Child Care Options
Whatever the age of your child, finding quality child care can be a challenging and emotional experience. You are looking for an arrangement that will work best for your family and one in which you will be confident that your child will receive love and good care.
The first step in this process of choosing child care is to know what your options are. To begin, the age of your child will impact what kinds of care are available to you. Children are not required to attend school of any kind until they are age six, although most children benefit by at least attending a kindergarten program at age five. Many families, though, require child care to meet their needs to balance family and work/school responsibilities.
Your needs and those of your child will help determine the advantages and disadvantages of each option and will help you decide what is most appropriate for you and your family. You should look at different options and remember that the quality of care varies within each type of arrangement. After assessing your needs, you can learn more below.
Assessing Your Needs
There are a number of parents' needs to consider in choosing child care:
Schedule and duration: Do you need full time or part time care? Do your hours of work change? Do you need a flexible schedule? Do you need care year around?
Cost: What can you afford to pay? (In-home providers tend to be the most expensive and family providers tend to be the most affordable option.) For how many children are you paying child care costs?
Location: Would you prefer child care near your home or near work? Where is your pediatrician located? Do you drive to work or do you need child care near public transportation?
Preference: With which type of program are you more comfortable — a small, informal group, or a larger, more organized program in an institutional setting?
Do you want your child to have one-to-one child care, or be with other children?
Is the child care you are considering consistent with your values? It is important to have a good match here. Parents should feel comfortable with whichever choice they make.
Of course, the most important factor is the physical and emotional well being of your child. Therefore, the child's needs are the other important consideration in your choice of child care. You may find that your child will require different types of care at different ages or developmental stages, or that your choice may reflect the differences in each child's temperament.
An EAP counselor will speak with you and do an assessment to help you determine your childcare needs and the best resources to meet those needs.
Child Development Stages
Learning About Child Care Options
Choosing a Summer Camp
Child Care Related Websites
How a Mothers' Group Can Help You
Safety Checklist for Parents and Providers
Child Care Resources
If you would like to talk to a Partners EAP Consultant for assistance with issues related to child care, please call 866-724-4EAP.
In case of emergency, please call 911 or your local hospital emergency service.
This content was last modified on: 07/01/2011