A Home Away From Home? A Look Inside Family Childcare

by Tamara Key

Enrolling your children in a new day care program can be a difficult task. If you look at how many child cares are in the area, the decision can become mind-boggling. Although there are many home child cares, child care centers tend to be more visible. But being visible does not always mean that your child is receiving the type of care that you desire. Let’s take a look inside a family child care. Family child care is a place where care is provided in a home setting. Family childcares have smaller numbers of children, which can provide more opportunities for nurturing. During a recent visit to a local family child care, it was hard not to feel at home. The entrance had a wooden coat rack with space off to the side to store each child’s personal things. In the next room after leaving the hall, four children were preoccupied with character-building and make believe play. Once inside this room, my attention shifted to the labels all around the room to help enrich the children’s vocabulary. There were supplies for arts and crafts, projects on display and even an agenda of what was happening for that day. Each room is equipped with activities that allow children to learn while they play. This family child care director has been in the business for over six years. She opened up her childcare, One World Family Day Care, because she enjoys children, had a desire to stay at home with her child, and needed to make money. She strives to give the children in the daycare a since of security, individuality, and to genuinely connect with them. Although a bond between a mother and child cannot be broken, the director feels she is like a second mother to her children. While childcare centers receive more attention than family childcares because they are more visible, have a higher number of children, and have more money to advertise, she thinks families should consider family daycare as a good alternative. “People perceive family childcares as being less professional when actually they are more natural,” she said. When asked if she believes one is better than the other she states “I don’t believe one is better than the other. They both have their advantages and disadvantages, but I do believe family childcare is better for infants and children with behavior problems because they can get that one on one attention.” Crystal, a mother of a four year old, sent her child to a family childcare. The reason she sent her child to a family childcare was the fact that it was a friend of the family, who would care for her child like she would. She believes that the bond she and her son have with the provider is life long. She feels comfortable with family daycare because “putting my son with someone that I know and trust allows me to be more at peace when I’m away from him.” In your personal search for childcare (whether it is a home or center), remember that your choice depends on how comfortable you are with the arrangement and relationship you have with your childcare provider. Riverwest Currents – Volume 1 – Issue 2 – March 2002