Although it can be heartbreaking, there are many parents who have no choice but to take their infants to childcare outside of their own homes. Work or financial commitments and sometimes even health issues make it so. Some parents choose to take their babies to an in-home daycare rather than a daycare centre because they prefer the idea of a home daycare setup. In the UK, in-home day care providers are referred to as childminders.
Is home daycare better than a daycare center?
The center based child care vs. home based child care is really a matter of preference and convenience. Where you may have to travel a longer distance to get to a good daycare, for example, but have access to an in-home daycare close to your own home, you might prefer to have your baby at an in-home daycare. In addition, if you realize that one or the other works out cheaper for you, that could become the basis of your decision. Be cautious basing your decision only on prices though as there are other factors you should consider. Financial cost is never enough when it comes to your baby.
In-home child care cost
In home daycare costs are not always as low as you would imagine. Yes, your child is not in a formal institution and is most likely with a smaller group of children than if they were in a daycare centre.
Indeed, the average cost of a registered childminder’s services as of 2020 is £118 per week. Outside London. Within London, in-home daycare cost is around £174 per week. Certainly, this is affordable compared to the average London daycare costs of £182 per week. However, you have to weigh the two options carefully.
Consider the distance of each option from your own home and from your workplace for example. You need to be able to get to your baby as quickly as possible if necessary. Also consider any special needs your baby may have and how well-suited each provider is to cater to those needs. It also pays to listen to your gut when you tour an in-home daycare.
The best time to tour a home daycare
Once you’ve checked the home daycare’s licensing, you will want to physically see the place you’ll be sending your baby to before you confirm things. When you speak with the provider to book a time, be sure to let them know that you would like to visit later in the morning and at a time when their other children are not napping yet. This way you are not disturbing the children. Also, you get to see the children playing and interacting as they usually would in that environment.
Going late in the morning also means there is less pressure on the childcare provider to deal with activities like feeding the children so they can focus on showing you around and answering your questions.
5 Major Home day care red flags
- Pets that are free when the children are around
Particularly in a small home daycare layout where there are not many other places for possibly dangerous pets to be, you should think carefully about whether this is the place for your baby. If any pets are not separated from the children, it’s a red flag.
- Unlicensed or unregistered members of the household
While the care provider may have the required qualifications and have the perfect home, if there are any other members of the household who are not licensed but are sometimes present around the children, that is a big red flag. You do not know this person’s background and should not feel safe to leave your baby around them.
- Health and safety hazards
Watch out for tripping hazards and unsecured exits. Where is the home situated, to begin with? Is it on a main road with plenty of traffic? Can’t see any sign of a smoke detector or fire extinguisher? Does the property have a swimming pool or other large water body with no secured barrier around it? Is there a lot of glass furniture? Anything that could put your baby in the way of bodily harm should ring alarm bells. Electrical wires being exposed is another example of a hazard that you do not want around your baby. Do not even bother to question whether the wires are live or not.
- Unhappy looking children
She might very possibly have five babies who are all miserable at the time that you choose to visit. However, it’s still important to take notice of that sort of thing as you want to know your baby is going into an environmen that will make them happy.
- Unsanitary surroundings
Take note of how clean the home is. Is it dusty or in need of a thorough vacuuming? Are there bits of dirt on the floors? Babies love to put everything in their mouths. You don’t want your baby to have lots of options of old food and dirt on the floor that they can ingest. If the provider can’t keep their home clean to a satisfactory level, there are most likely other things they’ll do that you won’t approve of when it comes to tending to your baby’s cleanliness.
There are important questions to ask if you want to determine the suitability of this in-home daycare for your infant. If you don’t get answers to these questions when you initially speak to the provider or when you are being given the tour, you should ask before you leave.
10 Important Questions to ask in-home daycare for infants
- What is the highest number of children that you’ve cared for at one time?
- What is the age range of the babies or children you care for?
- How much time do the children spend outside?
- Is anyone else on the property during the hours that you’re caring for the children? Will they be playing any role in my child’s care? If so, are they also licensed care providers?
- Are you open during school holidays?
- Do you recommend someone who can take over if you fall ill?
- What happens if you have an emergency and need to take off suddenly?
- What are your return to daycare rules if any of the children get sick? Do they need to show a doctor’s note confirming that they’re fit to return to daycare?
- Do you provide any meals? If not all meals, which ones should we provide?
- Do you require additional payment for anything at all?
Have you used/are you using in-home day care? How did you decide on the best one for you?
Have you rejected any in-home day care in the past? What were your red flags?