View Full Version : Help needed - Centre based or family day care dilemma
I need some advice on which kind of care to go for.
I am going back to work full time on 26 June as this is all work can give me right now. I had hoped to take another couple of months off but it just hasn't worked out that way so off I go.
Here is my dilemma, I have been offered a place four days a week at a childcare centre near me and can get the fifth day at one in the city but it would mean that bub would have to be in two centres at least for the time being (although he is next on the list for the extra day). I have also just been offered full time care with a family day carer locally (meeting her tomorrow) which would mean only one place but less social contact with other babies for bub.
I am really not sure which way to go and I'd love some advice from people who have done this.
What a big decision you have to make!!!! I have worked both in long day care and as a home based carer. It is a very personal decision!! I think you should wait until you have met the family day carer before you decide. There are positives and negatives for both, it depends on the the quality of both places. If your DS has to go to two different places until you get a full time position i would try and make it 3 days and 2 days (instead of 4 and 1-only if that is posible). As for the social stimulation with other babies you can ask how many children the family day carer cares for (i have 4 a day and that is more than enough for that aged baby).
Good luck with making your decision i am sure you will make the right one:)
With family day care, you can have issues if the carer or their child/children are unwell.
I also don't like the fact that carers in FDC will sometimes take the children to the shops etc. I like to know exactly where my child is at all times when in care.
I'd totally go with FDC - but I'm biased because my DD goes two days a week :)
Reasons being - I would prefer her to only have to get familiar with one place, FDC gives them opportunities for social interaction as much as a centre (a baby his age doesn't need 30 other kids to entertain them, 3-4 is more than enough ;) ). Also they tend not to get as sick in FDC as they do in the centres - less kids = less illness to share around as a general rule.
Also when you start FDC the scheme should give you a form to fill out saying what you will and won't allow them to do. You can specify if you don't want them taken out without your knowledge. My daughter goes FDC with my MIL who has been doing it a long time. Even so I specified on her form that I don't want her to go swimming while she is there - I don't trust anyone, even MIL, to supervise her around water.
Thanks guys, I'm leaning towards FDC now a bit but hubby is worried about days when the carer is sick so he is leaning toward the centre. There is also the worry that if the FDC doesn't work out or she decides she can't take him any more then we have lost our chance with the centre. His name has been down at all the centres I could possibly have got him to since well before he was born and this is the only one who has been able to offer me more than one day a week so far. They were also my first choice of centre as they are closest to home, reasonably priced and a bit smaller and more personal than some of the others. I also really like the hands on approach the director takes to the children.
If the centre could have offered me the five days there would be no question in my mind but he is so little to go to the big scary centre in town one day a week.
Could you maybe get him into the CCC for the 4 days and FDC 1 day a week? Or, as someone else suggested - CCC 3 days and FDC 2 days per week? Maybe talk to both about it?
I have chosen a childcare centre over family day care, my reason being is the taking children out places. I know where I will be dropping DS off and picking him up and know he will be safe. My friend used FDC and her son had a few incidents when out and about as the carer only has two hands and 4 children. He fell between a train and a platform :eek: also lost one nike shoe another time. My friend was too worried what would happen next. I pondered over it and unless I knew the carer well which I wouldn't do I decided to pick the centre, it was my first choice centre out of the others I had DS's name down and I don't want to risk losing the place as they are so hard to get. These are my reasons only not trying to persuade you one way or the other. I do know people who split days with FDC and CCC's and it works well.
Each Family day carer is different with outings , for example I only take the children i care for to the park which is walking distance from my house (I have a three seater stroller and the older child will walk).
-You can ask the carer if she goes on outings? how offen? Plus she can not go any where without your permission!!
With sick days, i have never taken a day off (as i don't get sick- when you work with children for a long time your immune system builds up).
-This is a great question to ask the family day carer. How long has she been a caring for and how many days has she had off?
