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What are the advantages of in-home child care?

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    There are many options when it comes to choosing a childcare provider for your kids. Traditional daycares, nannies, and in-home daycares are the most popular. In-home childcare is where one person cares for a smaller number of kids in the comfort of their home. 

    Parents are often reassured by the guarantees offered by the profession of registered childcare providers. The main advantage is that this type of childcare is regulated by strict laws, which oversees your children's safety and maximum welfare! It is mainly for these reasons that many parents prefer this solution to care for their baby.

    More Loving Environment

    In-home child daycare provides a friendly home atmosphere for your child while offering the benefits of socializing with other children. The day-to-day routine may be more relaxed and tailored to fit the children in the setting rather than adapt to the setting itself. Most providers encourage you to call and check on your children whenever you feel it necessary. And because the relationship between the provider and you and your child is more intimate, the provider is more in tune with your child and can notify you more readily if something is wrong.

    Affordable and Convenient

    In-home daycare is usually cheaper than daycare centres. Without the overhead of a traditional facility, an in-home provider can afford to charge less. Plus, an in-home daycare provider can be more flexible with her hours. For example, she may be more open to accommodating last-minute care for your child if needed and can usually be available around holidays, while traditional centres are not -- or will charge more.

    Smaller Groups

    In-home care has the benefit of having smaller groups of children in the home. This allows the children to have more one-on-one time with the provider, offering more learning time and interaction with the provider and other kids. The smaller group of kids in the home also helps prevent sickness from being passed around.

    Benefits of Childcare Programs

    Safety — Licensing requirements for childcare facilities include safety measures and inspections that ensure compliance. In comparison, in-home daycare (an individual who cares for a small group of children in their home) tends to be less regulated, and nannies and family-member care require no regulation.

    Consistent Care — Unlike nannies or other caregivers, childcare programs run on schedule even if a teacher is sick or on vacation.

    Less Expensive than a Nanny — While childcare programs are, on average, more expensive than in-home daycare or a family member who may care for your child for free, it can be half or even one-third the cost of hiring a nanny.

    Stimulation – Quality childcare programs for babies and toddlers offer plenty of varied stimulation through movement, meaningful interactions with adults, play materials, outdoor time, and free-play and organized activities.

    Age-Appropriate Care – Quality childcare programs separate children and tailor their care, play materials, and activities based on age. An option like in-home daycare may not be able to do this.

    Skill Acquisition – Research shows that babies and toddlers who attend high-quality childcare programs have a slight edge over other children regarding language and cognitive skills.

    Social Support for the Family – Parents who send their children to childcare programs develop better social networks linked to numerous benefits, including better mental and physical health and stronger job prospects.

    Consistent Location – If you choose a preschool with infant and toddler programs, your child can stay in one place until she's ready for kindergarten. This can make stages like separation anxiety easier to get through and create a general sense of belonging and security for your little one.

    Top Reasons to Consider In-Home Family Child Care

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    Kids Receive Care in a Home Setting

    In-home family childcare is an attractive option for many families because their care setting is essentially a home away from home. Quality care providers can offer families the comfort of care in a setting similar to what kids are used to at their own home, complete with a living room, play area, kitchen, backyard, and bathrooms.

    In-home providers typically treat their charges as extended members of their own family, and a small (and manageable) number of children in their care means that the brood can often take "family" outings to the park or story hour, or even nature hikes or sidewalk strolls. In addition, meals are usually served family-style in a central dining area, and comfort, familiarity, and small group activities are enticements.

    Child-Provider Ratios Are Small

    Licensed home providers operate within the regulations specified by the state in which they reside. One of those requirements is how many kids can be kept by anyone family provider.

    While the number may vary, most in-home providers care for six or fewer children. Often, providers may choose to keep less. Compare that to a daycare setting where sizes may be larger, and it is easy to understand why this can be a preferred option for many families.

    When considering in-home care, an important question is how many kids will be cared for during any given day and whether that number changes based on circumstances.

    Family Providers Are Often Close and Convenient

    Family care providers can often be found in the same neighbourhoods, or at least nearby, where you live, so convenience plays a key role.

    Depending on the provider, some may even offer transportation assistance to enrichment activities or other programs that working parents can't provide.

