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Old 07-09-2012, 11:55 AM   #1
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In home daycare or a center?

Well, looks like we are going to daycare! My grandparents have watched DS since he was 12 weeks. My grandma fell down the stairs and broke her ankle Friday night, so my gpa is taking care of her. We have DS taken care of this week and next but after that I don't know what we'll do. So I'm looking for child care and trying to decide between in home care or a daycare center. I was pretty set on in home, but I've found some centers that look nice. I would love someone to come to our house but I don't even know how to start that, plus DS could use the interaction with other kids. So, what do you use? And why? And if you've done both, do you like one more than the other? We're TTC #2 also, so we'll have another LO in care when that happens.

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Old 07-09-2012, 12:28 PM   #2
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After my first was born, my mom and MIL took turns looking after her but that only lasted about a month. After that, I had her in a daycare center until my son was born. I took an extended leave (actually was laid off), and just returned to work part time a couple months ago. They are now both in an in-home. So I can say that I've done both.

Honestly, I didn't think I would go the in-home route because I like the structure of the center but I found a lady who is wonderful and the cost is reasonable. I also like the idea that both of them are together. They would have been in separate rooms if they were at a daycare. Given that I was home with my son for long time, I think it would have been hard on him to be completely separated from both mom and sister. The downside is that she is taking vacation, so I have to find coverage for those two weeks. I knew this ahead of time, though, and I do have family around to help, so it's not a biggie. It's something to think about especially in the summertime. You usually don't have to worry about that with daycare centers.

I loved the daycare center that my DD was in. It was a few minutes from work so I was able to stop by at lunch and such. I also liked they had a program where they would teach them different themes each week. The staff taking care of the kids was great, the front office staff was not so great. I did get a sense a lot of employees weren't always happy with the management and there's always turnover which makes it hard.

In the end, it really comes down to a gut feeling and sometimes what you thought you wanted changes as in my case. Just start calling and touring places and you'll get a sense of what you like or don't like. Good luck!
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Old 07-09-2012, 12:46 PM   #3
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Re: In home daycare or a center?

We've done both and I like them each for different reasons. Daycare centers are typically more structured in their daily routines, which is something my son really needed. The home daycare gives more one on one and is typically a smaller atmosphere. Home daycares IME are also more flexible than centers. It just depends on what you're looking for!
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Old 07-09-2012, 12:50 PM   #4
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Re: In home daycare or a center?

I think you need to start out with figuring out what you want for your child, your budget, what environment you are comfortable with, how many kids per provider, activities, etc. You have to figure out what is most important to you. In general, here are some pros for both places as well as cons.....

In-home daycares: Pros: homey type environment, usually smaller ratios, more attention per child, interaction with various ages, usually more apt to accommodate special requests or preferences, usually much cheaper rates, long term relationships established with the same kids and same provider. Cons: each place can run a bit differently so you need to read their policies and contracts carefully. you need a good backup plan should the provider but suddenly ill or take a vacation.

Daycares: PROS: sometimes have degreed teachers or structured preschool type programs, lots of socialization, sometimes field trips or educational opportunities, reliable care as far as the staff covering for one another in case of illness. CONS: large ratios, high staff turnover at many places, can be pricey, do not generally offer any individualized care or personalized care, your child will be exposed to much more illness

I HIGHLY recommend in-home daycares but you need to do your homework first. Find someone who is experienced and runs a good program...tidy place, nice outdoor place, stays within state regulations and ratios, CPR certified, educated if you prefer, good references from current and past families, shows dependability, has a well written contract and communicates expectations well.
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Old 07-09-2012, 01:03 PM   #5
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Re: In home daycare or a center?

We've done in-home since ds1 was 1 year old (he's now 5). We have had several different caregivers in the past 4 years. It's been a struggle to find one consistent person. We just decided to put the kids into a center this coming school year. We had different issues with each in-home place. But we are ready for consistency and more time availability. It was hard to ask about dropping off or picking up at a different time other than our normal time. It always seemed to add some tension for a couple days. I'm excited to see how they do in a center atmosphere. When choosing it comes down to your gut feeling. Visit as many places as you can and talk to the caregivers. Good luck deciding, it's a tough choice to make.
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Old 07-09-2012, 01:15 PM   #6
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Re: In home daycare or a center?

I agree with the pp's that there are pro's and con's to each and it really comes down to what you are looking for. Personally I prefer in-home daycares. I never liked the "Big Box commercial" feeling of daycare centers. My kiddos are in an in-home daycare and we've been there for almost 6 years now. My oldest started Kindergarten last year so will only be there in the summer and holidays but I also have a 20 month ds that is there year round. I love the owner - we chat each morning when I drop the kids off. She is super flexible with schedules, is very affordable, and we don't pay for days the kids aren't there. (Centers charge a flat weekly fee whether your kids are there or not.) She does close for 1 week each year for her vacation and I just take my vacation during that time so I don't have to worry about finding alternate care. It is less structured than a commercial daycare center, but she does have a preschool program and my oldest really did learn a lot and was well prepared for Kindergarten when he started at age 5. Of course she is also licensed through the State of Michigan so she does have requirements and standards to meet and has inspections. So I know my kids are safe and happy there.
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Old 07-09-2012, 03:37 PM   #7
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I don't think it matters, as long as you like it. In home is usually less expensive, but if the person gets sick you're out of luck. At a center they have back up staff, and a director you can go to if you have issues. What really matters is you and you're child are happy with it. It can take up to two weeks to adjust.
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Old 07-09-2012, 04:42 PM   #8
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Re: In home daycare or a center?

I will say though that many providers have back up providers or assistants (like me) so even if i was sick, daycare is still open. not every provider is out there all on their own.
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Old 07-09-2012, 05:19 PM   #9
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Thanks! There's an in home provider here who could work, but I wouldn't be able to take DS for 4 weeks, and we only have coverage for 2 weeks. So thats a problem. I've found a couple centers that look nice and I've contacted them. It's going to be hard because my grandparents want to keep watching him, but it's too much for my gpa to do, and we don't have people to watch him while we wait. The downside is that I need a place in 2 weeks so I need to find something quickly. My moms wasn't thrilled when I mentioned daycare but i do think it would be good for him. Right now the only time he's around other kids his age is at church once a week.
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:25 PM   #10
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Re: In home daycare or a center?

I have a 2 1/2 year old son and have worked in public daycare afterschool in high school and also assisted through college when my mom had an in home daycare. After seeing both sides I really wanted in in-home daycare for my son. My husband did not really care. There are pros and cons to both sides, but I wanted the lower ratios above all else. My son is in care with another boy a month older. He is watched by a fellow teachers mother in law and it works out well. Her back up are my parents which are half an hour away and can come to our house when she is sick. She is off on for the summer as well as our days off. We pay her weekly, but not over spring or christmas break but the few days off that we do have. I hope you find something that works for you.
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