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In today’s ever growing need for child care each family must decide which option fits their families needs the best: Professional Child Care vs. Nanny Care.
I recently came across an article by Ken Mau, and this author helps illustrate how and why Professional Child Care is the superior choice.
Helpful benefits, including interactive socialization, expanded educational opportunities, cost, and other important advantages of Professional Child Care, such as the services we offer at Toddler Town, definitely encourage your child grow, learn, and develop towards their next educational milestone. Enjoy!
Nanny Care vs. Professional Child Care
Many new parents will need to return to work while their children are young, and many face the stresses of finding a trusted caregiver and/or a safe and loving place to take their child to each day. There are many options and combinations of options to consider. Primarily, the decision comes down to using Family members, a Nanny or babysitters to provide home based child care, versus taking children to a Nursery School, Preschool or a Day Care center. Choosing what works best for each child and family can get complicated, so let’s compare the two.
Good socialization is the primary reason to choose a child care or early learning center over a family care provider or nanny. In preschool and daycare, kids will learn to navigate real world social interactions with trial and error, under the mindful guidance of teachers and caregivers. Just like in real life, toddlers and preschoolers will have to share time, attention, space, and resources with others, without resorting to being rude or violent when they don’t like someone or get their way.
As children grow in the world, they will need to learn to get along with others and to share to be successful in school, the schoolyard and in the workplace. Preschool and day care serves the great purpose of teaching children how to avoid and resolve conflict and to make friends! While a nanny can take your child to a park once a day or so, there isn’t any consistent guarantee of same age company there, and developing friendships takes time, sharing weeks and months with the same people and personalities to get to know each other.
As adults, we have to deal with people we don’t like at work or on the subway or sharing a dorm room with in college. We learn the skills to handle these folks when we are very young. Having a sibling helps, but eventually we will need to learn what to do when we have to be side by side every day with a boss or coworker that we don’t like. Exposing kids to a real-world scenario of interacting with adults and kids outside of family in a cooperative way helps them to develop these valuable life skills.
Unless the Nanny is also a trained teacher, children won’t receive the same level of educational engagement as they will in a daycare or preschool. Preschools are well stocked with art materials and toys and books that many homes don’t have, as well as large outdoor play structures and often, an indoor gymnasium.
Preschools and daycares also have staff trained in Early Childhood Education and curriculum. While some nannies have this training too, children learn a lot from imitating slightly older peers, another educational bonus of a preschool. They can also learn and model new behaviors and skills from other child peers.
When it comes to preschool or daycare, tuition fees are the most relevant cost. Month to month, the price will be predictable and considerably lower than the hourly rate of a qualified nanny. Nannies in New York and New Jersey are typically paid anywhere from $14-20 per hour. That adds up to a few to many hundred dollars each week, but that’s not the only cost. Depending on the situation, a nanny may need to use the family car to shuttle children to activities, and will need to be added to the family auto insurance policy.
It is required by law to pay Workman’s Compensation for nannies. Healthcare and medical insurance is not something every family offers for nannies, but some do, and this can be a considerable additional cost. If nanny is sick, parents may need to miss work to cover for the nanny those days. Wise families will also want to add a insurance rider to their homeowners or renters policies in case nanny is injured on the property. Most families offer to provide some meals to the nanny, another expense.
Live in nannies may be cheaper by the hour, but the costs of another person using the utilities and eating the family groceries will add up, even more so if the nanny does any damage to the home during her stay. If families want their children to have a well rounded schedule with lessons and activities, those would be an additional cost. With preschool and day care those activities are built into the day and are included in the monthly tuition.
Training & Trust
While many home staffing agencies provide background checks on nannies, and require them to be CPR and First Aid certified, the average nanny from the classified ad or the local parenting message board may not have this training and screening. When a person works in the family home, and with our precious children, it’s important we know who they are, and that they are trustworthy, which can be difficult to verify. Family members come with a high degree of trust, but often no or little training.
Still have questions? We are always here to help! Please Contact Us today!
One of the primary concerns of parents struggling to decide which daycare is right for them, is whether or not the daycare setting provides adequate socialization for children. While finding adequate child care is a must for many families, others must weigh the benefits of daycare vs. staying home.
The arguments on all sides are passionate and deeply personal. Is the home the best place to socialize small children? What are the effects of daycare on child development?
