Parents who plan to return to work shortly after the birth of their baby need to think seriously about the childcare options available to them.
In South Africa, working parents can choose between a Day Mother, a crÃ¨che, a live-in or live-out nanny or an au-pair.
Most parents favour the Day Mother or crÃ¨che options, however, au-pairs and nannies are becoming increasingly popular.
A Day Mother usually works out of her home. Most Day Mothers provide care for between five to ten children, depending on the size of her facilities — as well as the number of assistants she employs. It is recommended that the caregiver and infant ratio be 1:3, meaning one assistant or caregiver for three babies.
There are Day Mothers who work alone. Here the baby is given personal care and attention, as the care provider only has up to three babies in her care at a time.
- Homely atmosphere and the baby is protected against exposure to germs
- Flexibility in terms of drop off and collection times (important for working moms and dads)
- Personalized care
- Less rigid rules, in terms of accepting the baby if slightly unwell
- Less costly
- Most Day Mothers only offer care until the age of 18 months or 2 years
- Environment is not as stimulating as that of a crÃ¨che
- Day Mothers need to register if providing care for more than six babies, however, in most cases, Day Mothers are left unmonitored
- Relying on a single person for childcare may be problematic. If the Day Mother takes ill and is unable to offer her services, you may have to skip work
- Day Mothers are usually not professionally trained in childcare (But then which mother is?).
CrÃ¨che or Nursery School
Choosing a crÃ¨che is often a rushed decision made by parents in need of somewhere to leave their child when at work. However, parents should take a little longer when deciding which crÃ¨che is best for their child.
Choosing a crÃ¨che
A crÃ¨che is a formal childcare facility and most accommodate children from the age of three months up until pre-school age. A crÃ¨che must be staffed appropriately in order to meet the care demands, and age groups need to be kept separate.
Since a crÃ¨che is usually a large faculty, it must be registered with the local authorities. This means it is subjected to spontaneous visits by authorities, who inspect the facilities.
- The baby receives professional child care from trained staff
- Reviews on the crÃ¨che and the care given can be obtained from other parents in the area
- With so many staff members, parents do not have to rely on a single person for childcare
- The staff is continually monitored, along with the owners of the crÃ¨che
- A baby can remain at the same facility until they are ready for school. CrÃ¨ches also have many activities and events for older children
- With so many children in one environment, the baby will be exposed to germs and will contract common illnesses quickly
- A crÃ¨che will not accept an unwell baby, therefore alternative arrangements need to be made
- Monthly rates or fees are costly
- The operating times of a crÃ¨che are rigid and many actually fine parents for habitual late coming
- Some crÃ¨ches have a high staff turnover, which means that the child will need to get used to a new caregiver