Which Should I Choose: Daycare Facility or in Home Daycare?

Updated on October 09, 2007
T.S. asks from Dayton, OH
16 answers

i am a mother of a 2 year old little girl and i am curios about what type of child care faclity i should choose for her. i worry about large facilities due to some horror stories, but then i also worry about in home care just because you just never know about some people.

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So What Happened?

well i pulled her out of the sitters and quite my job. so now i am staying home with her until i know what my next step is.

More Answers



answers from Lima on

I can totally relate to your question. I stayed at home with my boys (now 3 and 5), but finanical security sent me back to work. I now work full time and had big issues when deciding where my children would be best. I started out with a daycare facility, I wanted the structured environment and felt they would "teach" my children more. After over 2 weeks of them still crying, screaming and clinging, I knew something wasn't right and looked elsewhere. I live in a very small community and had tons of references of an in home care provider just down the block from me.
My children love it!! They cried for 2-3 days, which is to be expected, I cried too. But a year later, they give me a hug and kiss and are on their way to play. My sitter is a gma who has been watching kids since her kids were born and her daughter in law cares for children alongside of her. The gma is also an EMT, so I know she can handle CPR and just about any other emergency that may happen. They don't physically "teach" my boys like a classroom setting, but they are loved, cared for and played with. My worry is that by me having to work full time, they wouldn't learn everything they needed to, but her philosophy is to let them play when they are young, when they get to school, they will never get to go back to the days of just playing. Plus this year they are going to Kindegarten and the other one to preschool part time, so they still get the structure I want them to have.
This is my experience, I was terrified of trusting others to watch my children, but have been truly blessed to fine the in home care provider that I have.
You know what is best for you child, and you will be able to tell right away if they are happy or not.



answers from Toledo on

I'm a bit partial but I definitely prefer in-home. I have an in home childcare... wish you lived close to me because I actually have one opening.
Anyway I think in-home childcare is more cleanly and each child receives a lot more attention as apposed to a facility.
However like anything there are down sides... the days off is an issue as someone else pointed out. I feel so guilty taking any time off because I know how it effects everyone, however obviously there are times when I have to which believe it or not is sometimes for the kids sake.
With either type of care there are steps you need to take to make sure it is a good quality fit. As for in home the important things to look at are whether or not there is educational activities taking place, if the other kids seem happy to be there, if the provider truely seems to love what their doing or if their just trying to make a little extra money, etc. The last piece of advice I have is don't be affraid to do MANY visits prior to starting. I personally feel the more visits that families are willing to do the better because it benefits me by getting to know the whole family, the parents by helping them feel more comfortable and find trust, and last but definitely not least it helps the kids become more comfortable.
Let me know if you have ANY questions! I would love to help in any way I can!!



answers from Cleveland on

Well this is always a tough question to answer, I myself am a day care provider but to give you some comparisons and things to look for to find a good provider either in a facility or otherwise first thing to keep in mind a lot of your day care facilities offer some type of preschool as well so it is a structured learening environment, but there are also generally more child per caregiver tahn at an in home daycare. for an in home proveder, try to find out if your provider is stae or county certified, this means that they have someone come ito their home on a regular basis to do inspections and make sure the home is child friendly as well as making sure that the said caregiver doesn't have a criminal record and is current in first aid cpr and several others courses, and if you have the extra money write up a statement and ahve a criminal check done at your local police department. I've had parents run them on me and it isn't offensive, to me it says that they care about their children. a licensed child care provder even those doing in home child care is also under strict guidlines as to how many children are in the home and of what ages i'm aloud 6 and my own children under the age of 6 are included in that number. aside from that look for a place that is structured and has some sort of schedual posted for daily activites, ect. so that you know that your child will not just be stuck in front of the tv all day. hopefully these ideas help you make the right desicion for both you and your little one, it's really tough to do, i opted to stay home and do it myself because there were no good, affordable and flexible sitters in my area that could take all of my kids. good luck



answers from Columbus on

I have had my 4 yr old son in both settings & I think it just dpeneds on their age. I had my son in an in-home daycare a few yrs ago & he really enjoyed the personal attention. She only had a few other kids there so he really got to know them. When he was about 3 I put him in daycare for the first time. He really learned a lot in that environment but he never really made friends since there were so many kids. Although he loved everyone there! So there are upsides to both. I don't really know which one is better. I just thought I'd share my experience w/ each of them. If you decide to do an in-home childcare... I am offering daycare at my home in Bladensburg. It's just me & my 4 yr old son here most of the time. (Husband works a lot of hours). I will be taking on a 6 week old baby in a couple weeks when her mom goes back to work. So I invite you to look into it if you decide to go that route. I intend on making it a learning environment, since I am homeschooling my son instead of sending him to preschool right now. Thanks & good luck!



