There are many kinds of child care to choose from. It helps if you look at all the options. What is good for other children may not be the best for your child. You will need to compare price, hours, how good the programs are, and if they are close to home or work. Child care options include:
If you can, both parents should help choose which kind of child care is right for your child. Take your child with you when you visit and talk to the people who will take care of your child.
When you need to find child care, it helps to:
Child care centers may also be called preschools, nursery schools, or learning centers. Most centers take children 3 to 5 years of age who are toilet-trained. Some take infants or toddlers younger than 3.
Child care centers must be licensed by the state. They must follow safety rules and the center staff must have certain kinds of training. The states also have rules about how many adults are needed to take care of a certain number of children. Check your state's laws. Federal guidelines for centers suggest no more than 3 infants for every adult; 4 toddlers for every adult; and 8 children aged 3 to 6 for each adult.
Before and after school care is most common for children 6 to 12 years of age. They may be open during holidays, school breaks, and vacations. Child care centers for school aged children may be in a day care center, school, church, or youth group such as boys and girls clubs.
Your employer may have an on-site child care center or a flexible savings account to help you save money to pay for child care.
Benefits of child care centers:
Drawbacks of child care centers:
This kind of child care is done by people who care for children in their home. The person who takes care of your child is often a mother with her own small children.
People who provide child care in their homes are usually licensed by the state. All states have rules about the number of adults needed to take care of a certain number of children. It’s best if a child care home does not have more than 6 children per adult, including the caregiver’s own children. No person who takes care of your child should care for more than 2 children who are under 2 years of age without another adult to help.
Benefits of family child care:
Drawbacks of family child care:
Child care in your home means hiring someone to care for your infant or young toddler in your own home. The person who takes care of your child may be a friend, neighbor, relative, or nanny. You can hire someone for half-day, all-day, or before or after school. If you hire the person through an agency, they will do a background check. You may be able to do a background check yourself. To learn more, contact Child Care Aware.
Benefits of child care in your home:
Drawbacks of child care in your home:
Before and after child care is meant for children 6 to 12 years of age. This type of child care may be in a day care center, school, community center, or in a home. These programs take care of children in the hours before and after school. They may take care of children during holidays, school breaks, and vacations. They may be more willing to work with you based on your needs.
Special needs child care provides care for children with certain medical conditions or disabilities. A child with special needs is one who requires some type of extra care due to a physical, emotional or health reason. This might include needing help with feeding, communicating, moving or toileting.
Centers that care for special needs children must meet certain guidelines and their staff must have extra training.
To find a special needs day care center or an in-home child care worker in your area, talk with other parents of special needs children or with your child’s doctor or therapist. You can also contact your local United Way, Easter Seals, or Child Care Aware.
You can find out about child care options from:
For more information, contact: