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Commercial daycares versus In-home daycares??

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She11ybeanz posted 2/26/2014 12:58 PM my daughter is in a commercial daycare and I pay a lot of money for it. But, I like the dependability of it...she is "literally" a block from my fact I just drive down the hill and make a left turn into the parking lot to pick her up after work! She has structured and healthy meal plans for breakfast and lunch and snacks/drinks etc as well as structured activities and nap times. I would think this makes it worth the money!

I won't expenses are going up and my student loans are increasing and my health insurance so I had to move back home recently to afford quality daycare. I will probably be struggling a bit even living with my dad in a few months but I keep telling myself that these couple of years of scrapping by will be worth the benefits my daughter will derive from a commercial daycare setting.

She was being watched for free by my sister but we had a HUGE falling out. It was bad. So bad that I put my notice into my landlord and looked into daycare immediately and had my daughter enrolled within weeks while her nana watched her in the meantime. LONG STORY. My sister has CP and used her condition as a means to make me feel guilty and I walked on constant eggshells with her. I much prefer paying for the peace of mind. You can't put a price on that!!! She has been begging my dad to convince me to let her watch my daughter again because she misses her but I refuse. It will only lead to a repeat of the drama.

What about private daycare? Is the cost of regular daycare worth it....and to be honest.....its only about $40 to $50 cheaper a week to go private and you don't really know for sure what you are getting....and that doesn't factor in the gas you would use to travel to this person to and from work....

Thoughts...?? Experiences? Just being curious here.

Fireball72 posted 2/26/2014 13:07 PM

I cannot speak as to how the state of Virginia runs things, but I used to work for a "locator" service in Maryland that helped to find child care (both "in-home" and center care) all over the state. Maryland in particular has VERY strict regulations, including mandatory training classes, etc.

In my experience, an "in-home" (or private) setting is just as good as a large facility, and might be even better because they're limited as to how many children they're allowed to take at one time. My aunt, as a matter of fact, is a licensed "in-home" provider for special needs children (she watches TBI victims) and the state is very, VERY strict about her facility - she has to have X amount of safety devices, her pool has to have a fence X feet high, etc. She is only allowed 6 enrollments - no more than that (and she has an assistant to help).

If Virginia is anything like Maryland, you will receive fine resources to help in a child care search.

Here is the link for Virginia:

I know you're not in Maryland, but this is the link to the place I worked that may be able to help on a general level:

Good luck.

suckstobeme posted 2/26/2014 13:18 PM

My kids have been in commercial day care since they were babies. DS was 5 months and DD was 3 months when they started. They actually still go to the same one for school vacations and summer camp.

Before I had kids, I always thought it would be better to have family watch them or to have a nice lady babysit in her house or my house. That wasn't an option for me when I had DS so I had to find him a day care. The day care that I chose quickly changed my mind.

First, the public facilities are highly regulated by the state, at least they are where we live. They cannot dispense medication or even put sunscreen on the kids without special permission. If there is an allergy issue, they are well aware of how to handle that and are very on top of it. As the kids get older, the day is very structured and they start learning a whole lot academically, as well as socially. My facility had parent/teacher meetings after the kids turned 3 and kept records of how they were progressing with letters, numbers, colors, etc. I thought that was great because DS had some delays in learning and they picked up on it before I did since he was my first and I had no one to compare him to. They take the kids on tons of field trips as they grow and get them involved in swimming, art, music, etc. My kids also made some good friends. DD still considers one of her daycare classmates to be her best friend even though they don't go to school together now. They take another activity together and I've actually become very good friends with the mom.

So, you can see my bias. I'm sure there are lots of great things about private day care too. I just found that our facility worked for me, my kids were safe and happy, and we've had a very long relationship with the folks there for many years now.

While you may not see a huge distinction now, I think the differences become much more noticeable as the kids get older. With babies and toddlers, there is only so much you can do during the day to hold their attention. As they grow, however, there are a lot of activities and crafts and sports that a private facility likely just doesn't offer.

My two cents.

TattoodChinaDoll posted 2/26/2014 13:22 PM

I worked full time when my oldest DD was a baby. The first year my mom watched her. Then she was at the YMCA daycare for about 4 months, at one of those big chain ones for a week, and finally at the daycare that's literally a 30 second drive from my house. Even when I started being a SAHM, she went 3 days a week. It's not a chain, but family run. They are probably certified for 60+ kids. She loved it there. When my second DD turned 18 months (the age they start), she also went 3 days a week for the school year. My youngest DD started at 2 years old. None of them ever cried when I dropped them off. What ever it is about that place, they all love it.

