Choosing child care is one of the most important decisions that parents will have to make for their babies. As you may already know, the support and nurturing that your child receives in its early years will set them up for success in their later life. But what many don’t realize is that you can start looking at early childhood education options during your pregnancy.
In this article, we are going to discuss why it is never too early to start preparing for how your child will reach its developmental milestones, the importance of early childhood education, and which child care options you should consider.
The Importance of Early Childhood Education
Early childhood education is more than just preparing your child for entering elementary school. Rather, it is about focusing on the holistic development of a child when it comes to their emotional, social, mental and physical needs so that they can build a strong foundation that promotes learning and wellbeing.
Many conversations have been had in the past regarding the importance of ensuring that your child receives the educational support they need to hit early childhood milestones. According to a research study carried out by the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2018, investment in early childhood education options leads to an increase in cognitive abilities, sociability, and self-esteem. It was also found that those who attended a high-quality preschool program were more likely to educate from high school and attend college.
As parents, we want to give our children the best start in life. By enrolling your child in a child care option, you will not only ensure that they are equipped with the tools they need for their educational life but also, it will help them become the best version of themselves.
Why Soon-to-Be Parents Can Never Be Too Prepared
Many often think that the time to start researching child care options is when they have spent a number of months at home with their baby and are now preparing for a return to work. But, you don’t have to wait so long.
If you are a soon-to-be parent, start preparing now by researching the various child care options that are available within your local area. Early childhood education can come in many different forms and understanding the pros and cons of each can guide you in making the right decision.
In fact, many doctors believe that early learning begins before birth and not just when your child enters the classroom. Babies begin to engage with their senses and learn about the world that they are about to enter during the last trimester. Our children even begin to reach certain developmental milestones such as recognizing voices before we even meet them in person.
Parents are a child’s first educators and for that reason, you should be putting a plan in place for early childhood education as early as possible. We believe that choosing your child’s child care options during pregnancy should be as normal as decorating the nursery.
Choosing Child Care Options During Pregnancy
If you are a first-time parent, choosing which form of child care is the best fit for your family and your child’s needs can be daunting – and it certainly isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly. However, navigating through all the various information about childcare shouldn’t be done alone.
Below, we provide you with the steps that all expectant parents should know when it comes to evaluating which form of child care will not only be most beneficial for them but also for their child’s development.
What are the Different Types of Child Care Providers?
There are three core types of child care providers: nannies, daycare centers and in-home learning support. All of these options have their own advantages and considerations that parents should keep in mind. And remember, what is right for one family isn’t necessarily right for another. So, although your friend may have recommended a certain nanny to you that doesn’t mean this form of child care will be beneficial for your child.
Let’s have a look at each option in more detail below.
- Nanny/babysitter – If you decide to hire a nanny, this person will come to your home on a full or part-time basis and provide highly individualized care to your child. Generally, you will have full control over the daily routine you would like the nanny to follow and you can advise on which meals your child will have. The only downsides to this childcare option are that your child may not have the ability to socialize with other children as much and all vetting is your responsibility.
- Daycare center – These organizations are generally either privately or publicly run and most will be licensed. The core caregivers here are educators that have certifications in early childhood education and are held to certain standards determined by the daycare center. In this environment, your child’s day will be structured and they will be cared for in a safe place. There will also be plenty of opportunities for your child to socialize with others and be encouraged to reach developmental milestones. The only drawback is that your child’s sleeping routine may be infrequent or interrupted.
- In-home learning support – This childcare option combines the best of both a daycare center and a nanny. As part of an in-home learning support program, like Vivvi’s, your child will receive 1-on-1 expert care from a trained early childhood educator from the comfort of your own home. So, whether you will be working remotely or not, you can rest knowing that your child will be receiving the best care where they are most secure.
Is Day Care or In-Home Child Care a Better Choice?
The answer to this question really depends on what you are looking to receive from an early childhood education provider. Both provide excellent benefits to the child and parent. Although, some parents may consider a daycare center to be better for allowing a child to improve their social skills more easily.
For the most part, these child care options cost relatively the same depending on which organization you pick and which state you live in. It is important that if a particular organization offers both on-site and in-home early learning support that you see whether it is possible to have a trial run of both if you’re unsure which option is the better fit.
Tips for Evaluating Child Care Options
Looking for child care options is doable during maternity leave but doing it ahead of time is definitely the better choice, especially when it comes to evaluating different options. Many daycare centers and childcare providers will have long waiting lists and application processes, so you don’t want to get caught out last minute.
When evaluating early childhood education options for the first time, it is important to follow these steps:
- Make a list of possible daycare centers and child care providers in your local area. Recommendations from other parents are generally very valuable when searching for good care.
- Choose between three or five facilities and arrange a tour. Make sure that you visit during a time when you can see how teachers interact with the children so that you can get a real sense of what your child will experience.
- Prepare your list of questions ahead of time. This will make sure that you get all the information you need during your visit. See our list of recommended questions to ask a child care provider.
- Take notes of what you did and didn’t like about the particular facility that you visited.
As we mentioned above, this is a decision that shouldn’t be made hastily. So, make sure that you look at all the different factors and have a conversation with your partner or a family member before rushing into a decision.
Benefits of Preparing Early: More Than Just Peace of Mind
The first few months of parenthood can be stressful and tiresome. So, trying to make a decision about the child care option that will shape your child’s developmental process should always be prepared for well in advance.
Not only will it give you the peace of mind knowing that when you return to work full-time your child will be receiving high-quality care, but, it will also allow you to get fully involved in their early childhood education ahead of time. You will always be your child’s primary educator and the more hands-on you are in terms of early learning, the better the outcome.
That means being actively engaged with the early learning activities that they are doing with a child care provider and understanding the importance of each of the childhood development stages. The more you know, the better a parent you will be.
Vivvi: Working with Families From the Very Beginning
At Vivvi, we work with families right from the very beginning. Our infant program offers individualized support that focuses on your baby’s growth in a safe, learning environment from as early as 6 weeks old. Our learning model for babies focuses on their social-emotional growth, sensory work, motor skills development, self-care and much more.
If you are an expectant parent or have a newborn child and are looking for child care options to support your baby’s early childhood education, contact us today for more information. We are currently operating virtual tours of our campuses in New York and we also are providing in-home learning support for remote work parents.