Finding Child Care for your Infant
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been home with your infant, leaving your baby for the first time can be a difficult transition. When choosing child care, it is important to determine what works for you and your child. Start by doing some research far in advance to see what your available options are. Talk to other moms in your neighbourhood and call your local child care resource centre. Depending on your choice, there may be a waiting list so begin as early as you can to secure your preference.
Here are some choices that are available in most neighbourhoods and communities across Canada:
Some families have their family members living close by, and choose to use them for child care. This is a wonderful option for those who have access to it, as the person/people caring for your child already have a special bond with them before they start providing regular child care. Make sure the person you choose cares for your child in a way that works for you; it can be very difficult to address “issues” that arise when family members are involved with the care of your child.
If you want your child cared for in the comforts of your own home, a nanny or au pair might be worth looking into. Families that have younger children or several children that need care find that a nanny or au pair suits their needs. Other families need a nanny because they work shift work or very long hours, which other forms of child care may not be able to accommodate. Having a nanny or au pair allows your child to spend the day in their home environment with less routine and more flexibility. Gaining popularity is sharing a nanny between two families. This allows the children to socialize and interact with one another in a home environment, and can result in a lower cost for the families as the cost of the nanny is split.
Home Day Care/Family Care
If you are keen on the idea of a home environment, but want your child to have social interaction with children of varying ages, finding a local home day care provider may be a great option for your family. A care provider, usually a mom, offers children in her home; she is usually trained or experienced in child care, and will have a small group of children that she cares for regularly. Many families have options for home day care right in their neighbourhood, close to home. When selecting your home day care, be aware of fire and safety inspections, and review the areas your child will be in for safety precautions. When speaking to them, ask if they are working with an agency, or they run their day home independently. There are regulations on how many children they can care for, so check what the regulation is in your area.
Licensed Child Care Centre
This type of child care is usually found in a church, commercial building, or a workplace. A daily routine is followed which includes regular planned activities and outings. In the summer months, special outings are usually offered, such as trips to water parks, the zoo, or a beach. The popular centres usually have a waiting list, so if you want this option, call right away to reserve your space. Not all day care centres offer infant/toddler care, so you’ll need to check on this, and what programs they do have in place for these age ranges. Families will often choose this type of care because they want a structured day for their child, socialization with children of similar ages, and activities geared for their age range.
There are many options available for child care for your infant. Explore all options available in your community – child care centres (licensed or day home), city parks and recreation departments, community-based organizations, school districts, and summer camps – so look at each one and find one that suits your care needs and makes you feel comfortable, tailoring to your child’s interests and needs whenever possible.
Founder of CanadianNanny.ca, Martha Scully and her team have helped thousands of parents find childcare across Canada, and now offers adult care, housekeeping, and pet care services, giving families one place to find all their care needs. Services are available at www.canadiannanny.ca. She’s also a taxi driver, teacher, cook, and housekeeper to two daughters.