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What are pros and cons of a home day care vs a day care center?

User in Dedham, MA
June 23, 2018
Answers

I am taking a sociology class at my university on families and we looked at the pros and cons for family day care versus a formal day care center. The statistics show that family day care has by far the most fatalities, and many of these fatalities come from violence (example: shaking babies). More stats: the person running the family day care center spends about 34% of the day doing their own household needs, such as laundry, paying bills, caring for their own children. There are also people that can come to the home, such as neighbors, boyfriends, etc. that may end up interacting with the kids that parents may never know about. At a formal day care center there are multiple employees available to watch the kids, and to watch the other employees, and it is a single purpose organization, meaning their only job is to care for the children at the center, unlike family day care where the provider can get away with taking on other household jobs too. There also also only certain people authorized to interact with the children. This obviously shows how negative family day care centers can be, but of course some of these are only statistics and each center will vary. I would only send my child to a formal day care center.

The question is Pros and Cons of Family vs. Centers. How about listing them from your Study instead of a negative, biased answer written in a persuasive manner from the get-go. Not cool.

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User in Greenwich, CT
July 20, 2019

i dont think you can generalize which one is better. it really depends on who is working there and the dynamics in each one. check them both out and get to know who may care for your child

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User in Upton, MA
June 15, 2019

As a home child care provider, I've found that this setting allows for more one on one time with each child and it allows for more teachable moments such as a clogged drain (use baking soda and vinegar), pet care and flexibility such as extending the curriculum when children want to "run" with a particular unit or theme.

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We avoid daycare because I've know some who worked for them and had bad stories. I also witnessed some horrifying conversations with a daycare provider in a public restroom with one of the children. For me, not knowing who's caring for (or NOT caring for) my child scares me. U can't see references. With an in home u get references. I don't trust in hoke either though because who knows what happens when those doors are locked. For me I feel safest with a nanny and also a hidden camera. U can never be too Sure and the thought of someone being mean or hurtful without my knowledge kills me. We set up a camera and with one sitter I could hear her making fun of my 3 yr old and laughing at him because he couldn't say his ABCs right. He cried and she laughed harder. We fired her. Another sitter decided to have a conversation with my 3 yr old about how she's "part black" and some people "hate her because she's black." We fired her too. Be your child's advocate and protector is all I gotta say. There's tons of weirdos out there.

User in Holyoke, MA
Aug. 9, 2018

Oh my goodness Crystal! Sorry you've experienced bad nannies/babysitters. I have a little guy who is 3 and couldn't imagine this... As a mother, and someone who LOVES children I'd never ever treat a child this way or talk to them inappropriately. It really makes you wonder about people.

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User in Ridgewood, NY
Feb. 20, 2019

How old is your child? If he/she is at least a year old, I always tell parents that if it is possible, split up the time for your child- have a few days at home with a caregiver and a few days at a daycare center. At home, the child has one on one care, a more stable environment, and it is just cleaner. At a daycare, the attention is divided, sometimes, children cannot nap on schedule, and when you have that many children together at once, someone is ALWAYS sick and passing germs around. But on the flip side, socialization is a WONDERFUL thing (and the only pro I can think of.) If you work Monday to Friday, I would suggest 3 days at home and 2 days at daycare especially during the cold season when you can't go to the park.

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I worked in a daycare I would never put my child in daycare.Get a camera in your home and hire someone. so the can get one one one

User in Scottsdale, AZ
Sept. 23, 2016

I always find it very interesting when someone feels a need to put a camera in the picture! The truth of the matter lies with your baby,as the baby will tell you exactly what is going on!

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User in Potomac, MD
Jan. 25, 2019

We've looked at both for our newborn and found the in-home day care (as in a local person running a daycare in their home) to have more personalized attention. Our state requires a 3:1 ratio and the one I found in particular only accepts 3 babies at a time.

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User in Howell, MI
Jan. 21, 2019

I would never put my kids in a center, especially an infant. I want to know who is caring for my child. Centers have to much turn over and so many strangers coming and going to pick up kids. We have a woman in a home day care with an excellent reputation and fantastic educational program. Best choice we ever made. We feel very fortunate so I would suggest you do your research.

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I have worked in a formal day care center, at a home day care center, and as a nanny. I think having a nanny is the best option. However, if that isn't an option for you the differences that I have notices is that at the formal day care center there are state and DCFS strict rules that they have to follow where as a at home day center there isn't. At a formal day care center the children are in their age group and at home day center the age differences can be mixed. I have noticed that at home day care centers they are more willing and honest with the parents. Whereas a formal day care center they are mainly just going to tell the parents what they want to hear. Also, most of the lesson plans at a formal day care center don't actually get done, especially for younger children.

