Daycare has come a long way from the babysitting jobs of the ’60s and ’70s that paid around fifty cents an hour. Local teenagers and older children of friends made good babysitters back then. All they had to do was serve the kids an easy dinner, clean up afterward, and play with them for a while before putting them to bed. Most of the session was held on Friday or Saturday nights, allowing parents to enjoy a night out.
Today, the nursery means much more.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 65 percent of women with children age six and younger work outside the home. For single parent households and in families where both husband and wife work full time, access to quality childcare is essential. If relatives or grandparents are unavailable or unable to intervene, continued childcare is sometimes the only option.
There are several options available today. Many corporate employers have started adding on-site daycare, in-home caregivers are available, and full-time or part-time daycare is located in almost every area. Some centers focus on younger children, from newborns to toddlers, while others welcome children of any age. Some facilities offer “walk-in” child care, an affordable option for high-quality, short-term care.
Schools, gyms, organizations, and churches now offer events like Parent Nights Out. Some communities organize child care cooperatives. Nannies are also an alternative, however a more expensive one as it usually means full-time home care by a person who may or may not be residing with you. Nannies can be male or female; however, “mannys” are becoming increasingly popular.
As kids get older, their day care needs change: a babysitter for the newborn, walk-in care for the toddler, an on-site educational daycare for preschoolers, and after-school activities for those five and older. . Summer needs may vary from those during the school year and parents may change programs or have children attend camp for a break from the regular routine.
Many nurseries are becoming highly structured learning centers and offer a wide range of activities. Simple arts and crafts projects are still available, but the addition of early learning programs has become popular as research shows that children respond to academics at an earlier age. Parents today want their young children to start developing skills that were previously not taught until much later.
In some centers, complementary extracurricular activities, such as gymnastics, ballet and martial arts, are offered for an additional charge. Instructors come to the center weekly to provide on-site instruction. This works well for parents who are short on time and can’t fit weekly lessons into their already busy schedules.
While printed brochures or newsletters have worked well in the past, many website hubs that even include weekly menus succeed in keeping today’s parents up to date on upcoming activities and events. Emailing requests for updates on your child’s behavior is easy and improves the likelihood of a quick response.
Learn about the options available to you in your city. Check them out and ask lots of questions. Good communication between the provider and parents is critical to a successful day care situation for their children. Take the time to know that your children are safe and happy, and everyone will have a better day.