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Too Much Child Care

In today’s economy it is a fact of life that it isn’t always possible to survive on one income. All too often in a family, both parents have to work for a living. When children aren’t involved in the mix this isn’t too big a problem since even if just one of the couple were working they still wouldn’t see each other until the worker came home. But in the case of a child it’s a big difference. With both parents out of the house the child, depending on its age, needs to be cared for. Even a young teenager shouldn’t be left all alone day after day. Teenagers can get into a lot of trouble unsupervised, even for just a couple of hours.

But what about your small child, the one who needs care all day? Certainly finding care isn’t difficult, as there are many daycare centers available. But that isn’t the issue of this article. The issue is the question, “Just how beneficial is constant child care to your child?” This isn’t as easy a question as it appears to answer.

Sure, we can all agree that you can’t leave a 2 year old home alone all day. Yes, the child needs to be cared for if both parents are out of the house working. What needs to be addressed is the pluses and minuses of both parents working, making it necessary for the child to be cared for on a constant basis.

While the psychology of how a child will react to a stranger caring for him as opposed to how that child reacts to his own parent is beyond the scope of this article, it can’t be ignored. Studies show that children that grow up in a home environment with at least one parent caring for them, grow up better adjusted than children who are left to daycare for years on end.

“But we have no choice! We both have to work!” come the screams. Well, actually, you don’t have to both go to work. You choose to both go to work. Big difference. In a democracy like the United States, which is also the worst offender in this case, you are free to work or not work. But that isn’t the issue either. The issue is in doing what’s best for the child.

There are arguments on both ends of the spectrum. There are those who say that if the child is financially provided for and thus has all the “essentials” in life, this will make up for the lack of time that child spends with his parents. Others say that there is no substitute for a mother’s love and children who grow up in daycare centers grow up to be troubled teens.

The arguments will continue. But what the parents can do in order to help insure that their child does grow up to be well adjusted is to spend as much time with the child as possible, even if both have to work.

To balance out the care your child gets between the child care center and yourself, assuming that both parents have to work or in the case of a single parent, there are several things that can be done.

This isn’t always easy, but try to work out a flexible work schedule with your boss. If both parents work a day job maybe you can arrange to have one of the parents working either at night or a staggered shift, say starting at noon and working to 8 or 9. This way one parent will be home with the child most of the morning and the other parent can be home with the child all evening, leaving only a few hours each day that the child is actually in the care of a day center. This may not seem like much but every hour is something.

Another thing a parent can do is see if it is possible to take the child to work with him or her for at least a couple of days a week. Some work places actually have daycare facilities inside. While it is true that the parent will be spending most of the time working and not with the child, there is still the ride to work, lunch and break times and the ride home that they can spend together. Just this little bit of time to break up the day can make a big difference in your child’s disposition, especially if he is old enough to look at the clock on the wall and know that in a short time mommy or daddy are going to be picking him up for a nice lunch together.

If neither of those are an option then there is another alternative that is actually becoming very popular especially among mothers. That option is to become a Work At Home Mom or what is commonly referred to as a WAHM. A work at home mom is just what it sounds like, a mother that does her work out of the house. Today, with the advent of the computer, this is easy to do. There are many legitimate opportunities a mother can find on the Internet that can pay her for the work she does at home, from stuffing envelopes to typing ads. Of course she has to carefully check out each opportunity before getting involved, as there are many scams out there, but once she finds something with a good reputation, usually a company that is a member of the BBBOnline, she should be able to make a decent enough income to justify her staying at home. It may not be as much as what she would make in an office but when you factor in that there are no transportation costs, no lunches to pack, etc., the income may be more than enough to get the family over the hump.

The bottom line is this. We don’t have children to dump them in a daycare center. Children need their parents. There are ways to make that happen. It just takes a little effort and a little compromise.