Posted by Rachael Tom
December 15, 2020
If you're looking for daycare near you, have you considered family or "in-home" child care?
There are so many reasons to send your kids to family childcare.
This cozy, home away from home is the perfect option for parents to need affordable, flexible hours, care for more than one child, and a location close to home or work.
In this article we'll look at:
What is Family (In-Home) Childcare Like?
Before we get to the top 7 reasons to send your kids to family childcare, let's first talk about what it's like.
You may live close to a family childcare and not even know it. Chances are good one of your neighbors is licensed and trained to take care of infant to school age children in their home. And it might be called different things. The names you might hear for in-home childcare include:
- In-home preschool
- In-home daycare
- Home daycare
- Group family daycare
- Family daycare
- Home preschool
A family childcare is usually located in the professional's home, apartment, or condo.
There may be a sign in a window or on the house, but not all in-home daycares are visible from the street.
If there is a fenced-in yard, you might see lots of colorful toys and playground equipment. You may hear a few kids playing outside with the teacher.
Inside the family childcare, there is usually an entire area - like a remodeled basement or an entire floor of a house - specially set aside for children.
One room may be the quiet room for nap time, or for sleeping cribs.
There are probably bookcases with tons of children's books, and lots of toys organized by age and activity.
Usually you'll see a short children's table and those cute little chairs, ready for crayons or other crafts.
The bathroom has a step stool so kids can reach the sink to wash their hands, and there may be a small potty for children who are toilet training.
No matter what, you'll see a colorful play space where children feel at home and loved while playing and learning.
What's Happening Today?
Family caregivers love to show off what makes each child special. Usually there's a bulletin board with kids' photos, or pictures they've drawn. You might also see announcements for parents and a calendar.
When you hear children laughing and talking with teachers, you may even hear more than one language, like Spanish or Somali.
Some in-home daycares have a chalkboard where they list out the day's schedule. This is important because children need routines.
It might look something like this:
Something Smells Good!
There is also a kitchen nearby, where the daycare provider makes meals and snacks for the children.
If you child has special dietary needs, or food allergies, their food will be carefully prepared and marked.
The daycare will probably cover all meals from breakfast to dinner, depending on the parent's schedule.
At an in-home daycare you'll see there are only a few children, at most 12 or 14 at a time. They may be the same age, or they may vary in ages from infant to school age.
There may be up to 3 or 4 trained and certified staff caring for the children, making sure each child gets special attention and care.
The lead teacher is usually also the owner of the home. They may hire other assistant teachers to help out.
Working together as a team, the teachers make a safe, compassionate space by sharing responsibilities like:
- Making meals and snacks
- Cleaning up after meals or activities
- Changing diapers or toilet training
- Supervising outside time
- Watching over naptime
- Reading books out loud
- Hosting sing a-longs or playing with instruments
- Making crafts
- Teaching and hosting learning activities
Top 7 Reasons to Choose Family Childcare
Got a picture in your head of what it's like to be at an in-home or family childcare? Sounds nice and cozy, right? If only there was one for grown ups!
Let's go over the top 7 reasons to send your kids to a family or in-home childcare.
Every child is different, and many adjust best at a child care where they can get one-on-one attention.
At an in-home childcare, there's often just 2 or 3 children per teacher, which means your child will get the snuggles and smiles they need to feel safe and loved. That's especially important with COVID-19 when we need to be extra careful to protect everyone's health and safety.
As Helana, who has provided family childcare in California for more than 16 years, says... "They will love on your children as if they were their own."
That's because in-home daycares can take only a few children at a time. Some can take 5 or 6, others are licensed to take at most 10 or 12 at a time.
You can go on to work or school knowing your child is safe and well cared for while at a family childcare.
Home Away From Home
With all the comforts of home, children feel almost as good at a family daycare as they do in their own house.
At an in-home childcare, your child will get that the furniture, family photos, and other personal things say this is a safe, comfy place with people you know. It's just cozier than a faceless, industrial building or a generic child care facility.
Look! There;s a kitchen, a bathroom, a front door, a maybe a yard. Just like at home. Your child will be happy to go to their other home each day, and who doesn't want an easier morning drop off?
Close to Work or Home, Day or Night
Because they are located in regular houses and apartments, there are usually quite a few family daycares near your home or work. Think about the money you'll save and time you'll have to spend with your family by not sitting in traffic for an extra 30 minutes each day.
Quite a few family child cares will take children when parents are working nights or weekends. They feed children dinner and put them to bed on their regular schedules, ready to come home when their parents are off work.
When you contact a daycare on Carina, be sure to ask if they take children overnight, allow late hours, or are open on weekends and holidays.
Stable and Reliable
Because there are so many family daycares that accept a wide range of ages, your child may be able to go to the same family daycare for many years. That means 2 great things: 1) You don't have to search for new care every few years, and 2) Your child develops a caring, meaningful relationship with their daycare teacher.
This is important for child development. Going to the same place year after year helps children feel more happy, secure, and open to learning.
Many children love the reliability and routine of going to the same daycare from infancy until they are ready for school.
And they are very happy if their brothers and sisters can go to the same daycare with them. Plus mixed age groups -- from infant to preschool to school age -- help children with their social skills.
Personal, Nurturing Care
In-home daycare owners will proudly tell you they treat your children like extended members of their own family.
With a small number of children in their care, they can often take "family" outings to the park for story hour, or even nature hikes or sidewalk strolls.
Meals are usually served family-style. Comfort, familiarity, and small group activities are a big plus.
Sharhonda chose a family daycare through Carina:
Family childcare tends to be less expensive than what you'll find at big corporate daycare facilities. That's because in-home childcares don't have to pay as much for business rent, franchise fees, and other corporate expenses.
But the lower cost doesn't mean you'll sacrifice quality. It's the opposite! In-home daycare staff meet the same training and background check requirements as the people who work at the big generic places.
Find out why using a not-for-profit childcare matching service like Carina saves parents money.
Plus, parents may be able to ask their home daycare to reduce costs by letting the parent bring sack lunches, diapers, or other supplies. In-home daycares may also be more flexible with parents only needing part-time care or offer sibling discounts.
Licensed, Trustworthy Care
All of the in-home daycares on Carina are licensed. A childcare license means that daycare meets the state standards.
To be licensed, a daycare must meet official standards, such as:
- Health and Safety
- Safe sleep practices
- Caregiver to child ratios
- Group Size
- Food preparation and serving
- Staff training requirements
- Emergency preparedness plans
- Background checks for staff
Each state has different licensing standards. Ask about your state's licensing standards by checking with your local Child Care Resource and Refferal (CCR&R) agency. Search here for your CCR&R.
Some in-home or family daycares on Carina list specialties or accreditations, meaning they meet certain requirements above state licensing requirements.
For example, an accreditation from the National Association for Family Child Care means the childcare provider meets a long list of education, care, and safety standards.
There are several national organizations that accredit childcare programs. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) are the two most common childcare accrediting organizations.
So what do you think - are you ready to find a family childcare near you now?
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