    Infant Care Feels Right at Home

    While some parents prefer to move their toddler or preschooler to a daycare setting before entering school to become used to more children and activities, many families like the small and more calm and quiet home environment for infants and young children.

    Nurseries at daycare facilities can sometimes look institutional, which can be offsetting to parents with a baby. However, having an in-home provider who can care for a child in a nursery setting with only one or two babies can be appealing to many. In addition, many providers limit the number of kids they watch in any particular age group to provide a better balance of care.

    Training and Experience Are Typically Good

    Every family provider will have a different experience level and training qualifications, so ask. But to appeal to parents and to be ready for any potentially dangerous situation, most providers have completed safety training, have had their home inspected by state regulators for safety conformance requirements, and have gone the extra mile for extra peace of mind (yours and theirs).

    Check with your state about what you should look for with a licensed care provider, and if you choose not to use one, be sure you understand the implications of that as well. For example, while most childcare workers receive some training, parents are most comfortable with experienced providers who have received extensive, ongoing training.

    Child Turnover Is Low

    Whereas kids may come and go based on parent satisfaction and work requirements at commercial daycare settings, family child care providers tend to keep the same kids from birth until they are ready for kindergarten. This creates a loving bond between provider and child, as they participate in all the stages of a child's early years and partner with parents to help raise a child.

    Parents and Providers Can Work as Team

    Parents often get to know their child's providers personally. After all, they are in their home and become acquainted with their family. Because of this, parents and providers can develop strong relationships in teaming together to raise a child successfully. Issues such as food choices, potty training, behaviours (good and bad), socialization, and early education can be resolved through mutually beneficial communications.

    Parents should ask questions to learn about the provider's philosophy and routine. Providers should see how any particular parenting requirements can be incorporated while ensuring all kids' needs are met. Since not all parent and provider approaches are compatible, ensure there is a good match before placing/taking a child!

    Family Providers Often Have a Strong Network

    Many family providers develop a strong network of other in-home educators. State and national associations offer training and support, and local providers get together to brainstorm and exchange ideas about activities, challenges, and ways to enhance care services to kids. This is good news for parents, who are on the receiving end of up-to-date advice and providers' networking.

    Another plus is that family providers often establish a backup plan in the unlikely event they become ill. Another provider is available to provide care on a short-term basis. Some providers even meet at a park occasionally and let kids in their care get to know one another, so the backup care plan won't mean children would be meeting someone for the first time.

    The Cost Is on Par With Other Care Options

    Cost is an understandable consideration by families choosing childcare. While rates vary dramatically depending on where you live and even the kids' age, most in-home providers have charges comparable to daycare. Many cost less, especially when factoring in supply fees that corporate care facilities often charge.

    Parents may have greater flexibility with helping with snacks or providing sack lunches, or bringing in diapers or other supplies to help save on costs. In-home providers may also be more flexible with parents only needing part-time care or may offer sibling discounts.

    Parents must also remember that childcare is a business and that a provider will expect on-time payments and timely drop-off/pick-ups of kids.

    The importance of choosing the right home daycare provider

    As with any form of childcare, you should choose your home daycare provider with great care, ensuring that your child will have not only a safe environment but a loving one too!   

    Health and safety at the childcare provider's

    Registered home childcare providers undergo regular inspections to make sure their home is a safe environment for children and must have a minimum of first-aid training. Not only that but they are required to have regular vaccinations. Pour recevoir son agrément, l'assistante maternelle doit être en bonne santé. If you want to know more, read this article.

    A limited number of children

    Another advantage when using a home childcare provider is that the number of children she can care for in her home is limited, so you are sure she will not be overwhelmed by children to watch! How the number of places is determined is explained on this page.

    Formal training required

    Childcare providers must also have a minimum training requirement (usually between 30 to 120 hours of training, depending on the provincial legislation) to ensure their professionalism and qualifications; note that this is just the minimum requirement. So you know your baby's caretaker knows the basics to support your child's development. Again, it's a guarantee of quality.

    More likely to be insured

    It is in the home childcare provider's best interest to cover herself in the case of an accident. That is why, even though it is not legally required, many childcare providers purchase extra insurance on top of their house insurance. This should be something you discuss with her before you start working with her.

