Getting The Right Child Care When You Return To Work
Going back to work after having children is a hard decision to make.
The emotional toll that guilt has on a parent returning to work can be significant. We are compelled to spend time with our precious little family before they grow too big for us to carry them around in our arms. And, if we don’t feel enough guilt ourselves, society has a habit of subconsciously adding more pressure.
“Oh, you’re going back to work. In my day …”
Here’s the thing. Whether by necessity or by choice, returning to work isn’t something to feel guilty about. You will still be an important part of their development.
Now that we’ve worked through the emotional rollercoaster and have made that difficult decision, we need a plan to make things easier.
Pro Tip: Create a list of benefits for returning to work so you have it to look at later when things get tough.
Assured of your decision, here are the things we have to do to make the transition easier.
Choose the daycare
There is a lot that goes into the choice of daycare. Some have significant waiting lists and you need to speak for a spot as early as your baby’s birth.
Some of the things to consider when choosing your daycare are:
· What is the proximity to home or work of the daycare?
· Is the daycare licensed or unlicensed?
· What is the infant to child care provider ratio?
· Is part-time daycare an option?
· What is the daily routine?
· What are the hours of operation?
· How are milestones tracked?
· How will your child grow within the centre?
Pro Tip: Remember to ask about how allergies are managed if you need to.
Pro Tip: Some daycares will enforce a cash penalty if you are late picking up your child.
Special attention needs to be given to the 1 year to 18-month milestone. Daycares only have a very limited number of spots available for younger children. You may need a babysitter for this period until you can get into the daycare.
Pro Tip: The choice of daycare may be complicated by the need for afterschool care for other children.
There is more than just the monthly costs and payment arrangements that you have to think about when it comes to your daycare. There is the cost of gas to get there as well as timing. If you choose a daycare closer to work, you may enjoy a reduced rate as the child would be there for less time than if they are closer to your home. Additionally, there are tax implications.
Your work schedule as well as your spouse’s is important for your daycare options. Do either of you work evenings or weekends? Can you leave early to drop off your child(ren)? Some work schedules are too rigid to adjust, but you will want to spread as much of this around as possible so no one feels like they are the only one contributing.
Another element to think about is whether you’re going to start working part-time or full-time. Some daycares have certain drop off times so you want to see whether the schedules align. If your work offers flexible hours, you can adjust your schedule to minimize the use of daycare.
Pro Tip: Divide and conquer for daycare works for a time, but you still want some family time together.
Most daycare facilities will allow you to name certain people who can pick up your child. Take a cue from that and get help from others now and then. You don’t have to be the only person who goes out of their way.
That support can extend to emotional support as well. Invariably, your child is going to react differently to you when they start going to daycare. A child will often form a bond with their daycare provider as they spend many waking hours with them. They may also develop some anger towards you for abandoning them. Be prepared to deal with that pain as they turn away from you and throw temper tantrums saying they hate you. As much as we don’t want to hear it, it is normal and your child will eventually work through it.
There are many groups you can join physically or on social media platforms like Facebook. These groups are usually based around the age of your children and often offer support or anecdotes that you can learn from. Because they are based on age, the groups will exist as your child grows up so you can continue to gain tips and insights into their development.
You aren’t the first person who’s taken their children to daycare. In fact, a lot of those people wrote a book about it. Find one and get comfortable because they’ll help.
It’s going to be emotional for the first few times and you’re going to cry.
· Schedule a tour and personal interview with the facilitators.
· Do a practice run.
· Try part-time for a week so your child can get used to it.
· Start later in the week as the emotional drain of working and daycare will be get you down.
· Have your spouse drop off the child so you don’t have to hear them scream at you every time.