Some parents are hesitant or scared about placing their baby or older children into child care. This might be because:
They don’t think their child will be cared for adequately.
They are fearful that it will cause psychological or emotional harm to their child.
They are afraid their child will be abused in some way (many parents who have been abused themselves are terrified of this).
What are the benefits?
Consider whether you can you manage without this care.
Well mothers still need to have support and breaks from looking after children. Child care facilities can provide this support.
For mothers that are unwell, the pressure of childcare needs to be eased to allow her to get better.
Check out any childcare you are thinking of using. Most are happy for you to visit and it pays to do this several times. Ask questions and compare facilities.
“Quality of care” in childcare facilities is an important factor for a child’s wellbeing. The quality can be assessed by asking about staff training and looking at staff/child ratios. The higher numbers of staff available per child and the greater the staff training seems to improve a child’s well being.
Home based care may be more variable so be careful to assess this well. It has the advantage of a consistent caregiver.
There is a big difference between using childcare fulltime and having care for a few hours a week. There is no evidence that a few hours of childcare per week causes any harm. The older the child the better suited to longer times in care. The home environment has been found to have the biggest effect on the psychological and emotional wellbeing of a child.
Give the child time to settle in and then assess how they respond to the care situation. Be prepared to re-evaluate if it does not seem to be working out for either of you.
“We had a big fight about childcare – he thought it was OK to put our 2 year old into a crčche but I didn’t. I really resisted and threw a hissy fit. About a month later I realised that I couldn’t do everything and neither could he. I gave in and she actually loved the crčche and the other kids and it was good for her” – mother of a 2 year old and an 8 week old baby.