Working From Home With Kids? Affordable Childcare Options For Working Parents

Are you planning to return to work after maternity leave? Or, maybe you’re a working parent who’s searching for affordable daycare options for kids. Thanks to Covid, working from home with kids has become a norm. Whatever the reason might be, it’s important to plant out childcare ideas for full time working parents beforehand before you go for one. The primary purpose of childcare is to provide a secure environment for the children. It also eases parents to carry out their jobs and other responsibilities.

Good childcare can help your child develop positive thoughts, life skills, and concepts to understand the rules of life.

Statistics show that American parents with children under the age of five spend $42 billion on early childcare and education like preschool programs. 

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From the above statistics, we can conclude that childcare service is a blessing for working parents who want to provide their kids with the right tools and education for a kid’s overall development.

What Are Available Childcare Options For Working Parents?

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It’s advisable to remember there is no perfect fit in the daycare options for working parents. What is significant is finding the right choice for you depending on your child’s needs, preferences like the cost, location, hours, safety, and expectations.

These are different types of daycare options.

1. Daycare Centre

A daycare center provides child care in a nonresidential, drop-off facility. These are the most preferred by working parents.  Some daycare centers allow for hour-by-hour care but must provide either half or full-day services that include activities, meals, naps, and possibly outings.

An expert mostly supervises these centers, and they must have a license regulated to the official standard. The staff is professionally trained in early childhood education to ensure they handle children with proper care.

This type of daycare option is affordable for working parents though costs vary depending on the locating and type of care provided. It’s advisable to use recommendations from friends, search engines, or lists from state licensing agencies to find daycare centers near you.

Pros Of The Daycare Center

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No worries on sick days

You will have less worry during the days when your child is sick, as it’s similar to a nanny or babysitter watching over your kid. It’s significant since reliability is a crucial issue when both parents are working.

Interact with other children

Children get to socialize and interact with other children in the same age group. These will result in the development of their social skills.

Cons Of The Daycare Center

Lack of flexible hours

The parents should pick their children on time. If there is a delay, the parents will have to pay the extra costs to cover the child’s overtime.

Sick children stay at home.

Sick children remain at home to avoid spreading the disease to other children at the daycare center. However, it certifies that the working parents take care of their child at home until full recovery.

2. Nanny

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Nannies are closely involved with the parents in childcare services. It’s advisable to get recommendations from previous families before hiring a nanny. These nannies will help ease the child-caring duties and make work easier for them.

The pros of hiring a nanny.

  • The child is taken care of round the clock on a consistent weekly schedule.
  • Nannies are trained professionally in child development studies or other related sectors.
  • They will help to engage in developmental activities and possibly cook or clean for the family.

The cons of hiring a nanny.

  • Their working rates are often higher than that for a typical babysitter.
  • Less reliable, and there is no supervisory agency.
  • Working parents can also encounter problems if the nanny leaves suddenly or is sick. 

3. Home Daycare Centre Or A Family Care Centre

It’s child care provided in someone else’s home. Home daycare is comparatively a more convenient choice for childcare service due to its low cost.

The home daycare must be licensed and required by state licensing regulations to provide age-appropriate plays and activities to help the child develop socially and physically. It’s also appropriate for the children and requires training for providers.

The pros of the home daycare center.

  • Fewer children to take care of may make some kids and parents feel more comfortable.
  • It’s conveniently located in your neighborhood.
  • Affordable than a traditional daycare center.
  • Qualified licensed child care will help in child development than mere group babysitting.

What Are The Alternatives To Childcare?

Alternative care is an arrangement that can be formal or informal. It can also be either on a temporary or permanent basis. It’s for children who live away from their parents. The guidelines for providing alternative care all arise from two principles.

  1. The principle of necessity means children should only be placed in alternative care if it is essential, and it must be in the child’s best interest.
  2. The principle of appropriateness means that children should only be in alternative care that suits their individual needs and situations.

The main objective of alternate care is to offer:

  • Protection.
  • Stability.
  • The well-being of the child.

The Foster care system should provide the child with the following things: 

  • Education, health, and home.
  • The right to identity.
  • Freedom of religion or belief.
  • Language and protection of property.
  • Inheritance rights.

Also, foster care must not separate children from their siblings unless there is a clear risk of abuse or other strong reason.

1. Informal Care

Informal care is an affordable option for daycare services. In informal child care, you may choose someone who’s in a close relationship to provide care for your kid. The caregiver may be a spouse, parent, child, other relatives, neighbor, friend, or other non-kin.

Benefits of informal care: 

  • Cheaper than daycare services.
  • More trustable since the caregiver is someone of a close relationship with the family.
  • Better attention towards your kid.

2. Sharecare

Sharecare is an affordable daycare service where two families share the same nanny. It is a childcare service where both the families split the cost to pay the nanny. This is comparatively a cheaper alternative to hiring a single nanny, which would otherwise cost a lot.

In shareware, babysitters watch the children of two families at once. However, you can make a schedule that suits your needs.

