Big center or home based day care? — The Bump
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Big center or home based day care?

I'm 23 weeks and starting my hunt for a day care for LO. I'll be going back to work after 3 months. My question is in your personal experiences, have you had better luck with a home-based daycare, a center (like Tutor-Time), or a school-type day care?

 

TIA! This is really much harder than I had anticipated.

Re: Big center or home based day care?

  • We use a hame based daycare and LOVE it- the lady is wonderful, state certified, keeps up with classes and training and has watched kids for years. Our oldest daughter went to her until she was almost 4 and then she started at a dayschool just so that she would be a little more stimulated mentally and would be around more children her age. Our baby will be 11 wks Friday and starts with the same home based daycare on Monday. We have also referred 3 people to her and they love it too.

    I would say that what ever you choose - ask lots of questions, get references, try and go check it out when children are there so you can see the interaction and trust your instinct. Good Luck 

     

  • You are going to get a million different types of responses here since it's such a personal question.

    DD has been in both a center (infant) and a school based center (since 18 months, started preschool). We chose these over an in home because:

    - There are multiple people in the room at all times keeping tabs on each other. If one person is having a stressful time with a child, another teacher can step in to help out. They check in with each other if they suspect something is "wrong" developmentally with a child. Basically I have a team watching my kid, rather than one person.

    - I know at all times who that my child is in the company of kid friendly people that I have approved. No neighbors or friends stopping in where I don't know their background.

    - I don't have to worry about the safety of the home as the center is 100% child proofed.

    - No television to watch.

    -  No teachers taking their eyes off the kids to clean the house or throw in some laundry.

    - If the in home provider is sick or takes a vacation, I would have to find back up child care. The center is always open.

    - The teachers are always taking classes on child development, having their health records looked over to be sure they are up to date on vaccines - basically having a director to keep tabs on teachers so I don't have to.

    - DD is surrounded by kids about her age, not a couple infants and a bunch of older kids.

    I could go on and on. Personally, I could never relax enough with DD in a home. I'd walk into a bunch and go with your gut. Ask around for other's recommendations. Our first center wasn't our first choice (the waiting list there was too long). But they did an all right job. When she was old enough to enroll in the preschool we liked, we started her there. We have no regrets. Remember, if you pick someplace and aren't happy with it, you can always change.

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  • We decided to use an in-home DC that a friend of mine used before she moved out of state. Her pedi recommended this lady and her husband that she uses for both of her kids. We toured both larger centers and interviewed a couple of in-home DCs and felt most comfortable with this lady. 

    Go with your guts, ask a lot of questions, drop by for a tour, and see how the kids are (do they look happy/content/engaged?). I first met her when I was only about 16 weeks along and spent about 2-3 hrs talking with her. Then again after DD was born, we went there for about an hour or so catching up on items. After that, I still did a couple of trial runs (one day of two hours and another day of 4-hrs because I am paranoid) and they both are wonderful about it. Good luck.  

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  • We use a center. We've never had DS in in-home childcare, and have never had him in another center, but here's what I like about our center:

    1 - DS is in a room with other kids near his age.

    2 - If one of DS's teachers is out for the day, the center provides a sub. His room always has 2 or 3 teachers, depending on how many infants they have that day (2 if there are 8 babies, 3 if there are 9 or 10)

    3 - There are always other adults nearby for accountability and to cover for DS's teacher if she needs a break (restroom, lunch, or just a breather).

    4 - Our particular center has been around for years and has well-established policies and procedures. Likewise, DS's teachers have all worked in this center for years, and have much experience and training.

    5 - It is based in a church and shares our values. Also, they are considered a learning center, and focus on teaching rather than just babysitting, which is not so important now while DS is an infant, but as he gets older will be increasingly more important to us.

    6 - It is the same price (within $10/week) as in-home and other centers in the area.

    7 - It is across the highway from DH's workplace and along my usual commute route, so it is a convenient location.

    ETA: 8 - This one should be higher on the list. The center is very secure. The outside doors are always locked from the outside (unlocked on the inside so that you can get out in an emergency), and you have to have the code to get in.

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  • We use an in-home daycare, but there are a few unique things that influenced our decision. At the time we put DS in daycare, I wasn't quite ready for a large center, although he would have done fine there.

    She has around 7-10 kids and there are typically 3 adults there, always a minimum of 2. She is the director and then has a full time assistant and a handful of rotating helpers. We like them all. That was important to us, I don't know how one person can handle multiple kids. 

    She also has the daycare part pretty separate from her house. It's not like the kids hang out in her living room. She has a separate entrance and school room and they spend a lot of time outside. The younger kids do nap inside so that they can each have a separate space.

    They're all background checked, finger printed, etc. I checked with the state board and called all of her references and asked a lot of very blunt questions. 

    I would look at all your options and see what works best for your family. Tour centers and in-home and ask lots of questions.

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  • You'll get a lot of passionate responses to this question.  The best advice I can give is to visit a couple of each and see which meets with your needs/wants.

