It wasn’t so long ago that having a child meant a mother would likely have to give her job up and not seek further employment for a number of years in order to stay at home and care for the child. In fact, this was largely the case just one or two generations ago, with statistics released by Statistics Canada showing that in 1976, only 31.4 percent of women with a child aged 5 years or younger, had a job. However, by 2012 this figure had more than doubled to stand at 67.2 percent. If you are returning to the workplace after several months on maternity leave, you need to make the necessary arrangements to ensure that your child is properly cared for while you are “on shift.” The main options available to you are hiring a babysitter or enrolling your child in a recognized daycare program. Are you having a hard time making your mind up with regards to which option to choose? During this article we are going to compare these options, taking a look at the various advantages of each.
Professional Childcare or a Babysitter?
Before we start, we have to point out the fact that whichever option you select, it’s critical that you interview the person, or various members of staff, who will be tasked with looking after the welfare of your child and nurturing their development. Making sure that a childcare provider is a good “fit” is essential whether they are a babysitter or a member of staff working for a reputable daycare centre.
Pros of Professional Childcare
- Social Interaction – Unlike with a babysitter, a childcare centre provides your child with frequent contact with children of a similar age and requires them to interact, resulting in the development of social skills from an early age. Completing activities in a group environment, sharing and learning to respect others are all skills that are learnt very early on at childcare. With a babysitter your child will be “shielded” from this until they are old enough to enter pre-school.
- Make Friends – We are always told that making friends and having a “support network” you can rely on are two of the most important things in life, so why not start early? Many children meet some of their long-term friends in a childcare program at an early age; hiring a babysitter deprives them of the opportunity to make friends!
- Structured Program – Many childcare programs, such as the ones offered by the Advanced Care & Education Daycare centres in Thornhill and Mississauga, are well coordinated and follow a content-based curriculum that is designed to develop your child’s academic and cognitive abilities from a young age. This is not usually the case with a babysitter, who doesn’t have strict regulations to follow and a centre director monitoring the work they do, and consequently they tend to carry out more of a supervisory role.
- Reliability – A daycare program will likely have several members of staff, and should someone fall ill, you will still have access to childcare. That means no unexpected cancellations that could potentially throw your whole day into disarray. When using a babysitter however there is no “back up” and should they wake up feeling ill, you’ll be left looking after your child for the day.
- The Financial Side of Things – Another important aspect that is relevant to practically everyone is the cost involved in whatever type of childcare arrangements you decide to make. If money is a little tight, choosing a local childcare centre can be the more cost-effective route to take, and in some cases your employer may be willing to subsidize this.
Pros of Hiring a Babysitter
- Flexible Timetable – A daycare centre will have set operating hours, but should you choose to hire a babysitter, they will likely be willing to provide childcare at whatever times you need. Should you get caught up at work or get stuck in traffic on the way home, they are also more likely to be able to “stick around” at short notice. The staff at daycare centres however won’t be very impressed if you frequently turn up late to collect your child.
- Undivided Attention – A babysitter won’t have half a dozen to a dozen other children to look after like the staff at daycare centres do and will be able to give their undivided attention to your child. This often means they are capable of providing a much more personalized level of childcare, and really “get to know” your child in the time they spend together.
- Familiar Surroundings – At a young age, children are often extremely anxious about spending time in unfamiliar surroundings and with people they don’t know if you (the parents) aren’t present. A babysitter resolves one of those issues, as your child will be cared for in their own home; surroundings in which they are more comfortable.
The decision is ultimately yours, but if you do want to talk to a childcare professional about the benefits of an organized program, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us. We serve Thornhill, Maple, Mississauga and Vaughan and can be contacted on either 905-764-9555 (our Thornhill centre) or 905-270-4555 (our Mississauga centre).