Choosing Your Child's Best Care Option

Physician's Money Digest, September 2006, Volume 13, Issue 9

You want to give your young child thebest care possible while you're workingfull-time at your practice during the day.Unfortunately, child care can be outrageouslyexpensive and not something youcan skimp on. Since there are severaloptions to explore, Bankrate.com suggeststhat you should perform thorough researchto determine which method of child care isright for you. The best place to start lookingis by asking friends and family with childrento refer you to a reputable child careprovider to help you narrow down all ofyour options. A professional nanny is widelyconsidered the ideal choice, but they canbe tremendously expensive, especially ifyou go through a referral service that conductsbackground checks and screeninginterviews. Similar to a nanny is an au pair,who is usually between ages 18 and 26and comes from another country to livewith you and take care of your children fora period of typically up to 2 years. The StateDepartment sets some of the costsinvolved, including airfare, training, andscreening. Outside of your home, a familyday care or child care center may be goodoptions for your child. A licensed family daycare is relatively affordable, and your childcan interact with other children while playingwith age-appropriate indoor and outdoortoys and equipment. A child care centertakes a more educational approach, butcan be much more expensive. These centerstraditionally focus on social interaction andeducation through a set curriculum.