My honest opinion is that where ever your DD is the happiest, is worth the money. Obviously if you can't afford it you wouldn't put her in that school. She is going to get bit, hit, fall on her face everywhere she goes. She will cry about something at any place. There is just something that will stick out to you about the teachers and you will see it in Piper at a place that is just so worth it. When I put my oldest in this school I was worried about curriculum and teacher experience. Her first teachers were an older grandmother and a woman whose first language was not English. Her daily sheets would come home with misspelled words. It worried me. But it all went away when I saw how they loved her. And she did just fine. Money wise, this family run one was cheaper than a big chain. It also offered more amenities and consistency than an in home.

Crescita posted 2/26/2014 13:46 PM

One of my sisters is a preschool teacher and my former mother-in-law used to run an in home daycare. From everything Ive heard between the two, Id pick a well-run commercial day car over in home in a heartbeat. Way more eyes (not just a teacher to student ratio, teachers police each other), same aged play mates, age based curriculum, and a greater variety of activities. Not all daycares are equal though, if the commercial is poorly run, home daycare might be a better option.

Lucky2HaveMe posted 2/26/2014 14:07 PM

My honest opinion is that where ever your DD is the happiest, is worth the money

This is 100% true. Not every facility (home/center) is a good fit for every child/family. So you need to find what works best for you. And as much as I understand that $ does come in as a factor for every family, don't make it the primary decision maker.

I worked until my oldest was 7. I did the whole gamut - neighbor, licensed home, center. Each had it's pros & cons. Eventually I chose to stay home.

I have now been a licensed home day care provider for 20 years. I drew on my experiences to build a program like I was looking for when I was a working mom. I have structured activities, meals per the USDA food program guidelines. I am inspected once/year. I have to have 30 hours of training every 2 years, plus cpr & first aid. As far as credentials, I have as much - if not more- than most center staff.

Pros of center based care: Open every day (save for the major holidays) so you have guaranteed care; diversity of fellow children & staff; Social development is sometimes better with a larger group.

Con of center: Staff turn over is often very high. They just can't pay the staff enough to keep them. Burn out is huge as well, depending on the center (I do understand there are great centers who may not have the turnover); Often the staff are very young, inexperienced in child care and development.

Pros of home based: Usually a bit less expensive as we don't have the overhead; more individualized care; homey atmosphere vs school; more flexibility with routines and meal likes/dislikes; part of a family.

Cons: We are human and thus get sick & have drs appts like everyone else, so care cannot be 100% guaranteed; Some have subs come in, but often don't have anyone... Depending on the size of the group, the child may need to go to a preschool before kindergarten for social experience (we become like a second home) and then transportation issues come into play.

That's off the top of my head. Bottom line is you have to weigh it out with what works best for you & Piper.

Newlease posted 2/26/2014 14:37 PM

I ran daycare out of my home for 4 years after my youngest was born. I had to jump through hoops to get registered and I could only have 6 children in my care at one time with only 2 being under the age of 18 months.

I had a unique situation in that my mother subbed for me when I had to take one of my own children for a Dr. apt or anything else. I never took any time off, so I was open every week of the year except Christmas.

I believe I ran a pretty good daycare - I took in my first child at 6:30 a.m. and the last one left at 5:30 p.m. I lived in a small town, so everyone who came to me was someone I knew. I'm sure that helped the parents feel safe in leaving their children with me.

Most of the kids would cry when they were dropped off in the morning - tired, just trying to wake up, etc. But the crying always stopped within 10 minutes of the parent leaving and then when they came to pick them up in the evening, the kid was having fun and didn't want to leave.

I will say that due to budget restrictions, NO ONE from the state licensing agency ever did a check of my home - not one time in 4 years. So although I followed the rules, I wouldn't have had to because no one made sure I was doing so.

I think the best thing to do is to talk to other parents that take their children to the daycare. And remember there will always be things that don't go exactly as you would like. No one is perfect and accidents do happen. Kids can be quick and sneaky.

I'm tired just thinking about those days, of course that was 26 years ago, so I was much younger and had more energy . . . .

Good luck!


She11ybeanz posted 2/26/2014 14:55 PM

My honest opinion is that where ever your DD is the happiest, is worth the money

The only caveat to this is if you see and know red flags exist. With my daughter loves her like she would a father figure...I sister has been in her life since before she was born so she naturally is bonded to her. the same token....if my sister got tired of watching her or needed a break or whatever....she would either put her down for multiple naps (she would be napping almost every time I called......RED FLAG)... or she would have her girlfriend watch her who is 21 and has yelled at my 18 month old because she didn't want to eat (I have a picky eater). NOT OKAY.... they would have spats in front of her...yelling and screaming matches and forth.

