Advantages & disadvantages of relative care

Advantages & disadvantages of relative care

Knowing the advantages of having a relative to care for your child

The most compelling reason for you to use relative care is trust. No other childcare option has the potential to deliver as much peace of mind as relative care. Since your child is your relative's own family, not just another mouth to feed or a diaper to change, you can be sure that your caregiver is genuinely interested in your baby's health, happiness and well being. For many this is what gives relative care the edge over center and nanny care. With relatives, you also have the advantage of knowing more about your caregiver's past and personal habits.

One of the things that most worries parents who use other forms of care is that strangers who watch and nurture their children all day long will teach them the caregiver's own set of values, which may or may not complement what kids are being taught at home.

Being at home is another advantage what relative care has over center and home daycare. Your child can stay in her own home or in a relative's home, so you can be sure that she is in a comforting and non institutional environment.

You will get the ultimate caregiver to child ratio, which is 1:1. Even if you have more than one child, and your relative is caring for both, this ratio will be much lower than in the center and home daycare, where it could be closer to 1:6 or 1:7, depending on your location and the age of the children. With fewer kids around, your child will not get cold and the ear infection that cold can lead to, this is something what many kids in daycare tend to bring home.

Cheaper costs are also an advantage. Most people who use relative care do offer some kind of compensation, that is, monetary or otherwise, it does not come close to matching the sky high price tags of other forms of childcare.

In short, when your child is with a family member, you can be sure that your baby is getting plenty of love and attention from someone who will play an enduring role in her life.

What are the disadvantages?

Some of relative care's strength can also be weaknesses. Having a close personal relationship with your child's caregiver will make it difficult for you to establish an employer-employee relationship. Some relatives especially relatives of an older generation may feel that they know more about raising your child than you do, so they will ignore your ideas about care issues like feeding, discipline and sleep. This can confuse your child, and can end up hurting your relationship with your relative. To avoid all this, you need to set up clear lines of communication, and establish ground rules from the beginning.

Tension can also occur over payment. You offer money as you feel you may be taking advantage, she does not take your offer but secretly wants to take it and ends up making you feel miserable with hints and subtle jabs.

This can be a worst case scenario, but in many situations, this is not far from the truth. Whether you pay your relative or no, you will feel deeply indebted to her, which can be awkward, and you may less likely stand for your childrearing beliefs.

If an older relative like your mother or an aunt is your caregiver, her lower energy level could be a disadvantage. She may have more than enough stamina to care for an infant, but a toddler who is running, jumping, and exploring may tire her.

Christine Harrison a mom says that her daughter Lauren started walking when she was 8 months old, so by the time she was 14 months, she was hard to keep with especially for her 62 year old grandmother. She then relieved her mother-in-law of her job. Adding another child to your family may be too much for some of your relatives.

If your caregiver does not have the energy to come up with new ways to entertain and stimulate your child or safeguard him against possible accidents, then you should think about switching to a home daycare or center. You should do this anyway once your child enters toddler and preschool years. Many 2-, 3-, and 4-year olds get a lot out of playing and socializing with other children. This is something that they do not get in relative care. Unlike home daycare and daycare centers, relative care is not regulated or licensed by any government agency or association. This means you will have to really trust your caregiver in order to make sure that your child's environment is safe, clean and welcoming.


Other Articles From Parenting