Day-care or in-home care for your child? That’s a dilemma which most parents face. Home care has a definite advantage. Read on for details.
By Bharti Adhikari
As desirable as it is for parents to be with the children all the time, that’s not practically possible in today’s world. Financial issues, career objectives, the goal of a better lifestyle and of securing the best possible education for children are some factors that make it necessary for parents to leave children in someone else’s care.
Modern-day parents are very particular and demanding when it comes to the care of their children. Soon after a child is born or even before birth, parents start exploring options for baby care when the mother has to get back to work after maternity leave.
Broadly speaking, the two options are to send the child to a day-care centre, or arrange for her care in the home itself by a relative. It’s a tough choice. The second alternative is the most reliable. Elders (usually grandparents) are the first point of help available when a child is born. So children automatically form a bond with them and in-home care either by them or under their supervision usually works out well.
A child needs to feel secure with the caregiver. This is the most important factor to be considered when making arrangements for his care. If he does not trust the person who is looking after him, he will react adversely. A baby would have learnt to trust grandparents or other elders who have been around since his birth. So he will feel secure in their presence, and adjust better to being left in their care. Also, senior members of the family will of course be more particular about a child’s well-being than any day-care service provider. As your child grows up, he will be able to confide in his grandparents, and share his worries and his joys with them in a way that will not be possible in a day-care set-up. And you yourself will be at peace, knowing that your precious child is being looked after by relatives rather than impersonal day-care centre staff.
Important occasions and festivals are always celebrated with the family. The reason is that the young ones will benefit from the bonding with and guidance from the elders. This holds true for childcare. Children who are looked after by relatives will learn the importance of the family. As they grow, nurturing relationships with love and care will always be a priority with them.
Despite the changes in family unit structures that have taken place because of the demands of modern life, parents strive to keep children in touch with their roots. Be it culture, religion or family traditions, these roots create a sense of belonging. Basic values like sharing, caring and respecting are easily learnt if the child receives in-home care. Elders love communicating with children and invariably share stories that teach these important aspects of life. Such care plays a major role in shaping the character of the new generation.
Financially too, in-home care for your child makes better sense than a day-care facility. Also, day-care centres, despite charging a hefty amount, will not take your child to a doctor and nurse her through an illness while you have to be away at work. Senior members of the family will shoulder this responsibility without question, and of course, there will be no ‘extra charge’ for the service.
There are two sides to every coin, however. In-home care has a few drawbacks that you need to consider before making that big decision.
Letting senior relatives take care of your child may be a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. Elders have their own concepts when it comes to raising a child. These may not gel with modern day parenting. There may be inconsistencies in ground rules set by you, as parents, and the older generation, which could confuse the toddler. Also, the difference in ideas might result in spats between caregivers and parents, which can have a negative impact on children. But this issue can be handled. Sit down with the elders to whom you are entrusting your child, talk about major boundaries and reach a consensus right at the beginning.
Naturally, members of the older generation will have aged since they were parents themselves. With age come health issues and physical limitations. They may find it difficult to keep up with your toddler’s agility and speed. Old age can also attract common illnesses like colds, coughs and fever very often. Your child could catch these ailments from their caregivers. One solution is to hire a nanny to look after the child under the grandparents’ guidance.
Children who are cared for by grandparents could grow up in a highly pampered environment with very limited interaction with other children. Your toddler might therefore find it difficult to adjust to his surrounding when he starts school. A visit to a park every evening to give him a chance to play with other children could be an answer to this problem. Also, if the grandparents can include a session of book reading in the child’s daily routine, it will prepare him for study time when he goes to school.
Your child’s safety and security is of utmost importance. If she grows up in an atmosphere of constant fights and arguments, it will affect her emotional development. Also, as parents you need to be aware of the possibility of child abuse right within the walls of your home. You cannot choose your relatives, but you can certainly choose your child’s caregiver.
So, before you make up your mind about the arrangements to look after your child when you have to get back to work, take note of all these factors. Make an informed choice, to ensure that your child grows up in an environment full of happiness, security and positivity.
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