Making the right child care choices for you and your family

I have had many people ask me how to go about finding childcare. “What are my child care choices?” “What questions should I ask?” And even what type of care I would recommend.

I worked in most different capacities of early childhood, prior to having my first child. One thing that cemented my decision to stay home with my children is the challenge of finding quality care.

There are basically three options to consider: licensed group care; home-based care (licensed and unlicensed); and in-home care (Nannies).

Questions to consider:

What age will your child(ren) be when they require care? Space is often limited for children under two years of age.

How many children do you require care for? Financially this may almost determine your child care choices for you. Once you have 3 or more children in care, it is often more economical to consider hiring in-home care.

Do you require ‘full-time’childcare (typically Monday to Friday, 7am to 5pm)? Any flexibility required will affect availability of childcare space.

What are your children’s temperaments? Will they thrive in a large group of same-age children? Are they flexible and able to adapt to new routine easily? Do they require an intimate, mixed age-group setting? Do they need their familiar environment and routine to cope well? The child care program of choice will be one that suits their temperament best, if possible.

Once you have determined the type of child care that works best for your family, how do you secure and maintain quality childcare? There are some obvious and some subtle things/questions to help you determine if the child care option you are considering is one of good quality – you can visit Child care options: Top 10 Questions to Ask a Prospective Child Care Provider and Child care choices: 5 Steps To Choosing Quality Child Care for some suggestions.

The bottom-line is that licensing does not equate quality. While it should give you piece of mind that your child care program has met the minimum standards set by licensing, it is ultimately up to the parents to monitor quality of care. I am a huge advocate for childcare licensing, however it is my opinion that the standard set by licensing is 1) difficult to enforce, and 2) a minimum standard that any quality childcare programs should strive to not only meet, but to exceed.

I cannot stress enough: if anything about child care choices do not sit right with you, go with your gut. This is a very personal decision, and one of the most important you’ll ever make in your child(ren)’s formative years. Taking the time to strive toward a long-term arrangement for your family will benefit your child(ren) to the utmost.

Most importantly, observe your children in care! Even after all arrangements have been finalized, be sure to re-evaluate how the arrangement is meeting the needs of your family!

Check back for updates as I add more articles related to some of the specific topics mentioned above!

Click below for information on different types of child care options:

Family child care

Licensed group child care



About Trish

family legacy curator, social justice advocate, blogger, amateur photographer, reader, cyclist, runner & swimmer, mom of two

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[…] first step to find child care is determining what type of care is best for your family (licensed group, licensed dayhome, home-based caregivers, in-home/”nanny” care, family […]