answers from Dayton on

hi i am a in home child care provider. my advice to you is just to go look at several homes and centers and to see where you feel the most comfortable. if you choose to go the in home route i would look for an accredited provider as these are providers who are nationally licenced and have been through a very rigorious process to obtain this. the standard for these providers are much higher than most child care centers are held to. also finding a provider who has a CDA and a structured program is a big plus. make sure that the provider has an open door policy, but it is common curtisy to let them know you are stopping by, not because they are doing something wrong, just because it is nice to know how to plan your childs day. nothing is worse than being in the middle of stories, art, active play, or lessions and having to stop because a parent is unexpectly at the door. this is frustraiting not just for the provider, but for the children who enjoy these activities as well.
meet with several providers and ask for parent referals. if you do get an accredited provider these are the ones who have been doing child care for a longer time.
if you choose a center there are lots of other benifits like reliability, you can take your child when ever no questions asked, but your child will not get the one on one attention, or the at home feel, field trips, or the love and tenderness that comes from an at home setting.

either way you go, just remember that you are paying for quality not quantity, otherwise you get what you pay for.



answers from Cincinnati on

This is a tough one. I tried both with my son and both had their own pros and cons. First off, the first in-home daycare provider did not understand that *I* was her boss and sometimes thought she could tell me what to do or totally ignore my concerns/suggestions, the second in-home provider let the kids watch too much TV, showered while the kids played and felt them too much junk. My first two daycares-- both of which highly reputable-- one gave him a horrible diaper rash from not changing him and then failed to use diaper rash cream I sent, when I picked him up was after a shift change, so no one could seem to tell me what he did all day and the other daycare had little bratty bullies-- finally I found the PERFECT daycare where he become a litle brainiac socialite. I suggest you thoroughly look into both options because I know a friend who runs an in-home daycare and if my son were younger I would send him there in a minute-- those kids have the BEST time ever and even though it's not a structured learning environment, it's loving, respectful and fun but at the same time, I wouldn't trade his positive daycare experiences.

BEST of luck to you on your search!



answers from Dayton on

hello im L. w. i think putting you gifte from god in a homecare provider. your less likly not to get every germ in your house when they come home they bring it you get it.
pluse your child will not have to conpete with other's over needing exter help. because they can only have up to 6 kids and they go by the rules. your agentcy could give you a read out about her parents comments and what they rate her care service. if anything gose down you will know who to look at frist. my mom is a home care provider when the kids come they have fun go on trips and the kids are happy. i say put them in a homecare its a good thing for first time for the parent and the child



answers from Columbus on

My daughter is in a daycare and it has worked wonderfully for us. She is 17 months old and has been in childcare for about 4 months. At first she cried, naturally, because I, or my mother, were the only people she saw everyday. But, within a week or so, she was running towards her teachers, or eager to get down and play with all the cool toys :) I guess my issues with in-home are the same as yours...no real monitoring, that left me VERY uncomfortable. Here is what I have found to be the advantages of daycare.

1- structured and safe environment (state regulated, healthy meals and snacks, fun/educational activities) Where my daughter goes, they go by a set schedule (meals, snacks, nap, play) they are, though, very flexible with your child's individual needs (if your child seems to need a nap at 11am instead of noon, seems hungry at 2pm instead of 1pm, etc.)

2- don't have to worry about the provider calling off. My daughter has 2-4 teachers she sees everday, so I never have to worry about getting a last min. phone call that someone can't watch my daughter, or that my provider is on vacation.

3- The social interaction with children her own age and other adults. Since there are about 10 other children in her classroom around her same age, she is learning to share, play, etc. with kids her OWN AGE. I don't have to worry about an older child hurting her, or a caregiver preoccupied trying to tend to both infants and toddlers.

4- There is an open door policy. ALL providers should have one, but if it is in a private home setting, I have heard of some that prefer a heads up. That to me a big red flag.

5- Will work with your child to develope life skills. My daughter's childcare even helps potty train at 18 months! They slowly introduce potty training, along with using cots instead of cribs, using utensils, regular cups, etc.

6- they don't just preoccupy your child, they interact. My daughter is always doing something fun, either playing outside on their playground, playing with the sprinklers, in a baby pool, reading, painting, learning her numbers/colors, etc. She isn't placed in front of a TV, or left alone to just imuse herself.

Overall, I think the part I care about the most is how safe the environment is. I know there are horror stories, but I personally feel the risk is higher with in home, only because some will take in more kids than they should, versus a daycare having mandatory checks and child ratios. If you'd like more info. on where I take my daughter let me know. I am a single mom and, trust me, I hated the thought of having to place my daughter in daycare, but it was the best decision I have ever had to make.

