Most parents would love nothing more than to spend every day home with their children. Unfortunately this is not feasible for most families and one or both parents spend more time at work than they do at home with their kids.
As a new parent, there are several different situations to look at in terms of childcare, each with its’ own pros and cons:
One parent stays home:
- Pros-A very strong bond grows between the parent who is home with the child(ren) and there should be no worries about any harm coming to the child under the watchful eye of the parent. There is also the huge benefit of not having to pay anything for childcare.
- Cons-While the bond strengthens with the parent at home, the parent that is working can feel left out of raising the child. Depending on the financial security of the family, money can also be a worry if only one parent is providing for the family. If something happens with that parents’ job, the entire family could be in trouble.
Child stays with grandparent/aunt/uncle/etc.:
- Pros-Again, with a family member looking after the child, the care should be better than leaving the child with a stranger. Family members will often watch children for little or no charge simply because of the familial relationship which can greatly decrease the financial burden on the parents.
- Cons-As well-intentioned as they can be, close family members may sometimes overstep their boundaries. If the grandparents are older, there can also be worries that as children start to run around, the grandparents may not be able to keep up with them physically.
Child stays with close friend:
- Pros-As with family relations, close friends can usually be counted on to provide a high level of care for the child, but may not be on par with family members. There may be limited cost for this option as well. If the friend is a nearby neighbor, the child can benefit from being in a familiar area.
- Cons-While boundaries may not be as much of an issue with friends as with family members, there is always a concern of mixing friendship and “business.”
- Pros-Professional Daycare can be quite expensive, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Daycare centers are usually required to pass inspections and obtain licenses from the state to be able to care for children. This option also gives the child an opportunity to socialize with other children on a daily basis.
- Cons-You get what you pay for. The cost of sending a child to daycare can get very steep. Some employers offer programs to differ some of this cost pre-tax, but those programs may not cover the entire bill.