There are many benefits to your child being cared for in a home setting. With such different childcare options available these days, it's worthwhile taking some time to understand them. Home-based childcare is appealing for a number of reasons, including the following:
Comforts of Home
Home-based childcare is often more comfortable and comforting than other settings. It's more like a formalised play date or popping over to another family's home, cosy and lively. That sense of familiarity can be particularly comforting if your child is not feeling 100% or if the weather is miserable.
It's also easy to follow your child's usual routines in a home situation such as sleep and meal times and they'll enjoy typical real-life experiences like going out for walks to playgrounds and parks, helping to bake biscuits, collecting the mail or hanging out washing.
Many parents also value that their children learn to be careful and considerate in another person’s space, as well as seeing how other families operate, learning that everybody does things differently.
Small Group Size
Group size and child-to-adult ratios are important factors to consider in childcare. Centres can be crowded, whereas home-based care enables lots of one-to-one interaction, fostering strong bonds and emotional development. They can have up to four children under six, with no more than two children under two years old so learning can easily be orientated to your child’s needs, personality and interests.
Children still get the benefits of learning to interact and socialise with others in the home-based setting. Children actually learn to socialise better in small group settings because they have the role model and influence of an adult and older peers close at hand. After all, how can a two year old learn to effectively socialise with a bunch of other two year olds?
There are plenty of opportunities to socialise and interact with other children during activities outside of the home, whether it's at music groups, playgroups or sports.
Home-based childcare may be less formal or structured than other options, but they're no less effective. You can feel assured that if it is coordinated through an official organisation it will be regularly and rigorously screened and inspected.
Educators will also have supervisors and programme coordinators to offer additional support.
Home-based educators are experienced and/or qualified in providing child-led, age appropriate activities that are specifically tailored to your child’s interests and strengths.
You might also be able to take advantage of opportunities to choose an educator that speaks your home language to your child or has other particular skills to contribute to their learning experiences.
Home-based childcare is recognised as being fantastic for its flexibility - flexible hours and flexible with ages.
Whether you're a shift worker, working short or long hours or just unexpectedly delayed at a meeting, home-based educators are usually able to be more accommodating than other options in fitting around your week. It will also give you peace of mind knowing that when you're running late, your child is in a familiar environment with someone they've formed a strong attachment to and feel safe with.
If you've got children of mixed ages, the flexibility of home-based care also works well, so your baby and four year old child can be cared for together.
When there's a good relationship and communication, flexible arrangements between educators and families can be a big benefit of home-based childcare.
There are absolutely no disadvantages to children remaining in home-based care right up until they start school. In fact, there are more advantages. Educators provide children with activities focussed on developing the skills your child requires for school. It is more effective because the educator knows your child’s development intimately, therefore provides activities tailored specifically to your child’s needs, not a whole room of children.
Often in bigger centre settings, children can get lost and skill shortages get overlooked, particularly if they are a quiet, reserved child that doesn’t speak up. There is a lot more opportunity for one-on-one care in a home-based setting where your child is learning from an adult in a play-based setting.