Overall, the progress my daughter has made has been invaluable.



answers from Cincinnati on

I agree with what a previous poster said, concerning things to look for in a child care, unfortunately if you do find one with all those things, you probably can't afford it (not making any assumptions about your financial status, just talking in general). The state of Ohio only requires a High School diploma to be a teacher at a day care center. I used to work in several and was in management there as well (and I only did 2 years of college, no degree). Most day care centers are for profit, which means they charge as much as they can, pay the teachers less than they are worth, and provide usually only the state minimum requirements for training. This includes First Aid, Child Abuse Recognitation, and Communicable Disease recognition and prevention. Unless things have changed since 2001, as a teacher you are only required to have 15 hrs of in-service training per year, and that's not required before you start. I strongly recommend looking for someone you can trust - good references, clear policies, happy children, in a family setting. Since your daughter is 2 she has plenty of time to learn the social skills which she can get by going to a couple of days of Preschool when she's a little older, I recommend church based preschools as they are typically not-for-profit and offer better curriculum, fair prices, and usually lower than average teacher/student ratios. Any child care facility or in-home place should allow drop-in visits, this is a good way to keep tabs on things if you are ever suspicious. My son went to in-home care for 2 years, fortunately I was very lucky to have a good friend and a cousin in the business at the time, and now I stay home and take care of my kids and my 2 nieces. Good luck in your search. I'm not sure if you're in the Cincinnati area or not, but there is a place called 4C's (CCCC) www.4c-cinci.org is their web address. If you call them they can ask questions, like days and hours needed, and send you a list that can include centers and in-home places that they have checked up on with prices and hours. Very helpful. Just click on for parents and it gives you all the info. If you choose in-home care I strongly recommend finding a back-up person who can be available in case of emergencies like a sick day. Most in-home providers will work with you and some even offer a back-up person (they'll need help with their own kids too if they're sick). I think in 2 1/2 years I've only taken 1 sick day.



answers from Columbus on

Hi T.,
First off, let me say that I completely understand your desire to stay home with your daughter. I've been trying to figure out how to do it myself.

Regarding child care: I was looking pretty intently on daycare facilities for my daughter. I wanted her to gain the socialization skills I think are necessary. However, it became very clear that the ones I felt more comfortable with would cost me more than what my monthly income is. So, I resorted to looking for in-home care, which made me VERY nervous.

I checked a variety of resources for names of providers: the Columbus Dispatch, community newspapers, craigslist.com, Action For Children's website, I called local churches/schools (received the names of several SAHM's that way) and asked co-workers if they knew of anyone. I visited MANY sitters, while their other daycare kids were there, and asked many, many questions. There were some I knew right away I wasn't comfortable with, others I wasn't sure about, and then a few I *knew* my daughter would be well-cared for at.

I agree with the previous poster saying that the advantage of a daycare facility is that they are basically open no matter what. This is a huge benefit. Fortunately, we haven't had any issues with our in-home providers, but all of them have had just 1 or two other children so it limits the risk of sickness, I think.

We have also lucked out by finding providers that are extremely affordable, $20-35/day. I couldn't beat that anywhere.

My best advice is to find a place that you are comfortable with. Mother's intuition is a great thing. If you have any doubts, keep looking for something else. Be up front with your expectations and make sure they have an "open door" policy just so you know they won't mind parents stopping by unannounced.

Good luck and I hope you can find a way to stay home soon!



answers from Cleveland on

My first child was in a home setting with a neighbor for a few months when I first went back to work. From my experience, here were a few of the disadvantages:
- no structured learning
- too much TV, DVDs
- environment not entirely child-proof or child-oriented
- her own children were jealous of any attention given to my daughter
- not regulated, not supervised
- no help for her when she was overwhelmed
- awkward situation when I needed to address a situation that bothered me.
- not required to follow my wishes/instructions
- had to work around her vacations, illnesses, appointments, etc.
- no tax deduction because she didn't claim it as income

I have had my children in a daycare center for over 7 years now, and I've been VERY happy. Sure, it's probably a bit more expensive, and you have to find a good center, but daycare can be such a great experience for kids. My girls were more than ready for Kindergarten, both academically and socially.

The bottom line is that child care is a personal choice. A daycare center works much better for me, but you need to do what feels right to you.


answers from Cleveland on

Hi T.!

I think almost every parent has gone through this same question at some time or another. I worked at a daycare throughout college and vowed that if I ever had children, I would never put my children in a daycare facility. It was a great facility, but there just wasn't enough one-on-one time in my opinion.

I would recommend really doing some research. And looking at your budget. I could not afford the daycares with which I felt comfortable. So I decided to go with in-home care. I started by calling a few local schools and asked about in-home caretakers their teachers use. I also had a few names from the people with whom I worked. I knew I would only feel comfortable with someone who came highly reccommended by someone I knew.

There are many resources out there to help. There's websites that list good questions to ask during interviews, and things to look for when visiting people's homes and facilities. In-home care has to follow some guidelines too; mainly with ages and number of children. So really do your research!

