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Who Should I Have Watch My Kids?

Have you wondered why you should consider a home care-giver, or center-based care for your child? Is it a better idea to use a family member, or neighbor to care for your child?

While it may be a reasonable thought to have a family member care for a new child while you go back to work, this should only be a short term solution. There are many potential pitfalls to this type of arrangement. In the short term, if the family member is not used to having an infant around, then they may not realize the full impact of the committment. Not being prepared to handle a newborn can be a big issue, then they may not be able to change the situation, which can lead to frustration, for you, your child, and the caregiver.

In the long term, the child is missing out on valuable socialization skills learned when there is contact with a wide range of children, especially those that are not related. The more peers your child can be exposed to before school, the better she will be able to handle integration when the time comes.

Obviously, there are many options to selecting a child care provider. You should take emotion out of the equation and deal with the facts. Do you only want a baby sitter to watch your child for a few hours a week? If so, then maybe the teenager next door would be okay for pre-school and school aged children. Bear in mind that without proper training, these providers may not be prepared to handle an emergency. Professional providers, both home-based and center-based, generally are required to have staff with CPR and first-aid training.  The neighbor kid may wish to have their friends over while watching your child.  Do the friends promote a positive influence, they will become role models along with the care-giver you choose. Is the language appropriate for your children?

Using the same criteria you would apply while selecting a home-based or center-based provider, make sure the person you select will interact with your child in a positive way, seeking way to challenge your child to explore environments and learning.  Age appropriate activities are very important during the early development years. Make sure your provider does more than just watch your child.

When you consider all of the benefits of a professional child care environment, you may decide to find a part-time solution if a full-time professional provider is out of the question. The socialization benefits alone are worth the extra effort. Be aware of having a schedule that is too hectic may not be right for your child. Most children need consistency and routine so that they can focus on learning from their environment rather than worry about what is going to happen next.

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