Home daycare can be a less expensive, more convenient and less disruptive alternative to sending a child to a daycare center. Home daycare providers give your child individual attention, and you can be sure that their needs will be met. In addition, it can greatly reduce the time spent commuting to bring the child to a more professional center, as these daycare businesses are located within residential communities.
Home daycare centers are operated out of the owner's residence. They are not subject to as many regulatory requirements as other daycare centers, and the operators are not required to have educational backgrounds in early childhood development. Often, these businesses are also significantly smaller than more commercial daycare centers, allowing for more individual attention for children at a lower price.
Many parents elect to send their children to home daycare centers because the prices are lower overall than most other centers. According to the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA), home daycare costs across the nation average out to approximately $474 per month for preschoolers. These rates tend to be lower in rural areas.
There are many intangible factors that should be evaluated in addition to price when comparing home daycare centers, such as care quality, number of caregivers, conditions in the home, the number of children in the center and the enrichment activities available for children. Additional fuel and time costs should also be factored in when comparing home daycare centers, particularly as the differences in the rates charged can be relatively small when considered on a daily basis.
Ask many questions when choosing a home daycare. If their prices are unusually low relative to other daycares in the area, there's probably a good reason for it. It is all too easy to become sentimental when making decisions regarding childcare - it's important that you attempt to remain objective when choosing between home daycare centers. Ask for documentation about their childcare philosophy. Ask if the caregivers have emergency first aid training for children. Don't be afraid to ask directly why prices are lower relative to other home daycare centers in the area.
Choosing a home daycare center solely on the basis of price can be a terrible mistake, even financially speaking. If your child sustains an injury or emotional pain due to an unhealthy childcare environment, the downside is not pleasant. Strike a balance between price and good service. Do not do business with home daycare centers that can't provide positive independent reference contacts. Do not make a final decision before comparing and contrasting your options with other daycare centers in the area (see Resources below).