Family Day Care
While one study suggests that over 3.6 million children are in family day care situations, the actual number is unknown. Probably two out of three youngsters are cared for by unlicensed day care providers.
ADVANTAGES TO FAMILY DAY CARE
Homelike atmosphere. When it's good, family day care mimics your home. It's a personalized, caring, and thoughtful approach.
Less expensive. Generally, though not always, family day care is less expensive than day care centers or an in-home sitter.
Sick days. A family day care provider may be more flexible about caring for your baby when she is sick. Being around other kids, while fun for baby, is also a constant source of exposure to viruses. Expect your baby to come down with colds and other viral illnesses. A family day care provider may be more willing to watch your child when she's slightly ill.
Flexibility. A family day care provider may be more flexible about your work hours, if you have to stay late, or work on weekends. She might also be available for baby sitting during non-work events.
DISADVANTAGES TO FAMILY DAY CARE
Burnout. With no adult backup on site, a family day care provider is under greater stress when dealing with a group of children. If she decides to quit her job, you've got to make new arrangements and your baby will have to adjust to a new environment.
Coverage. If your family day care provider gets sick or wants to take a vacation, you may be responsible for finding other arrangements regardless of whether or not it's convenient for you.
Standards. If the family day care you use is not licensed, the recommended health and safety standards and adult-to-child ratio may not be met. Furthermore, the provider may not have formal training in early childhood development.
Decide how you are going to handle days when your baby has a mild illness. Have a backup plan in place before you return to work. For example: Who will stay home with her? Can you use your sick leave or personal days to care for an ill baby? Is there flexibility in your job for you to work at home on those days when your baby is sick and can't go to day care?