How to Choose the Best Day Care Facility for Your Family

Types of day care facilities

A day care is a facility where parents drop children off, usually for a full day, with other kids of varying ages. You have a couple of options:

  • Group day care: These facilities are state-licensed and are usually run similarly to a school, with kids of varying ages cared for in groups. Some of these are run by employers themselves.
  • In-home day care: This child care is run out of the provider’s home, often as she cares for her own children at the same time. Not all states require in-home daycare providers to be licensed, so make sure you find out about the regulatory requirements before sending your child (or while researching your options).

 

Benefits of day care

A good day care program can offer some significant advantages:

  • Continuous care: Most child care centers offer care from the early months of infancy through toddlerhood, and sometimes even beyond.
  • Education: A well-organized program is geared to your tot’s development and growth.
  • Socialization: Your baby will get lots of face time with other little ones.
  • Cost: If you’re planning to go back to work and need someone to watch after your child while you’re away, day care tends to be less expensive than hiring a nanny (although a nanny may be more cost effective if you have multiple children).
  • Reliability: Most centers stay open for about 12 hours to support a variety of parent schedules.
  • Specific to group day care: Staff is trained and licensed. And because there’s more than one caregiver, there’s always a sub.
  • Specific to home day care: There are fewer children than you’d find at a group day care center — which may mean more personal attention and less exposure to illness.

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