As a mother you want to make sure you're getting the best child care services for your child while you're at work. You want to make sure your child will be left in a loving, nurturing and positive environment that is poised for growth. Faced with a myriad of child care options -- from day care centers to in-home nannies -- working moms need to weigh all options.
Whether you come from a two-parent working household or you're a single mother, you'll need to make the child care choice that best suits your needs and budget. In fact, there are several ways to find the child care services that will prove most effective for your child and yourself.
Make a Budget
Based on your salary, decide how much you can afford to pay for child care services. If you have a smaller budget for child care services you may want to tap into lower-cost options, such as asking friends or relatives if they would be interested in watching your child for a fixed fee while you're at work. If your budget is larger, you may want to weigh the cost of a nanny verses a daycare center.
Choose Between On and Offsite Child Care
Is it important for your child to be at home while you're working? Are you more comfortable with in-home child care where your child will have one-on-one attention with another adult in familiar surroundings, or would you feel better with your child at a professional day care center where there is stimulation for infants, routines, and various activities and programs on site? Once you decide which option is best for you, target your search in that direction.
Visit Child Care Service Providers
The only way to properly chose suitable child care services for your child/children is to visit the child care providers, and spend some time watching how they care for other youngsters. Many day care centers will have open houses, which take place on the weekend. While it's wise to attend these events, you'll want to visit when the center is actually caring for children. If you're interviewing a babysitter who watches children in her home, go to the home, conduct an interview, observe how she cares for children, and take a tour. Similarly, if you're hiring a nanny or an au pair you want to see how she interacts with your child at a "try-out," whereby you stay at home when she cares for your child for the first time.
The best way to gain information about child care services is to ask questions. When you visit or interview child care providers, go armed with a list of questions in hand. Some basic questions are: What is your daily routine? What is the child to caregiver ratio? What types of activities will your child benefit from while in this child care setting?
Consider Pros and Cons
Every child care setting will have its pros and cons. As a working mother you need to be comfortable with the child care services you choose. For this reason, you should sit down and make a list of pros and cons. If the pros outweigh the cons, and you can live with the cons, you have made a good choice.