One of the biggest decisions a family has to make is whether a new baby in the family will sent to a daycare facility after the maternity leave period is up, or whether a parent will stay at home to provide caregiving duties.
While it's becoming more common for some fathers to stay at home, the duty of care at home most often still falls upon us - the mums!
The concept of daycare can be a tricky thing to navigate. Here are some of the issues you may face when deciding what to do.
The money issue
Some women are in the position where they simply have to go back to work to earn money to support the family. However, it's worth looking into daycare costs as these can quickly outweigh the boost from your paycheck.
Look at what your potential earnings will be and see how much of it you will end up spending on childcare. Is it enough to justify going back to work or do you think you could manage staying at home where you don't have to pay childcare fees?
Many women want to stay active in the workplace as it offers them personal fulfilment, but they feel guilty leaving a child at daycare. Others get that same satisfaction from staying home with the kids, but still want some time for themselves. Either way, flexible working arrangements such as part-time work, working from home or splitting child care duties with a partner can allow women to manage their time between both work and family. Even if you choose not to go back to the workforce, signing up for part-time daycare might give you just a bit more time to run errands or focus on other, non-kid related tasks.
Finding the right centre
It can be hard to let go and leave your baby in somebody else's care, or you might have trouble finding the right childcare provider. Do your research and visit potential centres to get a first-hand impression of how they operate. Check the reputation and qualifications of the daycare and its staff and ask key questions such as the baby to adult ratio, the number of children and the type of activities and education your child will be partaking in. Of course, cost and location will also come into consideration.