We’re all guilty of sticking with what we know. Unfortunately, so many aren’t familiar with the benefits of Family Day Care – dismissing it as a care option.
Family Day Care has been around for decades. In fact, many parents have memories of attending Family Day Care themselves. With creches popping up on every block, it’s easy to forget the countless benefits of family day care.
As if parenting isn’t hard enough, with the myriad of questions and uncertainties we face, choosing day care options is another obstacle most parents face. How about Creche? Long Care Centre? Or, for older kids, perhaps before/ after-school care?
Or, what about Family Day Care?
Growing up with a mum as a Family Day Care Educator gave me insight into the calm that comes with home environments as a day care option.
For children suffering from anxiety related to separation from their parents, socialising or new surroundings, the calm of Family Day Care is most certainly ideal for a smooth transition into day care.
As each parent dropped of their child or children, they’d have a good old chat with my mum. They’d fill her in on the daily routines achieved thus far, let her know anything important going on in their child’s life at that moment, you name it. Of course, by that point, the children and I were digging into Weetbix and discussing which Gummy Bear was superior to the rest.
It was comfortable, peaceful and my sister and I found that the children mum cared for became part of the family.
Smaller kids to educator ratio
The ratio of children to Educator is a huge selling point of Family Day Care. Each Educator can have up to 4 children that are below school age.
Every parent with a child in day care knows the grueling consistency of their child catching some strain of the latest plague circulating.
Henry Ukpeh, a paediatrician in Ontario, Canada, explains that it’s common for toddlers to develop 8 to 12 colds in their first year in group child care. This is because day cares are “the perfect environment for the transmission of viruses,” he says.
“The limited number of children [increases] the quality and quantity of the interaction” – Barbara A. Wasik, PhD, Professor of Educational Psychology, College of Education at Temple University
Family Day Care Educators are able to have much more one-on-one time with the children in their care, forming close bonds and providing a safe space for children. By forming an attachment to their Educator, children are able to overcome separation anxiety with more ease.
“When we can’t be with our child to care for them, we need to make sure they are attached to the people we leave them with” – Dr. Deborah MacNamara, Clinical Counsellor and Developmentalist, Neufeld Institute and Director of Kid’s Best Bet
Flexibility and paying for the hours you need
While most Day Care Centres charge daily flat rates, Family Day Care has much more flexibility. Parents and Family Day Care Educators are able to negotiate hours based on the care needed.
This eliminates the frustration of paying premium prices for those parents that need care for shorter hours.
“This is Family Day Care“
I grew up right in the midst of a true Family Day Care environment. My mum became a Family Day Care Educator back in the ’80s. I loved it for countless reasons, the main one being my close friendships with the children in my mum’s care. Growing up, my time at home often meant I was able to spend time with friends met through mum’s career as an Educator.
Even as I grew up, I witnessed the same friendships forming between the children mum cared for over the years. We became a little family, forming a close bond in a home environment.
They would play in the backyard, setting up villages with the multiple cubby houses out there. They would complete craft activities to take home. Often mum’s planned activities would go on a tangent, going with the flow and following the children’s lead. Dinosaurs roamed dollhouses. Bits-and-bobs formed sleighs. Kids’ laughter filled our home setting.
It was times when the children chased one another around the yard or sat around the table chit-chatting, laughing about all the things 3 and 4-year-olds laugh about, that really stood out, though. That sense of belonging has always been undeniable among the children my mum cared for over the years.
These were the times that I often heard mum proclaiming:
“This is Family Day Care.”