Could a nanny share, family-friend care, or in home program work for you?
In Home Child Care
In home child care centers can be a less costly option that provides a close bond with a consistent caregiver and a small group of children to play together. One of the big challenges to high quality child care programs is turnover and so home based care often provides that crucial attachment figure more effectively than center based programs. In home child care is a crucial piece to the early childhood puzzle. Schools and child care centers can be unaffordable so home child care is often a cost effective alternative. Families considering home based child care can look at the center based information but also should consider closely the caregiver child ratio, the ages served, and if the home based care is licensed.
In home providers caring for four or fewer children are not required to be licensed. If the home is not licensed, we strongly encourage families to consider other options and recommend to the provider that they could to become licensed or voluntarily registered. An unlicensed program has no oversight which means parents must provide be especially attuned to health and safety procedures. At the very least parents should ask about emergency procedures and verify a recent background check report for the provider and anyone else in the home.
A nanny share has many of the benefits of having your own nanny with a bit of a reduced cost and more social opportunities. Scheduling might be a little more complicated with a nanny share and you will need to negotiate rules and expectations with the other families. Review the hiring a nanny section and explore these additional reflection questions.
- Consider how many children you feel comfortable with the nanny caring for.
- Which homes or place spaces will be acceptable and how will cleanliness, safety, and emergency plans be maintained in each space?
- How will the nanny manage the children of differing ages?
- How will illness among the group be handled?
- How you will handle a family in the nanny share welcoming a new child into their family and your group?
Neighbor, Friend, or Family Care
Sometimes a friend, family member, or neighbor offers to help out and this can be a very cost effective option for families. This is much like hiring a nanny so it may be useful to review that section. Adding a child care role to a relationship can strain the relationship so have a clarifying conversation before jumping in.
- What will the roles be? What will the financial arrangement be?
- How much notice will each person give if there needs to be a change? When will you automatically revisit the arrangement?
- How long will this schedule work for both parties?
- How will differences in parenting style be handled?