For instance, you can set days where the nanny would look after the children together. And again, set aside days where the nanny only takes care of one of the families’ kids.

3. Foster Care

Foster care is one form of regular legal care. They provide children with care and protection while maintaining ties to their family, community, and cultural group. The rules indicate that local foster cares should be known in the community.

The main objective of foster care is to provide:

  • Temporary care.
  • Assist the child in integrating back into their original family.
  • To secure the child’s regular care in an alternative family setting.
  •  Support and counseling services for foster children.

Some crucial points to keep in mind in childcare services.

  • The residential care facility that is providing care should be small and organized. It should ensure the rights and child’s needs are provided in a setting close to a family.
  • The agencies, professionals, and facilities involved in the care provider should be monitored regularly. This should be done through reporting, scheduled and unannounced visits, and discussion with and observing the staff and the children.
  • It’s advisable to help children leaving care to transition to independent life as adults. They need to be encouraged to participate in the planning of aftercare life. For instance, they learn a skill that will help them get a job and be financially independent.
  • Significantly, the aftercare should be prepared as early as possible, before the child leaves.

Childcare Tips For Full-Time Working Parents

Raising children can be a tricky balance for working parents. So it’s vital to carefully consider and plan for your family and children’s needs to help lessen the stress associated with a busy work and family life.

It’s crucial to carefully choose the type of child care when you are working. Keep in mind that it depends on the children’s age, affordability, and parents’ preferences.

There are many types of care available, especially for preschool and school-going children. You can enlist help from extended family or use others’ care in a home environment.

The following are tips to make working life easier with kids:

  • Discuss and create a plan on who will drop off and pick up the child from child care or school. The parents who have flexibility in their job can adjust working hours to accommodate their needs.
  • “Sharing the load” of parenting and family tasks helps lessen the workload. Both parents need to discuss their duties and contribute. This ensures both partners are on the same page and not make one partner feel resentful of doing all the household responsibilities alone.
  • If the children are older, they can contribute to the household chores, especially Saturday morning. Leave the rest of the weekend to spend with family and individual activity.
  • When the child becomes sick, which is inevitable, it can become enormous stress for working parents. Both parents need to have one or two other adults like family members who can standby to take care of the child when ill.
  • Spend a quality time as a family because children need to feel a sense of belonging in the family. They need to feel loved unconditionally. Parents should also get to know their children and create happy family memories.
  • The parents need to create “me” time where one parent takes care of the children while the other parent pursues an interest or activity or breaks to relax.
  • Create time to spend as a couple to enjoy each other company. Indulge in activities that don’t involve your kids. The parents can enlist other family members’ help to take care of the children while they are on a date.

Concluding thoughts,

Parents juggling work and raising children are having a lot on their plate. Thanks to COVID, the work from home journey hasn’t been easier, especially for parents with kids working from home.

However, there is no shame in looking for help in taking care of your children. Let’s be honest; the child care sector has helped parents juggle multiple activities like having a career and pursuing further studies, hobbies, etc. Though it is expensive, the fact of the matter, child care is here to stay!

Key Takeaways On Working Parents With Kids

  • Child care is mainly known as a daycare, is the service provided to supervise children who are between the ages of two weeks to twenty years old.
  • The primary purpose of childcare is to provide a secure environment for the children.
  • Also, American parents with children under the age of five spend $42 billion for early childcare and education like preschool programs.
  • Daycare centers are among the top childcare choices that working parents go for.
  • Use recommendations from friends or lists from state licensing agencies to find daycare centers near you.
  • A nanny is a person who provides one on one child care service within a close family setting.
  • They are professionally trained in child development studies.
  • Also, family care is an affordable daycare service due to its low cost.
  • The home daycare must be licensed and required by state licensing regulations.
  • Informal childcare is one of the affordable alternatives to daycare services.
  • The caregiver may be a spouse, parent, child, other relatives, neighbor, friend, or other non-kin.
  • Similarly, shareware is an alternative to traditional daycare services. Here, two families share the same nanny and split the bills.
  • Lastly, foster care is also an alternative for childcare choices. They provide children with care and protection while maintaining ties to their family, community, and cultural group.

Is preschool cheaper than daycare?

On average, a daycare service cost around $950 a month, that too, depending on the location. The preschool cost ranges between $372 to $1100 per month per child.

However, preschools are much cheaper if your kid attends the school twice a week for four hours; the monthly average comes around $400 a month.

What are some of the weekend child care options?

  • Family daycares.
  • Nannies.
  • Babysitters.

Which country/countries have the best childcare?

According to a survey report by UNICEF, Czechia, Denmark, and Sweden are the countries with the best childcare due to their family-friendly policies.

Is childcare free in Europe?

Childcare costs are comparatively higher in UK, Ireland, and the Netherlands. However,  in Malta, the government provides free childcare services to parents who work full time.

What are your thoughts on balancing work with kids? What are your struggles? Let us know your thoughts.

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AT Author is a writer at AlignThoughts. She shares her thoughts and ideas to inspire and help others for personal growth.