; nanny shares are less expensive
    • Hourly rates vary for sitters & mothers’ helpers

    A Good Choice For…
    On-the-go parents with multiple children who need a helping hand to get it all done.

  • Friends and Family Help

    Friends and Family Help

    What Is It?
    • Friends or relatives who can help care for your children
    • Comforting to know your child is being cared for by someone you know and trust

    How Much Should We Budget?
    • Minimal to no cost (always offer fair compensation first; don’t assume it’s free)
    • Often substantially less than other childcare options

    A Good Choice For…
    First-time parents who could use some helpful guidance and wisdom from people they trust.

What childcare options have you considered? What have you found works best for you and your family? Share your childcare stories in the comments below!

Photo credits: Editor B, mbaylor, {just jennifer}, Ed Yourdon, and Parker Knight via Flickr.

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