- 5 years ago
- Wedding: July 2010
I have two options for day care that I’m weighing. Both are affordable for our family and located within 2 miles of our home. Hours and flexibility are comparable. My baby is due in May and I’ll be putting him in care and going back to work in October.
Option 1: Large day care center (about 70 kids in the building, ages 6 weeks to 4)
When I visited, all the kids seemed very happy and well-cared-for
4:1 ratio in the baby room
caregivers have been there 3 years or more
2/3 stars in the state rating system (but when I tried to research what that actually means I couldn’t figure it out)
could use employer benefit of child care savings account, paying with pre-tax dollars
organized curriculum, no TV
more expensive ($150/week)
more germ exposure
Option 2: In-home day care
Recommended by brother-in-law’s girlfriend, who has used her for her younger son and loved her. She has been caring for children in her home for 4 years. She raised 4 of her own kids too, is a youthful 57. All the children she’s cared for have stayed with her until they went to school. My child would be one of four full-time kids, and the youngest of those. Mine would be 5 months old when he begins with her and the other three would be between 18 months and 3. She also has two more toddler-age kids that are part time, and never more than 6 kids at a time. She has a room in the house set aside for the kids, and a playset in the backyard. She also told us how she plants a garden with the kids to teach them about plants, etc. She described time-out discipline that sounded reasonable to me, and a routine of naps that sounded like clockwork.
Pros: cheaper ($100/week), family feeling, fewer germs
no state inspections
no set curriculum
slightly larger ratio of kids to caregiver
children of mixed ages cared for together (or is that a benefit?)
paying cash = no child care savings account benefit
I saw a box of cigarettes in the master bedroom at the house, but there was no smell of cigarettes in the house.
She mentioned that every Friday they watch a Disney movie if they’ve been good all week.
There is a part of me that feels “you get what you pay for” and so I’m almost afraid to pay too little for child care, because I worry that if I don’t pay enough then the caregiver would have no reason not to neglect the child. But does a lower price really always equal lower quality of care? I’m not so sure. The larger daycare we’re considering seems much better than a higher-priced, higher-rated one we also visited.