Updated 11 April 2013

Childcare at home the best option?

Domestic workers or au pairs to look after your children at home, or daycare centres or crèches - which is the best option?


Many people employ domestic workers or au pairs to look after their children at home. At some or other time, however, parents wonder if this is the best option for their child and whether or not they should make use of daycare centres or crèches.

The great advantage of home childcare is that it provides one-on-one care. This may well be a more nurturing environment than a crèche. It is also very convenient as you don’t have to brave rush hour traffic to transport your child to and from a facility. Your child stays in his familiar surroundings with all his favourite toys and things that make him feel secure. An important added bonus is that there is less exposure to illnesses. We all know how illnesses spread amongst children!

But there are a few things you should bear in mind if you follow this route. Not only is it usually the most expensive option, you will also need a strong backup plan in place. If your childminder is ill, you might be stuck and will probably have to cancel work or other arrangements at the last minute. As children grow older, they develop a greater need for social interaction with peers. One-on-one childcare cannot provide the same social stimulation for your child. You could overcome this problem by introducing your childminder to other childminders in the area. They could arrange to meet at certain times to allow the children to play together.

The most worrying factor is that you cannot monitor the quality of care. It is important to select your childminder carefully and to do thorough reference checks. It is also a good idea to do unexpected “spot-checks” from time to time.


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