Good luck! I hope you find something that works for you!



answers from Cleveland on

Here are my thoughts (my children are in a day care facility) so they really favor that.

The ratio of children to caregiver for infants is 5:1, toddlers 6:1. That is supposed to exist whether the care is out of a home or in a facility. You may get lucky with a home care giver and they have less, but then again if they are not licensed, they may have more.

At a facility there are always "floaters" that come in to give the teacher a break, whether it is lunch or even just a bathroom break.

At a facility, others fill in when the regular teacher is on vacation or sick. If your home care giver wants to go on vacation or gets sick... you are usually out of luck.

At a facility you at least have other eyes around to watch what the teachers are doing.

At a facility, they make you come pick up your child if they have a fever or diarrea. Good and bad, you have to come home but at least you know your child isn't exposed to that from other children for extended periods of time.

The facility is already child proofed. You can't be sure that someone's home is 100% child proof.

Facilities are audited two times a year. There is a government web site that you can search for any violations they have had. I think if you click on my profile and look at past replies you will find it somewhere. If not send me a message and I will find it again.

Good luck.



answers from Cincinnati on

I think each and every family has a different philosophy as to how their children are raised, and whatever works best for your family is how you should proceed.

I, too, considered both day care and in-home care and ultimately went with a day care facility. Here is a list of some of the 'absolute must haves' that were of interest to me:

-bachelors degree in early childhood education for lead teachers, and associates or a minimum number of semester hours for assistants
-providers who are certified in CPR and first aid and are required to participate in continuing professional development
-low child to teacher ratios, as regulated by the state, and grouping according to age and physical development
-a large pool of parents who could serve as references prior to making my decision
-state regulated guidelines for 'punishment' (no corporal punishment, no humiliation or withholding of food/sleep, clearly outlined in a manual with specific steps that will be followed in the case my child acts out or another child bites/hits him)
-schedule for daily cleaning of the facility and sanitizing of toys and effects, with random spot checks by governmental inspectors (would an in-home provider vacuum the floor, sanitize the toys, clean the whole house, etc. on a daily basis?)
-more than just one set of eyes on my child (who watches the children when the in-home provider is on the phone, or taking a trip to the bathroom?), which also decreases the possibility of an adult doing something they shouldn't be doing (screaming at the kids, being abusive, plopping them in front of the tv so mom can have 'a break'...not saying in-home providers do this, but there are no 'checks and balances' when there is only one adult present)
-set curriculum and activities for the child with very little to no 'screen time', potential for field trips, guest speakers, or special activities
-the ability to become part of a larger peer community where my child can make many friends his age
-no surprise sick days or vacations that leave me scrambling for care and coverage

Had I wanted an in-home provider, I would have had to basically hire myself a teacher with a degree in early childhood education which would have been prohibitively expensive. I didn't want someone who did not have an education and only a minimal number of years of experience working with children. Ultimately, I went to the www.naeyc.org (National Association for the Education of Young Children...has very strict accreditation guidelines and only about 10% of facilities nationwide meet the criteria; they are the cream of the crop) website to do a search on childcare facilities and found a good match there.



answers from Dayton on


I had the same issue. I actually work full time (always have been) and have a 2 yr old son. He started at an in-home provider. The only issue I have is if she or one of her children are sick or in the hospital. Which has seem to be the issue off and on the last year or so. If you have time to which you can take off or if you have someone who can occassionally take your child, that is a good advantage. Also it is usually a whole lot cheaper.

Flip side of that is the daycare. I don't really want to spend about 1/3 of my pay on daycare a month. Especially when you look at it as car payments or something. :-) Although they will pretty much be open without any issues, it is the whole thing of if they are clean enough, have enough good care providers there, child will be learning, etc.

I think all in all it is a matter if you find someone that is worthwhile taking in your child. If that is a better environment than putting them in a day care. If you can find some referrals that is the best thing. That was how I found my in-home day care provider.

I would rather stay at home too, which I soon hope to be, so I understand your issue. Best of luck in what you choose.

K. C.



answers from Cleveland on

I have tried daycares and didn't like them. I now have a sitter who is fantastic. I have two kids a 10 year old son and a 2 1/2 yr old girl. My sitter feeds them really well, makes sure the school kids do their homework and she double checks them. She also does preschool work with the little ones she watches. My kids have developed really well with their learning skills. She does field trips, and activities. I can't say enough for her. She even has the kids do workbooks and reading in the summer just so they don't forget what they learned from the school year. She is more reasonable than a daycare with pricing and I know my kids are getting a better value from her. I guess it all depends on what you are looking for. I love the one on one time she gives the kids. I hope this helps you somewhat. If it helps make a list of what you are looking for and check it off when you start searching.

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