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Choosing Childcare

Choosing whether or not to go back in itself is a minefield and the whole issue of choosing childcare can be equally as emotional. Are you lucky enough to have local grandparents who don’t mind helping out? Or are you looking into options like a nanny, au pair, child care centre, home-based child care (either in your own home or in the home of a ‘shared’ nanny) or even a friend you pay to help you out?

Here are some things to consider in your decision:

  • Full-time, Part-time?
  • WHY are you going back to work and who for?
  • Geographic (near to home or near to work)
  • Financial (often child care centres are more cost-effective than a private nanny)
  • Convenience (if you know you are going to have 8am meeting every day then it may be easier to get someone to come to your home rather than rely on a child care centre that doesn’t open until 8.30am)
  • Emotional (who will look after my wee darling and keep them as safe and happy as I will? Not to mention the fact that nobody wants a complete stranger looking after their precious cargo).
  • Alternate work options like starting a small business and becoming a Mumpreneur.
  • Recommended or attended by friends/family?

What were some of your key considerations?

A good friend of ours decided to hire a Nanny for her first child when she returned to work (at 6mths). She resigned 5 months later citing the fact that she couldn’t stand that ‘someone else’ was raising her child, doing all the things she wanted to do with him and being the first person to experience all those special moments. She declared that if she had placed her baby in a child care centre, she believed that she would have remained at work.

No matter what you decide, one key tip is to get on the wait list. Even if you are unsure whether you want your child to go to a child-care centre, visit a few and put your child’s name down, even before they are born. The best ones get snaffled up early on and waiting lists are long. Also, have a plan for child-care and then a back-up plan. You never know what’s around the corner – eg your office might relocate, your inhouse educator might move countries…you just never know.
A Mother With Something To Prove – Jacqui’s Story

I put Jack in a child care centre close to work full-time from 8mths old. It was a disaster. He contracted every bug going (my father-in-law named the place The Petri Dish), he would cry and cling to me every day and would have to be prised off me. I would sit in the car outside the office crying and asking myself what I was putting my child through. He was often the first baby to be dropped off at the centre and the last to be picked up due to a demanding job and a stubborn Mother (me!) who thought she had something to prove.

With my second child, I did almost the opposite. I had had such a hard time with Jack at daycare, that when I did eventually return to work after four years at home, I decided to get a Hot Nanny. Ironically, due to their different personalities, Jack would have been better-suited to me not returning to work at all, whereas Sasha would have thrived in a daycare situation or, as Nat has said to me, she would have been running the place!


Daycare or Kindergarten?

Daycare or Kindergarten?

A Mother With A Diminishing Desire To Work – Nat’s Story

Over my career as a ‘mother’ I’ve done the ‘shared’ nanny thing, the nanny thing, montessori, daycare and kindergarten. Like Jacqui, I went back to work early for possibly ‘the wrong reasons’. As Projects Manager for a new business (there were only four of us) I felt that I ‘should’ and could handle it. I put Ruby’s name on the list at daycare but didn’t want her to start there until the age of one as she seemed too young. So I knowingly went for the expensive option of a nanny who would come to my home and care for my darling while I worked 2 days a week from home. I could breastfeed her and see her and it was great but I literally was not making any money. When she turned one, the transition to daycare went smoothly and I upped my hours to 3 days a week.

With baby # 2, I worked even less. I took 8 month off and gave work the explicit instruction NOT to call, email or ask me to do any work. I I then worked 12 hours a week while both kids were at daycare. Mathematically speaking the more kids, the less cost effective daycare becomes. Add to that the fact that my passion and interest in ‘work’ significantly diminished and spending time with my kids was WAY more important.  I soon dropped to 10 hours a week and then to none at all. With my third child I looked at him at age 1 and thought – he’s so young!  It’s amazing how your views change over time.

What are your thoughts and experiences with ‘choosing childcare’?  Anything you wish you’d done differently?


Related blogs:

Stay at Home Mum or Going back to work

Working Mother

Get it done Mum

Written by

Raised in Toronto Canada, Nat received the 'enthusiasm award' in Grade 7 and not much has changed. She has always loved bringing people together and challenging them to be more than they thought possible. Her background includes Personal Development, Corporate Team Building and Environmental Education. She now lives in Auckland New Zealand with her husband Matt (Nat & Matt) and their 3 children Ruby, Jonah and Xavier. Nat's excited to be blogging again (previously blogged for 'Eco Centric') and sharing parenting and relationship stories with others around the world.
  • Laurena

    I prefer sending out my child to preschool center and getting a baby-sitter or home based-education. The learning progress of a child is more effective if the child could mingle on her peers. Also, getting out of comfort zone will do more learning than being stuck at home.