Daycare center or grandma’s house? It is a question parents all over the country find themselves asking when it’s time to place junior under the care of someone else. Like so many other issues, we Americans tend to see the daycare question as being black or white. It is not. Neither commercial daycare nor grandma’s house is the better choice in every situation.
Human beings are different. So are their lives and circumstances. The way to approach the daycare question is not to view it as one with a black or white answer. Rather, parents need to think through all their options and weigh the pros and cons against their needs, wants, and circumstances.
Weighing the Costs
We cannot ignore the fact that cost is a big issue. Plenty of parents choose to send their kids to grandma’s house simply because professional daycare is far too expensive. Organizations like Ivy School are working to solve that problem but, until then, parents who cannot afford professional daycare do not have many other choices.
Sending the kids to grandma’s house every day certainly is cheaper than sending them to a professional daycare facility. But there are trade-offs. These have to be considered as well.
Considering Grandma’s Ability
It is wonderful to have grandparents close by for occasional babysitting when mom and dad need time for themselves. But relying on grandma for daily care is another matter. Parents have to consider grandma’s ability to provide daily care for 8 to 10 hours per day.
Can grandma keep up with that kind of workload? Is grandpa there to help? Any concerns about grandma’s abilities have to be weighed against the number of children in her care. One child is obviously easier to care for than two or three.
Preferring Educational Opportunities
Some parents want more than just an in-home childcare provider who feeds the kids and keeps them from harming each other. They want childcare that includes educational opportunities focused primarily on early learning. Any parent looking for that kind of environment has to consider whether grandma can provide it or not.
Grandma doesn’t have to be a licensed professional to provide educational opportunities for her grandchildren. But she does have to have the physical and mental stamina to keep up. Otherwise, her educational opportunities may amount to nothing more than eight hours of television and videos.
Wanting a More Personal Experience
Along with lower costs, daycare with grandma offers the very decided advantage of a more personal experience. Let’s face it, no one loves children as much as their parents and grandparents. Daycare providers, as wonderful as they might be, simply cannot love kids the same way. This is not a knock against professional daycare; it is just reality.
Some parents prefer grandma’s house because they want their children brought up in a personal, loving environment by people who are genuinely concerned about every aspect of their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. And quite frankly, the kids might prefer a more personal experience as well. They are comfortable around their grandparents. They love spending time with them.
What do you think? Is professional daycare at a commercial facility better for your family, or would you prefer sending the children to spend their days with grandma? There is no right or wrong answer. Grandma can provide less expensive care with a unique personal touch. Professional daycare centers tend to offer more educational opportunities and other benefits. It really boils down to what parents decide is most important for their kids. That is the way it should be.