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I have had to do both with DD and this is my opinion...
Center-Pros: Divided by age so they age approriate activities, very organized and structured activities, longer hours, lots of eyes to see everything going on.Cons: More kids (more germs), more money
Home-Pros: Older children in same room helps development, flexible with activities, cheaper, provides all food (ours does, center did not)Cons: Not a lot of kids her age, DS will be in same room as older kids and I worry about him being safe as in not getting stepped on.
My only other issue that has nothing to do with your question is DD went to out center since she was 5 months old and when it closed and we went to the in home she cried at just about every drop off. We start there again in 3 weeks and I am only giving it 3 weeks if she still cries at drop off I am going to start to look for an alternative. She is happy when I pick her up but I don't like that she cries every day at drop off she never did at the center.
We went with a center for the following reasons:
- more convenient hours (open longer during the day
- fewer 'closed' days (I only have to take 2-3 additional days off. I don't need to find other care/take off for dcp vacations, sick days, holidays, etc. In home places, I would have needed to take between 10 -14 additional days from work or find alternate care and pay for it while paying the provider.)
- more hands and eyes -I feel like there is more accountability. Also, the ratio of infants to teachers at the center is 3 infants to 1 teacher. At a home daycare, it is 8 kids to 1 teacher. I'm not sure how a home daycare would be able to watch 2 infants and 6 toddlers...
As pp have said - kids closer in age are grouped together, so I don't have to worry about dd getting trampled.
When visiting both we chose the center because:
1) More accountability and teachers to adhere to the teacher:child ratios. Also loved the structured cirriculum and many activities they do with the kids.
2) Better hrs, flexibility. The in home providers were not as flexible. One took the entire summer off, the other worked 4 days only.
3) I knew that my kids will not leave the center unless I was informed ahead of time. Some providers take the kids out on errands. I didn't want anyone to drive around with my child.
4) Did not have to worry about pets, smoking teenage kids of owners, other visits to the home who I had no information on. One lady I visited was great, until her teenage son came home with his friend and they both smelt like smoke and dope.
I'm not against in home because my mother was actually one, we just could not find one we liked and was happy with!
We went with a center (we're happy with!) for the following reasons:
-Accountability / accreditation, licensing requirements / ratios. All the legal stuff.
-DD is with kids her own age in the infant room currently and they have developmentally appropriate activities rather than having her plus toddlers plus older kids all grouped together.
-Security. Part of that is knowing only other parents will be coming and going from the center and the check-in / check-out process is very secure. I know my daughter will not leave the center / be taken on errands, anywhere without my knowledge and approval.
-I don't worry about germs. They clean everything at the end of every day (and diaper change counter is wiped down after each change). If your kid goes to an in-home center or stays at home with a nanny, there are still going to be exposed to plenty of germs at the library / playscape at the playground / baby classes like Gymboree, and so on. There are germs EVERYWHERE so it's a moot point to me unless you keep your kid at home 24/7 in a bubble. Plus, our center (as each does) has a pretty stringent illness policy in order to prevent the rampant spread of anything while kids are contagious.
-I like knowing there is backup and my baby isn't under the care of just one person at an in-home. What if that one person gets sick / wants to take a week vacation / has an emergency, etc? At our center I never have to worry about those things.
Big Sister ~ Little Brother
Things that were important to me -
* Good routine/schedule
* Lots of activities/crafts
* Reliable & safe
* Kids the same age for my two to play with
* Some sort of curriculum
* They provide the food
For me, that meant a center since none of the in home places I interviewed met any of the above things.