What is Family Day Care?

Jacob Queen

Family day care is a term used when someone runs a daycare center out of his or her house. Usually these people have to be licensed in some way, and they may provide certain advantages over traditional daycare centers, including less expense and an environment that’s closer to being at home. There are also some problems with family day care, including inconsistent regulations in some places and usually less training for those watching the children.

Some daycare operations are run out of the provider's house.
Some daycare operations are run out of the provider's house.

When parents decide to put their children into some kind of day care program, they have a few different choices. Some parents decide to go with a professional day care center, but these can be expensive and crowded. Other parents may decide to have a sitter stay in their home or they might let relatives watch their children. Family day care is often seen as a halfway point between a day care center and a babysitter.

Parents with young children still living at home will find that they already have many of the toys and other supplies necessary to start an in-home daycare.
Parents with young children still living at home will find that they already have many of the toys and other supplies necessary to start an in-home daycare.

One of the main advantages of family day care is the personal touch that the best providers can offer. The child is in a real person’s home with other children of varying ages, and it is a very organic kind of environment. In some family day care centers, it can be very much like being at home for the child, and the children even become very attached to family day care professionals.

It’s also usually true that home day care providers only have about five to seven children under their care. There are some cases where the number may be larger than this, but many areas regulate how many children a family day care can have at one time. The smaller number of children generally means that each individual child may get more attention and might be watched more closely.

One potential disadvantage of home-based care is the issue of regulation. Some places are very strict in their requirements, while others have very lenient rules. Parents are generally advised to do research in their location to determine if the regulations seem suitably strict.

Another potential disadvantage is that family day care is taking place in someone’s home, and sometimes this isn’t really a very professional environment. Many things can potentially pop up in someone’s house, such as arguments between the provider and his or her spouse or various family emergencies. Some people may believe it's wise to get some degree of personal information about a care provider to make sure the person maintains a professional environment in the care location.

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