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Could a nanny share, family-friend care, or in home program work for you?

In Home Child Care

The affordability of in home child care is often appealing to families. Additionally, in home providers can offer 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 could gather some information from the center based program page. If considering in home, also consider closely the caregiver child ratio, the ages served, and if the home based care is licensed.

In Virginia, in home providers caring for four or fewer children are not required to be licensed. We strongly encourage families to consider only licensed options. You can be an advocate by recommending to the provider that they could to become licensed or voluntarily registered. Parents must be especially attuned to health and safety procedures as there is no oversight of unlicensed programs. At the very least parents should ask about emergency procedures and verify a recent background check report for the provider and anyone in the home.

Nanny Share

A nanny share has many of the benefits of having your own nanny and a reduced cost and more friendship opportunities. Scheduling might be a little more complicated with a nanny share. 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.
  • How will the nanny manage the children of differing ages?
  • Which homes or place spaces will be acceptable? How will cleanliness, safety, and emergency plans be maintained in each space?
  • What will you do if there is a illness in the group?
  • 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?
  • Consider, how long will this schedule work for both parties?
  • How will parenting style differences be handled?

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