In Long day care you can also have problems with staff having a lot of sick days, rdos and holidays as your child is explosed to lots of casual workers who they don't know.(this is not the case in all centres)
If you are worried she won't be a family day carer for long, just ask her what her plans are and how long she is planning on doing this for?
You could also ask the centre what would happen if you wanted to wait for a full time position? You would probably still be first on the list if something came up!
Hope this helps a little:)
Have to say my 2 girls aged 2 and 3 have been in FDC since 4 months as I had to work and I love the home environment. i used to work in a centre and the simple fact is children don't get as much 1 on 1 care as in FDC its not possible.
But in saying that - you need to find a good carer who will hug and love your child when they are sad and laugh when they are silly
I have used both FDC and a centre. FDC was from when DD was 4 months to nearly 2, and a centre for the last 4 months. Most of the centres I looked at when DD was a young bub I just wasnt happy with the amount of hands on care the bubs were getting. Whereas she was the youngest baby at FDC and I knew she got lots of cuddles. Her FDC was like a 2nd mum (though I was always 1st in DD's choice!).
As others have said, it will really depend upon the individual FDC person as to which you should choose. It should be the one you are most comfortable with and think will give the best care for your child. FDC usually have 4 pre-school children maximum which is enough social exposure.
Outings with FDC are always only with your approval and will vary between FDC. One FDC i used most of the time never did any outtings. The other I used for fill in would walk/push the children down the (quiet) street to the park or to pick up the school age kids, drove them all to a play group once a week (all in car seats as appropriate), and did bigger trips like to the science centre during school holidays.
I have used both...and had a bad experience with the childcare centre.
Our experience with FDC was wonderful....very loving, safe and secure environment. My little boy thrived within his known boundaries and his 3 other little friends. He went 3 days a week and over that time was exposed to about 8 little children.
My FDC mum used to cook for the kids, and buy toys for my DS to take home if she saw something out & about that she knew he would love. She never takes them out of the house and I'm quite comfortable with that.
My DS was hardly ever sick - in fact for one whole financial year - we didn't have to take him to the Dr once. This was quite different to the centre care where in 6 months he was off sick several times and hospitalised with a virus once.
He now goes to a C&K centre because he was getting older and looking for the next stage of learning ... this was on the FDC's recommendation. I've had many comments from the CK Centre now about his manners, ability to create his own play ideas and interact with people of all ages etc. A lot of this behaviour was contributed to by the FDC Mum who had great ways of teaching the kids manners, the importance of talking to others, using their names, listening, sharing and playing creatively.
For me - I couldn't recommend it highly enough.
But for others - it hasn't worked.
Unfortunately, sometimes you have to make the best decision you can and then see if it works for you & your family. If not, you then need to be prepared to fix the problem.
Thanks ladies, your advice has really helped.
I have been to meet the FDC lady and she is really lovely. She has four kids of her own who are all at high school and takes in only four kids at a time to look after. I feel really confident of leaving DS with her. I was really worried and upset after my visit to the centre where DS would have had to go one day a week. I am sure it is all fine and they have a good reputation yada yada but it was clear to me that they were relying heavily on agency staff on the day I went and that the lady in charge of the babies room had never clapped eyes on the young girl who relived her for lunchbreak. I am sure the young girl was a good carer but I don't want to leave my little baby with strangers which I guess is inevitable at such a big centre. Maybe that will be less of an issue as he grows up but right now I think we are going to give FDC a go. The FDC lady also takes them out twice a week to the storytime at the library and to playgroup so he gets to do the things I would do with him if I could afford to stay home.
I think I will take the advice and speak to the other smaller centre about keeping my name on the list for full time too though just in case it doesn't work out.
Great to hear you've found a good FDC MUM:D
I hope your son is very very happy there:hugs:
I was a FDC provider for 10 years. I would ask families leaving my care if they would mind being a phone reference for me for any future families I might care for. No one ever said no so I could offer potential new families references if required. I also had written references from families I had once cared for. This can help ease the apprehension parents face when trying to decide on the care they want for their child.