    We went with an in-home, licensed daycare because:

    • My DD was the only infant and got a lot of 1 on 1 attention.
    • My DC has 2-3 adults, so they never close for a "sick day."
    • She provides breakfast, lunch, and snack (all per food guidelines)
    • She provides wipes.
    • They came highly recommended from previous families.
    • The hours are flexible.  They will take my LO as early as 6/6:30 if I need it without extra charges.
    • I was able to go part-time when first back from ML.
    • Price is about half of what the center down the street charges, and I don't have to pay for vacation, holidays or any registration/annual fees.
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  • The personal responses and reasons are what I'm looking for. I've got a list of centers and home-based dc's that I plan on calling and visiting. I'm just trying to narrow it down and find out what other working mom's have found to be more comfortable.

    I taught pre-school years ago and I know what I want in a pre-school/kindergarten. Infant care is a whole new ball of wax for me.

  • Our daycare is kind of a hybrid center/in-home. It's a house that was purchased in our neighborhood and converted into a daycare. No one lives there, so the whole place has been turned over to the kids. We love the center director and I feel like we get the best of both worlds.
  • I have only tried a center but we are very happy with it.  In-home did not have the hours I needed and I liked the one-stop shopping aspect (preschool built-in).  I also preferred the accountability that a center provided -- multiple adults present, lots of "checking in", no random-unaccounted for strangers roaming about.  I wasn't worried about the in-home provider herself but was more worried about other adults that could be in the home like a daughter's boyfriend or something. 


    image
    DD -- 5YO
    DS -- 3YO

  • I'm looking for care right now for DS. He'll be 11 months when he starts, and he'll have been home with someone (first me, then MIL, and now DH) since birth.

    I'm not looking for a center or an in-home. I'm looking for a place -- ANY place -- that has the following:

    - The basics... it has to be clean and safe!

    - An environment that doesn't feel "institutional." At this age, I want DS to feel like part of a family, not a kid in a school, if that makes sense.

    - A small number of caregivers. I don't want DS having 3, 4, 5 teachers throughout the course of the day. Too many people for him to bond with, too many people for me to keep up with (how can I trust my "mommy instincts" on a caregiver if I barely get to meet her?), too much information about DS's day that can get lost in the transitions between caregivers.

    - Along the same lines, a low turnover rate. I don't want DS/me to get to know someone and then have her replaced soon afterwards. Low turnover is also a sign of happy employees, which is a good thing!

    - Also along the same lines, I don't want someplace that will transition DS to new caregivers within a few months of starting (i.e. from the infant to toddler room)

    - Ability to take at least two naps a day until at least 18 months of age. Studies show that 90% of 12-month-olds still need 2 naps/day, so I don't know why so many places force all kids into 1 nap/day at that age!

    - No TV.

    - Food... first choice: All food provided and it's healthy, which I define as lots of fresh or frozen fruits/veggies (no canned), organic where appropriate, whole wheat bread/pasta, no fried foods, wholesome snacks (fruits/veggies, yogurt, etc. -- not crackers or cookies), no juice. Second choice: Parents provide all food. Third choice: A place with a menu that meets some but not all of my criteria above. Won't consider: Places with fried or sugary foods on a regular basis.

    - No exersaucers, swings, or bouncers for infants. Just a nice open space with plenty of toys for tummy time, crawling, etc.

    - No more than 2 infants per caregiver. (I'm OK with more kids if they're older.) Infants just require SO much attention that I can't imagine DS getting the attention he needs in an environment with more infants.

    Given those criteria, I find myself leaning more towards the in-home places that I look at. But it definitely varies! For example, I've visited centers that don't have an "institutional" feel at all. And on the flip side, while most people cite "no TV" as a benefit to choosing a center over an in-home, I've visited multiple centers that have TV... including one in the infant room!

    Mommy to DD1 (June 2007), DS (January 2010), DD2 (July 2012), and The Next One (EDD 3/31/2015)

  • image jenuine:

    You are going to get a million different types of responses here since it's such a personal question.

    DD has been in both a center (infant) and a school based center (since 18 months, started preschool). We chose these over an in home because:

    - There are multiple people in the room at all times keeping tabs on each other. If one person is having a stressful time with a child, another teacher can step in to help out. They check in with each other if they suspect something is "wrong" developmentally with a child. Basically I have a team watching my kid, rather than one person.

    - I know at all times who that my child is in the company of kid friendly people that I have approved. No neighbors or friends stopping in where I don't know their background.

    - I don't have to worry about the safety of the home as the center is 100% child proofed.

    - No television to watch.

    -  No teachers taking their eyes off the kids to clean the house or throw in some laundry.

    - If the in home provider is sick or takes a vacation, I would have to find back up child care. The center is always open.

    - The teachers are always taking classes on child development, having their health records looked over to be sure they are up to date on vaccines - basically having a director to keep tabs on teachers so I don't have to.

    - DD is surrounded by kids about her age, not a couple infants and a bunch of older kids.

    I could go on and on. Personally, I could never relax enough with DD in a home. I'd walk into a bunch and go with your gut. Ask around for other's recommendations. Our first center wasn't our first choice (the waiting list there was too long). But they did an all right job. When she was old enough to enroll in the preschool we liked, we started her there. We have no regrets. Remember, if you pick someplace and aren't happy with it, you can always change.

    Ditto to all of this.


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