Tantrums, mealtimes, whingeing, disobedience, bullying, stress, loss of patience, sibling rivalry and fussy eating all contribute to at home parents requiring time out. As for working parents, everyday they strain themselves to financially support their families whilst also worry about the effects their absence will have on their child or children.
So what’s a parent to do? Give up any hope of returning to work? Continue slaving away at home as they become increasingly impatient and angry at their child? Abandon your child to the clutches of any Tom, Dick, or Jane who hangs up a childcare shingle? Beg your aging parents to give up lawn bowling and golf in favor of spending quality time with their precious grandchild?
Difficult as it can be to find quality childcare, the situation isn’t quite as dismal as you might think. While you might have to set your sights short of finding a real-life Mary Poppins, you don’t have to settle for any of the scary characters who regularly make their rounds on our television sets every night.
In todays society there are many options parents can take when it comes to childcare. When considering which choice to take it is vitally important to make sure their childs needs are meet. Childrens physical, emotional, social and intellectual needs must be met if they are to grow and develop towards their full potential. Whether at home or in some form of childcare, children require essentials such as love, security, praise and recognition, responsibility and space to explore and learn new things.
Alternative options for childcare include:
a baby-sitter – an individual who comes to your home and watches your child / children on an irregular basis. In most cases they are a local teenager with no special training. However, most schools and girls clubs now offer training courses in baby-sitting, first aid and infant / toddler CPR.
au pair (mainly in America) – A foreign visitor who wishes to experience another way of life. In most cases the individual is from another country and live with the family and receive a salary. Duties include light housework and childcare in which they work under the supervision of the parents and may or may not have any training. Au pairs provide up to 45 hours of childcare per week, on top of room and board, they generally receive approximately $115 to $125 per week. Families are also responsible for paying $500 per year toward an au pair’s tuition costs and $3950 to participate in the program- a fee that covers recruitment expenses, air transportation, training, insurance, and support from a community counsellor.
a nanny – A childcare specialist who has special training in childcare, health and safety, and nutrition. Duties are childcare and domestic tasks relating to childcare, depending on your individual family needs, you can obtain a live in nanny or not. A nanny may be full or part time and must be over the age of 18. Their fees range from $2000 to $4000 per month (plus room and board, if applicable) with many also expecting you to provide them with a car allowance and/or the use of the family vehicle.
day care/family childcare – Care for infants and preschool children in the caregivers home.
day care center and day nursery – Care for infants and preschool children. It may be located in the caregivers home or in another location. The center is licensed and the staff have to meet your states required minimum for training and adult / child ratio. The cost is approximately $30 per day for an infant, $28 per day for a toddler, and $24 per day for a preschooler. If you’re paying by the hour it will be around $5.50 for an infant, $5.00 for a toddler, and $4.50 for a preschooler.
There are many principles good childcare centers aim to address, some fundamental idealsinclude:
Warm and friendly interactions between the children and staff
Staff treating all children equally and trying to accommodate their individual needs; they respect diversity or background and treat both sexes without bias
Using a positive approach in guidance and discipline
Verbal and written communication with all families about the centre
Active exchange of information between parents and staff
Staff communicating well with each other
The program being planned to reflect the philosophy and goals
The program incorporating learning experiences appropriate for each child, as indicated by developmental records maintained by the centre
The program fosters personal and social development, fine and gross motor skills, creative development and aesthetic awareness
Toileting, nappy-changing, sleep time and mealtimes are pleasant occasions
Staff being alert to the health and welfare of each child and trying to ensure that each child is clothes appropriately for indoor and outdoor play and for sleep.
Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers have very different needs when it comes to childcare. This is due to the huge developmental leaps that occur in just a matter of months. This is something that needs to be taken into account as the very same environment that is ideal for an infant can be enough to bore a toddler to tears.
Infants (ages birth to eighteen months) thrive in environments in which they can have a strong attachment and individual interaction with their caregiver. .
Babies need a safe yet stimulating environment in which they are free to explore (as opposed to being confined to playpens or cribs for unreasonably long portions of the day).
Toddlers (ages eighteen months to three years) receive the best care when the caregiver-child ratio is relatively low but dont require as much one on one interaction as infants. They need caregivers who have the patience and energy required to contend with their ever-changing moods, and who have realistic expectations of their behavior. Another essential is a safe environment that encourages their natural love of physical activity and active exploration while providing them with plenty of opportunities to practice new skills, do things for themselves, and make simple choices.
Preschoolers (ages three to six) tend to require socialization and interaction with other children their own age more then with their caregivers. Yet they need caregivers who have the time and patience to field their endless questions and an environment that provides them with access to age-appropriate activities and equipment as well as plenty of opportunities to build upon their increasingly sophisticated language skill.
For everyone of us that has hired a childcare provider whether it was a babysitter, nanny, au pair, daycare center, family day care center, etc.., there is someone else just starting. Yet whether it is their first time or their fifth. Whether you are looking for in-home care or an outside facility we all want the same thing. When we envision safe, quality childcare images of Maria from the Sound of Music and Mary Poplins come to mind. What we need to remember , is that even these two child care providers, great as they were had their flaws. Both just up and left leaving their employer without any notice and in a bind ( although Maria did return, the period in-between was a problem none the less ). Every parent must be realistic in their expectations, yet at the same time they must be diligent until they succeed, not settling for less.