    Family child care providers typically have:

    • 1 to 4 caregivers/teachers
    • smaller facilities with a home-like environment
    • fewer children (typically 3 to 12 children)
    • mixed-age groups with children of different ages

    Child care centres typically have:

    • larger staff (lots of caregivers/teachers, as high as 30+)
    • larger facilities with a more institutionalized feel
    • many more children (anywhere from around 20 to 150 or more)
    • separate age groups, i.e. all babies are together in 1 group. All preschoolers are together in another, etc.

    The benefits/advantages of a home-based child care program include:

    • a home-like environment
    • a closer teacher to child bond since the caregiver often cares for the child the entire day
    • fewer cases of illnesses since the child is exposed to fewer children
    • mixed-age groups allowing for more sibling interaction
    • better teacher to child ratios since there are fewer children per teacher
    • a more flexible caregiver who accommodates your needs (i.e. a more relaxed vacation policy, more likely to allow for a flexible schedule, etc.)
    • lower tuition rates (usually)
    • a caregiver who often becomes part of the family

    The benefits/advantages of attending a centre-based child care program typically include:

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    • potentially better educated/trained caregivers (although not always)
    • a more structured schedule and school-like environment, especially beneficial for older preschoolers in preparation for kindergarten
    • more likely to have an educationally enriched curriculum that encourages literacy, language development, social and emotional development
    • opportunities to socialize with more children and teachers
    • substitute teachers, so should the caregiver become ill, someone else will fill in
    • enrichment activity opportunities like soccer, dance, music or foreign language classes are common
    • the use of technology (i.e. computers, pads, and smartboards) to assist learning (not as common in homes)
    • better secured entrance and possibly in-class video cameras for surveillance

    The potential downsides/disadvantages of home-based child care include:

    • possibly less educated teachers and less educationally enriched curriculum
    • perhaps more exposure to television
    • sole caregiver with little supervision, so trust is essential

    The potential downsides/disadvantages of child care centres include:

    • Different people are caring for your children due to shifts and high staff turnover rates. Your child is less likely to form a deep bond with the caregivers.
    • Less flexible policies about sick leave, vacation, etc.
    • potential to be exposed to a rigid academic curriculum which may be developmentally inappropriate and could discourage future success
    • higher tuition rates (usually)

    Why link up with a home-based care service?

    Home-based care providers vary greatly, so it is important to do your research and ask many questions. Every provider should have registered and trained teachers who will visit your child and their caregiver. Ensure police checks are carried out as well as health and safety checks. You can also access the Education Review Office (ERO) report, a government assessment of the performance of all early education establishments in the country.

    A quality home-based care service will provide:  

    • Monthly visits from a trained early childhood teacher, who together with the caregiver, can identify your child's strengths, interests and abilities and plan for their learning on a one on one basis. 
    • The flexibility to choose your caregiver if you wish and to make your conditions around wages and working hours.
    • Guidance on interviewing a caregiver and contracts.
    • Quality educational resources to match your child's learning and interests.
    • Many home-based care services provide a monthly written learning journal that documents your child's developing skills, interests, and strengths for the month and ideas and resources for the next steps in their learning.

    What's best for your child?

    Selecting quality child care is crucial to your child's future. Studies have shown that the positive and negative effects of child care have proven to be long lasting. For example, infants and toddlers in poor-quality care are more likely to become less compliant and self-regulated preschoolers. In contrast, high-quality child care programs help children do better in kindergarten and beyond.

    Family child care providers and child care centres can offer poor and high-quality child care, and each type of care has its advantages and disadvantages. Since every family is different, you must decide which type of care is best for your child. Regardless of whether you go with a home daycare or a child care centre, look for a high-quality program that is licensed, has low teacher-to-child ratios, offers a developmentally appropriate curriculum, and has trained and experienced caregivers who will be invested in your child.

    You're reading An Overview of In Home Care. In Home Care (IHC) is a flexible form of child care which enables families that work non-standard hours, are geographically isolated, or have complex and challenging needs, to access government-subsidised child care in their own home.

    Advantages: care for child at home is stable and realizable and stays in our own home environment. Disadvantages: children don't have a chance to play with other children and more expensive.

    Research has shown that the best age for a child to start daycare at is at least 12-months-old.

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