Even though my daughter loves my sister and loves her girlfriend because she KNOWS them....doesn't necessarily make it a healthy environment for her to thrive in. And, it most certainly is not the example that I want her to have for what is "normal" in life. I left Piper's sperm donor because of how emotionally abusive he was towards me....calling me names and being mean to me. I didn't want my daughter to grow up thinking that it was okay for a man to treat mommy that way....or eventually her that way. I want her to be exposed to healthy relationships...not dysfunctional ones! And, he made it easy for me. He just "poofed" out of her life at 4 months old....and pays me his measley $65 a month ordered by CPS since he is "supposedly" unemployed. Whatever.

And, I don't want her to sleep her life away.....I want her to grow and learn and be social with children her own age. She has spent most of her childhood around kids 3 years old or older.... she hasn't been exposed to much else which has made her kinda anti-social around kids her own size and age.... I'm hoping a structured commercial daycare environment will be just the change she needs....

It was a HUGE sacrifice moving out of our home and back with my dad so I could afford childcare.... but I think it is worth the investment.

[This message edited by She11ybeanz at 3:04 PM, February 26th (Wednesday)]

Gottagetthrough posted 2/26/2014 15:05 PM

I think that your commercial day care sounds worth it, if it is only 40-50$ more a week than other options.

You know what you are getting (licensed, healthy meals, etc...)

Plus, you are a block away from work. If she gets sick or whatnot, you are super close.

[This message edited by Gottagetthrough at 3:07 PM, February 26th (Wednesday)]

whyohwhyohwhy posted 2/26/2014 15:15 PM

Both of my kids went to daycare at the local church preschool. I think it was worth every cent.

I was very nervous about sending my older one initially, but when she was 3 she begged me to "go to school". This was a good thing, as I had just gone back to work.

She absolutely loved it there, and my younger one did too. The teachers were all great, and the place was highly recommended by others (neighbors/coworkers) who had used it.

My now 14 year old still goes back to visit sometimes, and I will take my younger one back to say hello when we get a little more time.

They had cameras in every room, and the staff were all very professional and caring.

Another plus is that most of the kids in town also went there, and have all known each other, literally from preschool to high school.

I now work with children, and I see children in a different nearby preschool, which is government funded for low income people. In a million years, I'd never send my child there. The caliber of the teachers/caregivers is very low, and this is evident when you see how the children interact.

So, I would suggest asking neighbors etc., about places they have used.

She11ybeanz posted 2/26/2014 15:21 PM

Plus, you are a block away from work. If she gets sick or whatnot, you are super close.

It does make me feel all warm and fuzzy to know she is just a block away from me.... and I get to see her right when I get off work! Being a single mom whose father is not in the picture at all....has made a very strong bond between us. She is my "booka" which is my nickname for her. Don't ask me why.....I just remember whispering it in her ear when she was breastfeeding as an infant....

sparkysable posted 2/26/2014 15:26 PM

I used a lady for private daycare when my daugher was very young, it was good for that age, but as she got older, I wanted her in a more structured program, and around more kids. They just don't get a chance to do as much in someone's home as they can do in daycare. I felt like she was playing with toys and watching tv all day at the lady's private daycare, but at the commercial daycare, they did crafts, games, playtime, learned their letters and numbers, story time, etc. etc. That's what I got out of it.

She11ybeanz posted 2/26/2014 15:31 PM

Yeah...that's what she would do at her aunties....sleep all day or watch tv....maybe play with some toys. She would brag about teaching her some sign language which was helpful for communication at times... but overall...I think the daycare environment is going to be better for her. More structured. More healthy. Worth every penny.

Lucky2HaveMe posted 2/26/2014 15:32 PM

Shelly - you seem to be at peace with your dc situation. I'm guessing the biting issue is what has you second guessing yourself (which all parents do!)

Keep a good rapport with the teachers, talk to them about your concerns, be understanding. These things happen - I had a 5yo that was a biter! OMG he knew better, could talk, etc. After the 3rd time, he was on final warning. What I'm trying to say is as caregivers, we want the kids to feel SAFE in our care. And we need the parents to trust us. Without those 2 things, dc won't work.

If you feel these things are missing, then it is time to start looking for an alternative. And let me tell you, when a kid (especially a little one) wants to bite, they are QUICK! little buggers!

TattoodChinaDoll posted 2/26/2014 16:30 PM

Obviously there is more to it than just if your daughter loves it. Just because a teenager loves her disrespectful boyfriend, doesn't mean we encourage it because she likes him. There are also obviously different things you would look for red flag wise in a daycare. Like with the biting thing. I took my DD out of that YMCA daycare because she was bitten 3 times in 2 months by the same kid (the first time was her first day there and my mother hadn't even left) and the appropriate actions were not taken. You gotta calm down girly. You had your she got bitten post and right away you were asking about daycares. All three of mine have fallen down the stairs, eaten dog food, I'm sure 2 of them probably had their hands on the dog's butt, eaten dirt and and sand, and one smashed her face on concrete steps. Don't stress so much (even though there is a lot of legitimate things to be stressed about) because if its not one thing, something else will come along. Especially with kids. Sometimes I let the younger two just go at it and tell them to let me know who comes out in the end so I know how much dinner to make. You can do it!

tushnurse posted 2/26/2014 17:18 PM

I gotta say from personal experience I think commercial daycare is awesome for kids once they are no longer infants. I was lucky enough to use an in home person while my son was less than 2.5, and that was great because with his borderline Aspie issues he wasn't ready even at 2.5 but we had no choice at that point.

