Childcare - Making the choice

Monday, March 12, 2007

Posted by Meeta K. Wolff

Soeren's Painting - The theme was to paint the Carnival Clown

There comes a point in every parents life when they have to use the resources of a childcare. Whether it is time for mummies to go back to work or your child has reached the age, it is certainly a big step for both - parents and child.

What options do you have, how do you make the right choice and how can you help your child (and yourself) get themselves settled? These are probably the questions that we all ask ourselves at this point.

I know I did when it was time to put Soeren into Kindergarten. I weighed all my options and found out that there were many different types of choices I could make. So, I thought I would share a bit of what I learned during that phase with all of you who might be standing in front of such a decision soon.

This week I have listed a few of the options you might consider. If you have other ideas or have come up with a great childcare idea we would love to hear them. Let us know in the comments section. It might help others who are considering putting their child into childcare.

A childminder is a self-employed person who has to be registered with the relevant Government regulatory agencies. References, health, training, police record are all checked thoroughly when a childminder registers. Furthermore, their home is also inspected to make sure it offers a save, friendly and suitable environment for children.

The parent normally brings their child to the home of the childminder and according to the hours agreed on the childminder looks after your child. A childminder can look after children of any ages from toddlers to teenagers. Depending on the country you live in registration regulations only apply to care provided for children under a certain age. In Germany and UK it is under the age of eight. Government regulations also stipulates the number of children a childminder is allowed to look after.

They are registered and inspected often
They are experienced child carers
They offer flexible hours
They are cared for in a home environment

They often have children of different ages in one group - you must decide if this is suitable for your child.

Day Nurseries/Kindergartens
A Day Nursery/Kindergarten can care for your child all day, depending on your routine this can be part time or full time. They usually have very suitable opening hours - ours is open from 7 am to 6 pm. They provide care and education for your child in a friendly and suitable environment.

Day nurseries/Kindergartens have to be registered with the relevant Government regulatory agencies and are inspected once a year. The staff must be qualified child carers. The day nurseries/Kindergartens vary in sizes. They can have anywhere between 20-60 children, however the groups are often divided according to age groups and follow a Government approved curriculum.

There are different types of day nurseries/Kindergarten:

Private - Independent bodies offering full day care
Community - Run on a not-for-profit basis for local families, making fees lower than the privately owned day nurseries/Kindergartens
Workplace - Employers offering a possibility for staff to send their children to such nurseries, often found on the premises of the workplace
Local Authority - Mainly for family who require financial support

The ages covered vary from place to place - some take babies as young as six weeks others start at 2 years. Most offer places for children up to 6-7, until the child is ready for school.
The Government regulatory bodies have specific ratios for child/staff set for the the age groups. In Europe it is often as follows:

* children under two: 2:1.
* two-year-olds: 4:1
* three- to seven-year-olds: 8:1

They are registered and regularly inspected
It is specifically set up for the safety, care and education of children
With a wider span of hours covered, it most probably will fit well into your own routine
Your child is offered a structured learning program by experienced staff
Your child is in a group of children of his/her own age

The fees may be high
Sometimes the waiting lists are long
You might have to travel a certain distance
Staff will not care for your child if he/she is ill

Nannies take care of your children in your own home and she may or may not have childcare qualifications (this is something you need to check). You are the nanny's employers and will be required to pay her a salary, deduct taxes and offer health insurance.

There are different types of Nannies you can choose from:

Day Nanny - who comes to your home everyday at the hours agreed upon.
Live-in Nanny - lives with you in your home. Here you are required to offer your nanny a private room and food.

A nanny provides perfectly tailored hours to suit you
She can follow your own lifestyle and childcare routine
Your child remains at home in a known environment

Nannies are not always trained
They are not registered with Government regulatory bodies
You are responsible for deducting taxes and insurance

You may also have other options to choose for. The cheapest would probably be getting a Grandparent to look after your child. Even this requires some thought as both parties need to be happy with the choices and arrangement.

Next week I'll discuss how best to go about choosing the right childcare for your child, what questions to ask and give you a checklist to make making the choice easier.

Tune in then.

For now I wish you a happy, safe and healthy week.

Resources: - USA
Child Care Aware - USA
ChildcareLink - UK
Advice on choosing childcare - UK
Child Care and Kindergartens - Germany

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: We look forward to hearing your ideas.

This Post was written by Meeta from What's For Lunch, Honey?


Meeta, this is a great article you wrote. I am at this very stage at the moment and living in the UK we are also considering a Nanny. However after seeing the pros and cons I am now leaning more towards a nursery. Thank you! Eagerly awaiting the nest article.


Anonymous said...
March 16, 2007 at 1:47:00 PM GMT+1  

Hi Sarita,
We too considered a Nanny initially, but quickly dropped the idea and chose the Kindergarten option. We just liked the idea of having Soeren in a group with peers his age. Being in a safe and appropriate environment away from home also helps the child to develop a great seal. That was our opinion and find today that it was the right choice for Soeren and for us.

Meeta K. Wolff said...
March 17, 2007 at 12:51:00 PM GMT+1  

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