For several South African parents, the decision of who should watch their baby is stressful and confusing. Many parents are not emotionally ready to go back to work but have limited or no maternity leave policy. About 8 million South African children between the ages of 0 and 6 attend some type of child care each week, that’s about 33% of all South African children in that age group. Almost 65% of these kids are in center-based care via educare and daycare services. That’s hardly a surprising statistic given the increasing number of working mothers. Choosing between a daycare centre, in-home daycare, a nanny or a babysitter is an important decision with several considerations: your child’s development, your family’s schedule and your budget.
Advantages of daycare:
Socialisation – Daycare provides your child with stimulating engagement with other kids their age which can have a positive impact on their early social skills development. Moreover Children learn structure and routine at a young age and are responsible for putting away their coats, putting on their shoes and other independent tasks.
Cognitive and language development – Daycare center staff are more trained than ever and most high quality daycare centers have structured lesson plans and programmes which cover basic arithmetic, word association, early reading and even basic hygiene.
Dependable care – Due to daycare centres having several staff members there is always someone available to provide care to your child without you having to make last minute arrangements.
Limitations of daycare:
Inflexible hours – More often than not a daycare center will have hard set operating hours which don’t accommodate parents who might have to work late or who have irregular working hours. Centres that do offer late pick-ups typically charge considerably more for that service.
Germs – The main drawback of daycare is the increased chance of your child getting sick. It’s inevitable that your child will be exposed to far more bacteria at a daycare than if they were to receive care at home. Which means more trips to the doctor and scrambling to find temporary care for your child in the meantime.
Behavioural problems – Every child is unique and will have differing responses to transitioning to a daycare environment with several other children. Also, Children are sponges so there is potential for some learned bad behaviour to make its way back home from daycare.
Childcare services each have their unique benefits and drawbacks and every child will respond differently to different types of care. Remember that no decision is permanent and you can always change your situation based on your needs or your child’s needs.
Services like WeSit make it easier for parents to find caring, trusted and verified babysitters that can accommodate any schedule with a highly flexible booking process.