Once upon a time, parenting magazines and mom-gurus didn’t question the benefits of sending a child to daycare. Times have changed, and parents increasingly question the importance of daycare in child development. However, early childhood education, and daycare in particular, can be a positive influence on the socialization of a child. The following are the top 7 ways child care centers can have a positive effect on early childhood socialization.
1. Learning to be part of a team.
The child care center experience helps to teach children how to be a part of a team. Taking turns, sharing, and manners are all modeled and encouraged in the classroom. Children learn how to be good friends and what the boundaries of appropriate behaviors are in varied situations.
2. Learning to solve problem.
Building problem solving and reasoning skills are part of the curriculum in any high-quality child care facility. Children learn not to give up when confronting difficulties, and develop strategies for solving life’s problems, whether academic or social.
3. Trained staff.
Most parents have no idea what the early signs of learning disorders are. Others are reluctant to accept that their child may be facing cognitive or intellectual challenges. The trained staff in child care centers know how to spot signs of intellectual disability and behavioral challenges early. With early intervention children can be set on a productive path and pursue their greatness.
4. Get ready for school.
Child care centers help children ease into a school-like routine with daily schedules that include circle time and designated outdoor play time. A well-equipped and well-staffed child care facility not only mimics a school-like environment, but actively encourages age appropriate learning and learning through play.
5. Language skills development.
Exposure to a wide variety of words in the early childhood years has lasting effects on a child’s developing mind. Communicating with a wide range of people of varying ages helps your child to master verbal skills. Child care facilities often incorporate a language arts curriculum into their schedule. Storytime, dramatic play, and even conversing with other children help your child develop the skills to express themselves verbally. Children who don’t have adequate verbal skills often become frustrated and exhibit a variety of anti-social behaviors as a result.
6. Respect for authority.
While respect begins in the home, learning to respect authority other than one’s parents is a skill which many young children struggle with. Children quickly learn that respect for authority has real world consequences. Caring for toys, following instructions, sitting quietly while listening to a story or watching a television show all require children to listen to authority and comply. They learn that if the authority is ignored or defied, the consequences are broken toys and provoking the ire of classmates who are unable to enjoy the activity.
7. Easing separation and forging new bonds.
Children who attend child care, even part time, learn to function independently of their parents for an extended period. They learn, necessarily, that parents can be trusted to return. Leaving is not the same as being abandoned. They learn that there are routines and people other than their parents who can be trusted and counted on to meet their needs. Not only that, but they learn to develop strong peer relationships. And at the end of the day, they meet their parents with wonderful experiences and stories to share with their parents as well as “presents” to give. In short, their world expands exponentially, and that eases the transition into school.
Quality child care is a challenge to find, as each parent must decide which facilities and programs best fit their needs. Some parents will not consider a child care facility that doesn’t allow them to monitor the classroom from their computer. Children with special needs would need a facility with trained medical professionals on staff. And many others need flexible hours to meet their demanding schedules.
Regardless of what your own child care needs are, you can be sure that the child care experience will have a positive effect on socialization for children.
July is National Ice Cream Month. This probably makes your kids very happy and your waistline a little concerned. It’s hot, and eating the cool treat sounds like a fun way to turn the temperature down. However, one cup of the dessert has about 260 calories and 14 grams of fat. How do you celebrate National Ice Cream Month and stay healthy at the same time? Chill out. It’s possible.
Try Low Calorie Ice Cream
You don’t have to pack on the calories to enjoy your favorite icy delight. Many brands offer low-calorie versions of your favorite flavors. These alternatives aren’t always so healthy, though. They’re often loaded with artificial sweeteners and preservatives. After all, you have to replace the fat and calories with something else, right?
Eat This, Not That ranked Halo Top Vanilla as the best diet option out there. One pint contains 240 calories. You don’t have to challenge yourself to stop when you’re halfway through. Plus, it contains healthy fats, has no fake sweeteners and is low in sugar. Your kids won’t know the difference. Neither will you.
Go For Low Sugar Ice Cream
When you cut back on sugar, you may end up consuming fewer calories. Plus, keeping sugar away from your kiddos can prevent them from turning into hyper little monsters.
So Delicious No Sugar Added Coconut Milk Frozen Dessert is sweetened with natural stevia. It contains healthy fats from coconuts. You can feel good about feeding this to your family.
Make Your Own
When you make your own frozen treats, you can control the ingredients that go into it. A quick internet search will deliver lots of options for homemade recipes.
