Life happens and sometimes life events are out of our control. One of the first things you think about when you are a single parent by choice (divorce, unmarried) or natural circumstances (death of a spouse), is who will care for my child or children?
There are a number of options and each has its pros and cons. Do your homework and based on your work routine, budget and the temperament of your child, choose a child care option that works with single parenting, not against it.
Pros: You do not need to bundle up your kid at 6AM and leave him at day care. He does not need to catch the viral flu from other kids at day care and he can play in familiar surroundings and not have his bath or nap time disturbed.
Cons: If the nanny is a rotten apple in the basket of loving child care providers, as a single parent, you don’t have any one keeping an eye on her. Unless your child is old enough to express any signs of abuse or neglect, you may want to thoroughly check references or invest in a spy cam or web cam whereby you can monitor the person monitoring your child.
Day Care Center
Yes, day cares can be plagued with ill, cranky children, but many have strict rules of keeping sick children home. Regardless of whether you are a single parent or not, you have to be thorough about checking cleanliness, safety precautions and the atmosphere of day care centers because older premises can have problems of their own.
The advantages are that there is more than one caregiver, so there is a sense of security as compared to one nanny at home who could neglect a child. Yet, high turnover at day care centers may make it difficult for your child to adjust to a new person ever so often.
Home Day Care
On single parenting websites, one sees a lot swap child care with one another and work around their schedules so as to reduce or eliminate child care costs. Of course there are advantages with leaving your child with a familiar fiend or neighbor, but if she is running a home day care, and there are other kids in the picture, it is important she be licensed in your state, meet safety standards and have CPR certification.
If you are so lucky as to have grandma or some other close relative care for your child – that can be an ideal situation provided the caregiver is in good health and again knows some emergency protocol.
References, References, References, and final thoughts
No matter what your child care choice may be ALWAYS check out references. If a person or day care center is unwilling to provide references then move on to the next. There is nothing more important than your child's health and safety. Remember most day care centers are licensed by the State they reside in and you can find out about many of them through the Internet. Even after you picked out a day care solution make friends with other parents and question how they like it. Its always possible a day care may hire a bad apple and you would want to find out about that as soon as possible. Also question your child if they are old enough and talk to them about their daycare experience. Get to know the staff and talk to them about how your child was and what our child did during the day. Become an involved parent and let your day care givers know you are interested in your childs activities. This will send a subtle message to let them know you are watching. These are just a few ideas. While we do not want to become paranoid, we want to be concerned and active in our childs health, safety and development when they are not around us.