Till quite recently, finding affordable, quality daycare services for children was almost an impossibility for working parents, especially working mothers. This often resulted in many qualified and talented ladies having to stay home to care for their little ones or accepting less demanding, less time critical assignments for a lower salary.
This situation has now undergone a dramatic change with daycare services being offered throughout the country and the number of working parents reaching an all time high. The services themselves fall into a few main categories. Profit and non-profit ‘centers’, and profit and non profit home based daycare services.
Most centers are licensed and operate for a profit. However, centers run by the government, local churches and charities sometimes operate on a non profit basis. In addition to these institutions, daycare services are now also offered by an increasing number of business organizations for the benefit of their employees.
Home based daycare services are usually provided by a reliable nanny hired by the parents, or by child minders who use their homes to care for small groups of children. The one rule home daycare is subject to under the Day Nurseries Act is, the five children or less per house rule (not including the carer’s own children).
Daycare services provided under a valid license offer more safety and better care, as the facilities are more likely to meet government standards and the minders themselves are more likely to have been trained in first aid, child care and preschool education.
The fastest growing industry in the country, desperate parents can now find quite a comprehensive list of daycare services listed in the yellow pages. The usual practice, after narrowing the list down to about ten promising candidates is to get all the pertinent details (license details, referees etc) over the phone and then go in person to look around before making a final decision.
If parents are lucky, they will be able to find daycare services that accepts their children while they’re still infants of 6 or 7 months, and who will care for them right until they enter preschool. Some centers even accept children on a part time basis on weekends.
However, no matter what form of care the parent decides upon, it is the child who ultimately experiences the good and the bad of daycare services on a daily basis. Thus, at the end of the day, the one thing parents should always pay particular attention to is whether or not the child likes and is comfortable with the daycare services being used.