Here’s one to try:
Ingredients 3 ripe peaches, diced ¼ cup cream or coconut cream ¼ tsp vanilla extract Stevia to taste
- Freeze the peaches for four hours.
- Blend the peaches with the cream in a high-powered blender.
- Add the stevia if you want more sweetness. You might not need it.
This produces a soft dessert that you can eat right away. Stick it in the freezer for another hour if you want a harder treat.
Turn Bananas Into Frozen Deliciousness
Did you know that frozen bananas can be whipped up into a creamy snack or dessert? Slice bananas and freeze them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Transfer them to plastic bags or an airtight container, and store them in the freezer. Whenever you want some frozen goodness, place some bananas in a high-powered blender. Add cocoa or peanut butter for an added punch. Blend them until they become smooth.
Try Strawberry Banana Frozen Lemonade
Ditch the dairy altogether. Make a refreshing indulgence without using milk or yogurt. In a blender, combine strawberries and bananas. Mix them until they’re smooth. Add them to your ice cream maker along with some lemonade. After about 30 minutes, you’ll have a combination that tastes like a snow cone. You can also make these into frozen treats using molds.
Make Themed Play Clay
Purchase or make dough for your kids to play with. Provide utensils and options for them to pretend that they have their own sweet shop. Make your own ice cream play clay by mixing one can of pre-made frosting with one cup of cornstarch. This recipe is great for toddlers. It’s edible, and it won’t harm your child if he or she makes the mistake of eating it. However, it won’t taste as good as the real thing.
Materials you need to make your own faux sundaes:
- Play clay or dough
- Small bowls
- Cones made of paper or cardstock
- Large scoops and spoons
- Small spoons
- Glitter or confetti for sprinkles
- Beads, pebbles and buttons for chips and cherries
- Wooden sticks for making “frozen” dessert bars
Print Out Some Coolness
Use paper and scissors to celebrate the month without making your kids crazy or worrying about your weight. Print out images of cones and scoops, and have kids glue them onto paper to make their own creations. You can also make 3-D popsicles and other colorful delicacies. The best part is that these won’t melt in the summer heat.
You don’t have to fill up on fat and calories to celebrate National Ice Cream Month. Get creative. Buy something new from the store. Purchase fresh ingredients to whip up healthier options at home. Use your art supplies to make a cool dessert that won’t melt.
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Nothing challenges our ideas of work/life balance like choosing professional child care. Your children’s safety is paramount, their early childhood development vital, and their happiness your priority. What child care choice is best for them, and for you?
What Can Child Care Centers Offer My Child?
Day care centers are a popular choice with families, for good reason. Licensing and regulation are reassuring to parents, and the group settings teach kids necessary social skills.
Many centers follow an early learning curriculum to help prepare toddlers for preschool. Your child will have a safe, structured day filled with learning activities, social play, nap times, and shared meals.
For parents, the major benefits include the cost, which is often the least expensive among childcare choices. Dependability is another advantage, with the providers’ sick days and vacations being covered by fellow staff, ensuring reliable coverage.
Common complaints about group child care include the inevitable exposure to new germs from other children, initially leading to more colds. Some argue that this helps build early immunity, but in the short term it can prove challenging.
If the lower cost and educational setting make daycare your choice, it’s important to visit your prospective center. Check out the services they provide to make sure your children will be in a safe and happy environment. A place where they can learn and play while you’re away at work for the day. If possible, interview staff to be sure the center balances a physically active program with appropriate intellectual challenges.
Should We Hire a Nanny?
Nanny care essentially provides your child with a surrogate parent while you’re at work. Agencies can connect you with a screened and trained professional to teach, nurture, and care for your child full-time.
A nanny’s training and one-on-one relationship with your family means that any child development or health issues will be recognized and addressed promptly. You’ll also be spared the hassles of packing and commuting for out-of-home daycare.
These advantages, of course, come with a price. Nannies receive on average $550 a week, nearly three times the cost of a day care center. Families with a spare bedroom can save money by offering living arrangements as part of the compensation.
Be aware that hiring a nanny makes you an employer, with all the related legal and tax issues. However, if you have more than one preschooler, family pets the nanny can also look after, or nontraditional work schedules/duties, then a nanny may be cost-effective after all.
Live-in Care with International Flair: the Au Pair
An au pair lives with your family as part of a cultural exchange program, to provide full-time child care in your home. In exchange, they’ll receive room, board, a stipend, and the experience of living abroad. These young caretakers are highly regulated by their agencies and the US State Department.
