Handing over your precious baby to somebody else while you work or go to school can be difficult. It is therefore really important to be happy with the type of care you choose. It is worth your while doing some checking around before you make a decision, by asking other mothers or perhaps your public nurse. In some regions there is a City or County Childcare Committee which can offer advice to parents on available childcare in their area. If there is a Teen Parents Support Programme in your area, they will also be able to provide information on local services.
The type of childcare you will need will be dependant on:
- The number of childcare hours you require,
- the age of your child,
- availability of childcare facilities in your area.
- your budget
- what feels right for you.
Full Day Care.
Nurseries and crèches can provide full day care (more than 3.5 hours a day) for children from the ages of 3 months to 6 years. This age range can vary, as some creches might not take children until they are older, perhaps 6 months or even a year. It is important to check this out with the crèche or nursery that you have in mind, so that you will know when your baby can be offered a place.
In many creches meals are provided during the day, often prepared on site. Babies and children of different ages would be in different rooms or sections in the building. There should be areas for the children of different ages to rest or sleep. An outside play area should also be available. The premises and the standards of care would normally be regularly inspected by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
A sessional service offers childcare in 3- 4 hour sessons. These may be in the morning or in the afternoon. This service is usually provided for children from 2-6 years. Staff have to hold a childcare qualification. For some sessional care children may have to be toilet trained or partly toilet trained, so check this out for yourself.
Types of Sessional Childcare Services.
Montessori groups: can cater for children up to 6 years. Montessori education is a structured programme based on the child’s individual needs. It encourages children to learn through play and builds on their social skills by mixing with others.
Naíonraí: which are nursery schools or playschools operating through Irish.
Playschools/pre-schools: which give children an opportunity to play and learn with other children of a similar age. As well as activities they learn to share and take turns and to understand the rules of the classroom such as listening.
Childminders care for children in the minder’s home or in the child’s home. Arrangements regarding payment, hours and general childcare requirements are made between you (the parent) and the childminder.Family members as childminders. Many young parents feel more comfortable having their child minded by family members. This arrangement is very much dependant on having somebody in the family who willing and able to care for your child. It is very important when using family members to make exact plans as to how many hours are needed and how of if they will be paid. It is important also to be honest and open with each other and to get any problems sorted as soon as possible.