Types of Childcare Programs

Types of Childcare Programs
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  • 0:05 Childcare
  • 0:45 When
  • 1:26 Where
  • 5:13 What
  • 5:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 15 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

Childcare decisions can be difficult due to the myriad options. This lesson offers a breakdown of the main questions to consider when looking for childcare. Options associated with each question are explained in the lesson.


Charlene is considering childcare for her young daughter. When she starts to look into the options, she realizes that there are dozens of options from which to choose. How can she make the choice? Well, childcare is an important aspect of many parents' lives due to their need to have their children cared for in a safe manner while they are working or otherwise engaged. There are three main questions to ask yourself when considering childcare:

  1. When will I need childcare?
  2. Where will my child be while in care?
  3. What will my child do while in care?


When a parent needs childcare may differ from family to family.

Charlene has a young daughter, not in school yet, so she'll most likely need care for a full work day. However, as her daughter grows, she may only need childcare before and after school, during traditional working hours. Finding a childcare option that will transport her child to and from school could be important. Finally, Charlene might be taking night classes at college and need non-traditional hours of care for her daughter.

When reviewing options for childcare, parents must focus on the times they will need care for their children.


There are two main options for the location of childcare: in the home or out of the home.

In-home Options

In-home childcare has many benefits, such as maintaining a familiar environment for the child, a low caretaker-to-child ratio, and being convenient for the parent. Children who are able to stay in familiar surroundings may have an easier time adjusting to the absence of a parent during the care times.

There are many options for in-home childcare.


A nanny is often a live-in childcare provider. He or she lives in the home and becomes a very familiar and constant part of the child's life. This may help alleviate any separation anxiety a child may have. There is a very low caretaker-to-child ratio when employing a nanny, and the convenience level is very high. However, costs to employ a dedicated nanny can be extremely high.


Babysitters are generally a convenient method of child care for the occasional outing but aren't a realistic long-term solution to child care needs. Finding reliable long-term care in the form of a babysitter can become exorbitantly expensive.

Family Members

Asking family members to supply child care in your home can be a great benefit to both the family member and the child. Depending on the agreement you make with your family member, the costs can be very low, and since they come to your home, the convenience level is high. The downfall for family member care comes when you are not close to family members or when they become otherwise obligated.

Child Swap

There's also child swap care refers to an arrangement made with another family in which the children from the families are cared for together by one or the other parent on an alternating basis. This system can work wonderfully if two parents have opposite working shifts and their children get along well. Agreements can be made to keep the childcare in the home of the child with the absent parent.

A negative aspect to this system of care is the reduced flexibility: since the other parent has their own obligations, changes to the schedule are not easily accommodated.

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