Both of my kids entered school on the younger side of their group, March and June birthdays, and I can say it was because of commercial daycare that they entered being able to read, and knowing their letters, they were way ahead of the game so to speak. I think once they hit the 3 yo range it becomes a bit less expensive, it may be when they are potty trained can't remember....but regardless what they get out of it, with socialization skills, and early ed it's well worth the financial drain.

I can still remember writing that last check to Childrens World, and expecting balloons and streamers to fall from the ceiling, and a marching band to come through, and some fireworks, just because I had given them so much of my money in those early days. It didn't happen but I was well rewarded with kids that were more than prepared for real school. Both academically, and socially.

If you are really struggling as a single mom , look into if you are eligible for any financial assistance, and of course, if your state has any early childhood educational services offered through the school districts. This can often be free.

Kajem posted 2/26/2014 17:19 PM

I ran a home daycare, licensed, inspected and insured ( a LOT are not insured). I did it to stay home. I was successful at it, kids were happy, and learning. Parents were happy with me, I had several assistants/subs and a wait list.

And I hated it. I did it for over a year, then got pregnant with DD4 and could not continue (risk pregnancy). My Assistants took over and moved the DC to their houses.

I put my 4yo and 2yo in a church run preschool for 3 mornings a week and we all loved it!!! When DD4 was 2 she went as well.

I kept DGD (21 months) until Dec 2013 When she started at a commercial daycare. I think I like it... it seems so big to me. We are in a new (much larger) city, so the center has a lot of kids. The classes are the same size, the center is much bigger and now with VPK going on a lot of 4yo doing a half day program (about 60 for the morning session alone). It just seems HUGE to me. DGD is always ready to come home when I go to pick her up.

No biting incidences yet.... she might be the biter! DD3 had a run in with a trouble maker (bully) when she was about 3-4yo. afternoon playground time everyone was busy rushing to get in line, bully starts to scream, yelling that DD3 hit him. Teachers didn't see it,even though they were in the room. Teachers did say he had been particularly bad that day. They asked DD3 what happened? her answer "He accidentally ran into my fist." They followed procedure, told me and (because they were friends) mentioned that he had it coming.

Back then, both parents met.. his parents figured he had it coming also.

wildbananas posted 2/26/2014 17:21 PM

I don't have a lot of varied experience here but I can say baby banana (who is now 11, so she really isn't a baby anymore ) has been at the same at-home daycare since she was one. In fact, she's my daycare provider's longest running customer.

I really hit the jackpot with this lady. She serves healthy food (she's part of the state food program), she's on five acres and has a huge play area for the kids and doesn't park them in front of the TV, she has animals (cats, dogs, cows, goats, rabbits), she's very nice but doesn't let the kids get away with any crap, enforces manners, taught the kids preschool stuff so by the time they went to kindergarten, they were bored... I couldn't have asked for a better provider!

I will say when I was interviewing places, I would arrive a bit before my appointed time at whatever place I was checking out and I'd sneak up to the front door and just listen before knocking. If I didn't like what I heard (and in one place, who I assume was the provider was screeching at the kids), I slunk off and scratched them off my list. Maybe that's a bit nuts but hey, it worked. I wanted to hear what when on when they weren't putting on a show for me and I sure did.

I think an at-home place can be great. Just do your homework. Also, ask for references (other parents who have used their services) and call them up. That helped a lot, too.

[This message edited by wildbananas at 5:23 PM, February 26th (Wednesday)]

StrongerOne posted 2/26/2014 23:07 PM

My DS is waaaaay past the age for daycare (high school next year! OMG!). But at the time, one of the best reasons for going with a high quality daycare center, rather than a private family, was that I didn't have to worry about unexpectedly not having daycare because the provider was sick or on vacation or whatever. The center had a staff, with substitutes on call.

My boss was not happy with my colleagues who had unreliable daycare. She was sympathetic and understanding to a point, but work had to get done, and people had to be showing up for work. So that's a consideration.

tushnurse posted 2/27/2014 08:44 AM

^^^^This is so true Stronger.

I had to have Day Care and a back up provider when they would get sick. I was working as a staff nurse in a hospital setting so there is no calling in or coming in late, or leaving early. It was vital that I had a reliable provider rain or shine.

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