Whether you are a working parent or need a break from the overwhelming stresses of parenting a new baby, choosing the right baby care or childcare is challenging for most parents. The two most common options are daycare and care provided by family members, most likely grandparents. Keep reading to know the pros and cons of each option and how you can choose what’s best for you.
What are the advantages of child care by grandparents?
Grandparents can be excellent caregivers for your child. They are someone you can trust and will provide undivided attention to him/her. Kids are shown to benefit from one-on-one interaction. In one study, kids cared for by grandparents scored better on vocabulary tests than kids in daycare. This could be because grandparents are bound to indulge your little one in stories and correct their grammar and language instantly, as they are wholly focused only on one kid.
Babysitting can also be a wonderful opportunity for your parents and children to connect and bond with each other.
If your parents or parents-in-law live nearby, chances are that they have already offered to provide childcare at some point. And in most cases, they will be eager to offer their services without any charges. Daycare is expensive, and finding the right daycare for your kid’s needs is an uphill task. So grandparents’ care can be a more affordable option in many cases.
Grandparent care also offers flexibility in terms of timings. If you need to work late, you can work out a mutual agreement with your parents and they can adjust their babysitting hours accordingly, which might not be possible with a daycare service.
What are the disadvantages of grandparents as caregivers?
Health restrictions due to old age, differences in parenting methods, lack of structured routine and play, and strain on family relationships are certain points to consider before deciding on whether you want grandparents to care for your kid in your absence.
Age-related health issues:
They might not have the energy and physical strength to fulfill your child’s playing needs. If they have other health issues, it might even put your child’s safety at risk.
Different parenting styles:
As they come from different generations, their parenting style may vary vastly from yours. They could be more religious in their approach, for example, so you would need to have an open discussion with them about what you would be comfortable with and what you wouldn’t be.
Feeling emotionally or physically burnt out:
If your child’s grandparents are dealing with their own grief or emotional issues, they might feel emotionally burnt out to care for your kid.
Arguments in the family:
Taking them for granted without compensation can also make them feel physically exhausted, and can put a strain on your family relationships.
What are the advantages of daycare?
Finding a good daycare center in your locality can be a difficult task. But once you have found one, daycare centres can offer you a lot of advantages. The most important advantage is the supervision of qualified caregivers. Daycare centres have professionals who are equipped to take good care of your child in unforeseen situations, so you, being a working parent, need not worry about your child’s safety while you’re away from him/her.
They also offer your child the opportunity to socialize with children of their age. This is crucial to their overall development as they pick up multiple social, verbal, and physical skills while interacting and playing with other kids. Being on their own at daycare teaches them to be independent as well.
Daycare centres also offer you the advantage of a well-planned curriculum — including learning, play, socialization, and rest — the curriculum is planned by professionals for your child’s all-around development.
Another advantage is that they provide you with full accountability. Here, you can express your concerns about your child’s care without worrying about whether that would strain your relationships.
What are the cons of daycare?
High costs and inflexible schedules are the major disadvantages of daycare centers. The good daycare centers near your house will often have a long waitlist too, and you might need to wait for a long time before your kid gets in. If you are financially strained, daycare expenses may not be feasible for you. Similarly, if your work doesn’t fall into the 9-5 category, you might face troubles with the daycare center when you have to work late or travel for an urgent meeting.
What is the best age to start daycare/ grandparent care?
Most experts agree that 1 year is a good age to start daycare or grandparent care for babies. Many daycare facilities are not equipped to fulfill the needs of younger babies. Also, this time period helps to ensure that your baby has a secure attachment with you. By this age, the sleeping and feeding patterns of the baby are also well-established, so they can adjust to newer surroundings better. However, nannies at home, family members, and in-home care are a few options you can explore if you need help with caring for your baby before he/she reaches the 12-month mark. You should also keep in mind that your baby may not be ready for daycare even at this age. In that case, you can wait a little longer until you are sure that your baby will not be excessively stressed when away from you.
Daycare vs Grandparents: Which One Should You Choose?
Your familial situation, work situation, finances, and relationship with your baby are unique to you. You should make an informed choice considering the above pointers. If your baby’s grandparents live nearby and are willing and capable of offering care, you could consider that. However, if you think there are chances of building resentment in the family, or if you are uncomfortable with the grandparents’ parenting style, you could consider daycare, even if that might be an expensive option. Ultimately, this is a personal decision that should be made in your and your baby’s best interest.