Mom: Daycare vs. Babysitter

The daycare vs. babysitter dilemma is one I wish I didn’t have to decide on.  In a perfect world I would be a stay-at-home mom.  No one would watch or take care of her the way I would.  But I had no choice.  Would it be a daycare or babysitter?  I eventually decided on a daycare for her.  Her Godmother had her kids in the same one and I trusted her judgment.  Thankfully, I have a job that allowed me to be out of work for six months!  I would go back to work in May, and my husband would take over until September.  He’s a teacher so he only had to ask for 4 weeks of leave, then he would’ve been off in the summer anyway 😀 So Ava would be 8 months old when she would go to the daycare.

So why did I choose a daycare?  They’re smelly, they’re dirty, and the kids are always sick!  First, my best friend’s opinion on it.  I trust her with my daughter’s life.  She told me her experiences and I was almost convinced.  So I went to see it for myself.  When I walked in I wasn’t impressed, I kept thinking they won’t take care of her like me! I talked to them, asked questions, WARNED them about the type of mother I am, and left.  So September came and the first week I dropped her off and kept her there an hour more each day to get her (really me) used to it.

Fast forward 2 and a half years later: I’m glad I made the decision to put her there.  Ava always looked happy when we picked her up and she didn’t cry when we left her in the morning.  Her vocabulary is incredible for such an age.  The things she learned there she wouldn’t had learned with a sitter.  They love her just like she loves them.  Yes she gets sick often, but I’m always told it builds up their immunity.

Why not a sitter?  Well, what happens when your sitter calls and says she’s not feeling well and she can’t watch your child?  Or decides to go on vacation? You might have to miss days from work and I’m sure your boss wouldn’t  appreciate that.  The daycare is open all year, except for major holidays.  There’s more than one person there at all times, they are CPR certified, and they teach.  My daughter is a picky eater and they help in any way they can.  One even gives Ava her own daughter’s food to try just to see if she’ll eat it.  They keep in contact with me, send me pics and videos of her.  They listen to me and do anything I ask.

How to choose:

  1. Word of mouth.  Find out from your friends where they take their kids.  Find out the good and the bad.
  2. Once you choose, go see it.  Go to the daycare, talk to the teachers, and take a look around.  Are they friendly, is it clean?   Ask questions.  How many teachers to a child? Are they CPR certified, do they know what to do in case your child is choking, how often do they clean, etc. etc.
  3. Do a trial.  Take a week and leave your child for a couple of hours the first day, then an hour extra the next day and so on.  Look at your child’s disposition. Is she or he happy?  Does she or he want to leave immediately?
  4. Once it’s decided that it’s permanent, make sure the teachers communicate!  Communication is so important!  I remember leaving notes in her diaper bag with specific instructions and I made sure they knew I would be VERY upset if I didn’t get a phone call in case anything happened.

Anywhere that you put your child will never compare to the care a parent will give them.  Whatever you decide, babysitter or daycare, make sure you did the research and you feel comfortable.

Good luck!