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I have been a professional nanny for 20 years and have worked as an assistant teacher in both a licensed daycare and in a ministry daycare. I also have my Associates degree in Early Childhood Education and a CDA license. I have loved being a nanny and working one-on-one with families. It is such an intimate setting and it's so rewarding to watch the children grow and develop while they are in my care. I tell all of my friends that if they can afford a nanny, that's a great way to go. It's more convenient for the parents and is comfortable & familiar for the child to be at home. As a nanny, I do art, play games, go on bike rides, etc. I also take children to parks, the zoo, museums, libraries & on other fun adventures that they would miss out on if they were at a childcare center. However, there are benefits of childcare centers. Children will be with other children, will most likely have a curriculum based development program, and is less expensive. Another good option could be in-home childcare. My best friend babysits out of her home and has a much smaller ratio of 1 to 3. The children get more one-on-one time but are also exposed to socialization with other children. All 3 can be great options. My advice is get referrals and go and visit several places (all 3 options should have an open door policy). Think about what you want out of a childcare provider, what you want for your child, and what you think would be the best option for your family. I know it's a major decision and is scary to find someone to trust with your child! Good luck and GET REFERRALS & GO WITH YOUR GUT!!!

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It depends on what you mean by "home day care." If you mean having a caregiver come to your home and care for the child in your own home, this offers more stability and personalized, one-on-one care. The child is in his own familiar environment, so he can spend more time playing and learning rather than having to get used to his environment. It is also helpful for sick days, as most childcare centers won't accept sick children. A daycare center however is great for socialization. Kids will learn how to interact with peers and other adults. There is also typically more structure in the day (daycare will have scheduled activities whereas in-home would be more play-it-by-ear). Ideally, a little of both would be the best option for a child's development.

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Autumn in Irving, TX
Feb. 26, 2018

In general, home day care provides more stability and attention for your child. Unfortunately, commercial day care centers have a lot of turnover. Children need constant and caring adults in their lives to develop properly and many day care centers simply cannot provide consistency. The only pros of a day care center I can think of is socialization with peers and potential for more resources like a playground and music class.

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As an early childhood educator and experienced nanny, I would suggest you look into both options. You will have the instincts to distinguish between the quality group care environments and the questionable ones. I suggest you take the following factors into consideration:

 

  • Your child's age: Social opportunities with similar aged children become very important at 12-18 months. Children learn how to use different communication strategies among peers, have more opportunities to practice regulating their emotions, and gain learning experiences that just can't be reproduced by an adult/child dyad. If you have an infant, group care has fewer benefits (in my opinion), except that it offers care that better suits the schedules of working families. Toddlers and preschoolers benefit from same age groupings, which you are more likely to find at a center.
  • Hours needed and budget: How many consecutive hours do you need to leave your child in the care of another person? This builds on my last sentence. High quality private care with extended hours is very expensive. Daycare is by no means cheap, but they rotate staff to cover the longer days. I have found this prevents caregiver burnout.
  • Early learning: Licensed daycare centers are held accountable by the states in which they reside for curriculum and documentation. Centers that accommodate Kindergarteners are held to an even higher standards because the Department of Education gets involved, as opposed to just the Department of Children and Family Services or the Department of Health. Home based care can, sometimes, reflect the needs of the caregiver more than the developmental and academic needs of the child.
  • Health: The argument about the risks/benefits of early exposure to viruses and illnesses is as old as the nature/nurture debate. Research now suggests that we shouldn't shield our children from germs, and that they are just as likely to pick up a virus from our car keys as they are at a daycare center. However, a center is going to call you to pick up your child when his/her temp goes over 100, or he/she has a green runny nose. Home based providers can be more flexible about sick care. Do you or your spouse have the flexibility to accommodate sick days? A child under three is going to have a lot of them.

 

 

I hope this is helpful to you, and good luck on your search!

 

~Casey

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The age factor is the aspect that needs to be addressed in this situation. Infants through the first three years have requirements that cannot be met by commercial operations for many reasons. From three years or depending on the child at that time, the type of care changes and they are able to handle themselves and adjust into a larger group. I hear about marketing tactics that are designed to appeal to the parents to bring in the revenue, and the fact remains that it is just that. A child under three years does very well with an experienced professional private provider and I have over thirty - five years of clients to attest to it !

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Reba in Chicago, IL
Aug. 28, 2018

Hey this is really helpful information, that would help anyone who wants to go for a home day care.

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It really depends on the individuals working at the various settings; moreso than the actual place. You can have horrible providers at a daycare, or a horrible Nanny. Just ask whatever you need to ask and be up front with your care providers, always do background and reference checks on anyone who you're having care for your children!

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I have a home daycare and my two children are a part of the daycare as well, so it's great because they have children of different ages to socialize with. I never put my girls in daycare center because it is just too much commotion, they don't get individual attention which I think is number one, like cuddle time and time to just sit and talk with them. I've had so many friends bring up that their kids get sick all the time, hit or bit and just not getting enough attention. Having a home daycare is home! The children in my daycare share my home as my family does which put children at ease to feel secure in our home, they gets tons of individual and group time with learning and structure but the flexability to accommodate the children's needs. Unlike a center that has to keep everyone on a strict schedule because they have so many to look after and don't want delays for anything outside of that schedule, like individual attention or a hug when they miss Mommy. My home daycare is small and I only take one baby so I have that time for everyone. Maybe some home daycares aren't responsible enough or make it their full time job but I am definitely dedicated to caring for all my daycare children just as I would my own. My day is for my kids that's the best part!!!