Im so glad you found a FDC you clicked with. I personally feel a very young baby can benefit from a FDC environment due to smaller numbers and one consistent carer. Who can resist cuddling and loving a baby? I couldnt!! lol And as mentioned earlier, you are usually asked to fill out a form listing what you do and dont want from your carer, and this includes whether you want a carer to transport your child anywhere. I would always take my group out to a FDC based playgroup as it gave the children in my care the chance to socialise with other children apart from those in my care. Carers must meet stringent guidelines when transporting children with regard to car seats, booster seats, etc.
You can ask the carer what backup care is available if they need a sick day? And I feel this is the biggest downfall of FDC as opposed to a centre.....backup childcare if your carer is ill. It can be ok if you have a family member/friend who would n't mind taking over but if you are totally on your own without this type of support then perhaps FDC may not be the ideal solution for your family.
Good luck with your childcare choices. :)
I have really enjoyed reading about the pro's and con's of both kinds of care- and they both have pitfalls and advantages... It's just about what things you are willing to compromise and what you deem as most important when making a choice.
I agree to all the positive aspects of fdc, I really do. But there are days when I am struggling so much with my two children (under 2 yrs old) and getting pretty stressed out. It's a HUGE relief when DH comes home and says "here, you are having trouble- I'll take over with this for a second, you need to chill out for five mins and come back when you're not so heated". Without this help every now and then (and I am in awe of all the single mum's out there who do this everyday) there could be times where it all gets just too much. With fdc there is no one to say "go have your tea-break, you are getting too stressed" and no one to say "I have to go to the toilet, can you make sure this kid doesn't hit/poke out eyes/bite/ect". I worry about the lack of accountablity and transparency.
DH was in fdc as a little boy and his mother felt she knew the carer so well- but she didn't know this carer's partner to the same degree (of course) and he proceeded to take off his belt and use it on the children regularily and was also violent towards the carer. My m-i-l removed my DH from the home after arriving early one day to take him home and wittnessing the abuse.
Child care centres have huge setbacks though....
I guess no-one can care for our children as well as we can! Which is what makes this decision so so hard!
Aijent- it is so hard, but both kinds of care have setbacks, and the experience my DH had isn't common. My 2 yo boy loves his one day a week in childcare, still in it from when I used to work, but I'm considering going back to work in a month or so and my baby girl will be 3 months old. A c.c centre just doesn't seem appropriate for her at that age, so I am in conflict also.
I too sometimes wonder if the stress of having children in care is worth the extra cash...
Good luck coming to a decision- whatever you choose!
Well I am the back up system to all my friends lol. After my son i went back to work when he was just 6 weeks old and now i'm finding it really hard with him, he always needs me to find him something to do as he is used to it. My daughter has always stayed home with me and she just crawls around looks for things to chew on lol. ( she is only 9 months). In any case i have had days where my day care centre could't have DS so i had to find someone. I think in any case you should try and get a back up system, just remember if they are sick a daycare centre won't have them. I have my friends kids all the time, i feel like a taxi service lol but i love it when they see me and get all excited i'm coming to get them from creche or school. And i don't charge any of my friends, i see no point i'm home anyway.
I remember being in a FDC as a child and I hated it. It was because the mother favored her own children over my brother and I and her children wouldn't let us play with their toys and we didn't get along. It's 25 years ago and I still have bad memories over it but my poor mum didn't have a choice at the time - it really depends on the FDC and the carer as a person.
I have happier memories of being in a Childcare centre with lots of games and other children to play with and the environment was a lot more neutral. Of course once again it depends on the CC and I'm talking about my own personal experience which was yonks and yonks ago but it's amazing how we still remember these experiences as a child!
I think these days there is a lot more care and regulations regarding the care of children - one of my bad memories being in FDC was the mother sitting at the kitchen table puffing away on her cigarette doing the crossword puzzle and me sitting on the floor terrified not moving or making a sound being bored!!! I'm sure times have definately changed!!! (well I hope so!!!)
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