Your agency will match you with an appropriate caregiver, and provide specialized training. For parents wanting to raise their children with a second language, or specific cultural exposure, this can be the perfect choice.
Unfortunately, the application process, fees, and paperwork can be daunting, and contracts typically only last one year. For some families, however, especially the 40% of Americans living in child care deserts, this choice bridges the gap between what’s available for them, and what’s affordable.
In-home Child Care, or Early Childhood Care Center: Which Is Right for Us?
Interviewing potential caregivers, navigating applications, and researching the nanny vs daycare cost, might all seem overwhelming at first glance. Take your time deciding, and talk openly with your family about your preferences, your questions, and your concerns.
Next, take a good look at the available care choices around you, and keep an open mind. You may find that a choice you’d written off, isn’t as bad as you first thought. Be realistic about costs for each choice, too. Think about what it will really be like, to open your home to a stranger, or to add a half hour or more to your daily commute.
Each family’s situation and needs are different. Each child is different, too. If you have any questions or still find the choices in professional child care confusing or overwhelming, you can always contact us to ask questions and find out more.
June is National Great Outdoors Month, and what better way to create great summer memories with your family than by experiencing the beauty of nature together? But how can you, with little ones in tow, take advantage of all that June has to offer? Here are five fun suggestions to engage even the smallest of outdoor adventurers.
Take Advantage of Your State Park’s Programming!
Your local state park is a treasure trove of fun, family-friendly activities. Consider going to a Firefly Walk! June is a particularly active season for fireflies, known for dancing through the night air with their magical twinkling. If your family plans to go firefly-spotting, plan ahead! Some parks, such as the Smokey Mountain National Park, are in such high demand that you must enter a lottery for admission to the perfect viewing ground. If parks strike your fancy, be sure to pick up a “Park Passport” from the park gift shop. Your child will not only be able to keep memories from your trip, but will delight in collecting unique stamps in their passport from all the parks you visit.
Find Treasure….Go Geocaching!
Any child can tell you that there is a thrill in searching for buried treasure, but who would have thought that it could be educational experience? Geocaching is the perfect fusion of technology and nature. Using a downloadable phone app or GPS-supported device, your task is to navigate your way to a hidden box containing a “treasure” left by the last Geocacher. If you decide to take the treasure you find home, you must leave something of equal value for the next group to discover. And who knows where your hunt may lead you? Cache boxes may be hidden anywhere from a friendly suburb to a mountain summit! When home, you and your little adventurer can log your finds on geocaching.com together.
Unplug with a Creative Camping Experience Your Kids Will Love.
Throwing the good ‘ole tent and cooler into the back of the car can be the start to the perfect family weekend. There is a reason that traditions like eating s’mores with sticky fingers are passed on through generations — they’re too good to let go of! There’s plenty of variety in the camping scene that can add color to this classic summer staple. For starters, think about trading out the tent! If your family become guests at Cloudland Canyon State Park in Georgia, for example, you have the option to stay in a cozy furnished yurt. Yurts typically accommodate up to six guests and include access to your own personal fire ring and a shared bath house. Or if riverside is more your fancy, stay in a family-sized “treehouse” over the Edisto river in South Carolina.
Teach Your Child Your Favorite Outdoor Pastime.
Nothing beats seeing your child enjoy something that, as a child yourself, used to create dirt under your nails and laughter for days. Were you an avid kayaker in your youth? Rent a two-person kayak and teach your novice paddler under the safety of your gaze. Are you keen to hit a forested trail? Have fun building your own personalized trail mix with your little ones, then strap on your hiking boots together. What could be better way to foster a love of nature in your kids than by introducing them to your favorite way to get out there and play?
Start in Your Own Backyard.
Though this commemorated time comes but once a year, you can feed your child’s love of outside play all year long. Even if you don’t have much space to create a garden, buy a few washtubs or large planters. Tomatoes, cucumber, and squash are great starter plants you and your child can grow, even in confined space. And as a bonus, you can break out the paint and decorate the planter pots together for a sweet memory that will last well after summertime.
There you have it, five ways that you and your children can soak up the sun and build appreciation of Mother Nature this June. May this fuel your inspiration to get out and go! Whether you enjoy PB&J sandwiches on the front lawn or drive hours to explore a new-to-you state park, you won’t regret embracing National Great Outdoors Month with your great kids.