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As a certified childcare provider, I have experience working as an in-home babysitter and at daycares, so I will share a bit of my experience: At home - Children tend to be better behaved whether at my house or theirs. They already know there are rules at their house (such as no climbing on the sofa and jumping off) and they understand I have rules for my own house as well. In-home settings are less stressful for the children where they are more comfortable because it's a smaller, more familiar environment with a select few people around on a regular basis. They know what to expect and what is expected of them. There is also more one on one time given at a daycare, one person can be responsible for 12 kids depending on age group. However; there can be downfalls such as if your provider gets sick, unless you have a backup plan, there is no one to call in to work last minute. The ideal daycare will provide games, toys, and study material. Most have a set learning schedule for preschool and school age children, which is a good way to ensure learning. It might not be as one on one, but if you can find a daycare provider who is doing their job up to par, your child will get the education, interaction, and care they need. One downfall may be germs and illnesses do spread quick in daycares; however, it is good for children to get sick sometimes! It does build immunity. All in all, I believe it depends on the provider you choose. There are some in-home providers who may prefer to sit on their phone and let your child run wild until you get home and the same goes with a daycare. However, at a daycare, there are rules (I couldn't have my phone at the daycare I worked at) and you can report the employees if need be. There are also cameras set up at most daycares to ensure the safety of your child. If something happens at your home, you may be completely unaware of it. There also comes a time when children want to "messy play", which is healthy and educational. Types of messy play may include playing in shaving cream, finger painting, play dough, experimenting with mud. In-home providers may be more willing to engage in messy play because there are fewer kids and less mess to clean; however, they may not engage in messy play for fear of not wanting the responsibility of making your house spotless. In a daycare, messy play may be taken away if there is a kid who ruins it for everyone. So, it really all depends. I would test the waters. See what you like and don't like. Get ideas and set strict guidelines if you choose an in-home provider. Also, don't be afraid to ask the child what he or she wants! They will let you know where they are being cared for the most. (my child cries to go to his babysitter vs his daycare) Good luck!

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In-home daycare centers are usually more personal because they have a lower provider-child ratio.

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Pros of a HOME day care: -The child is where he/she is most comfortable at. -The child has his/her own entertainment. -It's cheaper. Cons of a HOME day care: -If the child's sick there's only one provider. -Age group isn't separated. Pros of a Day Care Center: -Learning standards. -Grouped by age. -Providers aren't allowed to have so many children. -There's more than one provider. -Interacts with other children of the same age. Cons of a Day Care Center: -May not be comfortable. -Cost's more. -On a time frame. -Other children may cause problems with others. -Behavior my change in a bad way (although it could also change in a good way)

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CareTest in Atka, AK
June 12, 2019

This is a test.

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I worked in Day Care 7 years ago. As a mother I will not put my child in Day Care with many reason. Home care? Yes! If two kids for one adult and I have to have a good gut feeling, mama instinct.

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I feel the biggest difference is that in the home care setting. You get to choose your caretaker far more specifically to cater to what you want for your child. The difference in the daycare version is that often times as in 100% of the time your child is being raised not just by a teacher with less time for him, but also by other children. Who's parents may or may not be what you want in a caregiver. Only upside for a daycare that I see might be if there is an emergency with the single in home person who backs him or her up? At a daycare there are many adults to take charge if need be. That said there is much more risk at the daycare as well.

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Laura in Garner, NC
Feb. 9, 2018

When my son was young, I used both. The in-home care was provided by my friend at church. So I felt very comfortable dropping my son off at her house. Don't know that I would have felt the same if it were a stranger. In-home care is less structured, and probably less accountability. I started using day care centers when I moved and didn't know anyone I trusted. They did a good job.

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User in Concho, AZ
May 11, 2015

Home day care is great because your child can interact with other kids their own age while getting more individualized attention. But a day care center most likely has a better educational curriculum.

User in Scottsdale, AZ
Sept. 23, 2016

Most children are not ready for an educational curriculum until they are old enough to graduate from private home care.

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User in Phoenix, AZ
March 2, 2015

Hi Kristin! I hope I can help you with your question. I have been a preschool teacher since 2002 and became a nanny in 2011. They they have the same pros and cons with maybe a couple of differences...home day cares ratio will probably be smaller. Some, depending on the ratio do not have to meet DCFS guidelines (which are strict) and your child will most likely be mixed with all age groups. So if you have an infant or toddler school age child will also be there at the same time. My suggestion is go with a nanny, way more pros with that. I hope this helps. Best of luck to you and your family!

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How much should you pay for a babysitter?