As we work with families through pregnancy and postpartum, we have found one common dilemma is finding affordable, reliable childcare options for military families after their maternity leave. Several options exist and we’d love to discuss them with you:
- Family Care — An option that isn’t available for most military families is care provided for your children by family members. During your pregnancy, be sure to ask family members if this may be a role they’re interested in fulfilling — grandma, auntie, or cousin might love to spend extra time with your children in exchange for extra cash. This is typically the least expensive option.
- The next option which is the second least expensive option, is a family daycare. Typically your children will be cared for in a loving home with other children. If you live on a military base, this is regulated by the CDC. Some bases only have a few providers and have long waiting lists. If this is an option for your military family, be sure to get on the list as soon as possible!
- Au Pair — A young adult from overseas who joins a family for up to two years to provide childcare; all Cultural Care au pairs are screened, trained and certified by the American Heart Association in adult and pediatric CPR/AED and First Aid. Cultural Care Au Pair provides a military discount!
- Nanny Share — A nanny that cares for more than one family’s children at a time. Nanny Shares are commonly found on local mommy groups, babysitting groups, and websites like care.com or craigslist.
- Center Based Daycare — Childcare centers are common in many communities. If you live on a military base, or not, you may consider sending your children to the local CDC. Rates for the CDC vary by household income making this option affordable for many dual-working military families. One factor to consider is that CDC’s do hold traditional hours so if your schedule is non-traditional, another option may be a better fit for your family.
- Private Nanny Care — Typically the most expensive option is private nanny care. Typically an agency can send a trained and certified nanny to your home to provide care based on your schedule. Nannies may also be responsible for household tasks, chores, and errands.
There are so many factors to consider when choosing the best arrangements for your children. Budget, location, schedules, duties, and the importance of training and certification may help you to narrow down the best choice for your family.
If our family were looking for childcare, an au pair would be a great fit for our military family with the flexible scheduling, cross cultural experience, and affordable, intimate care.
Written by: Melissa Nauss, Owner & Doula of Stars and Stripes Doulas and Local Childcare Consultant with Cultural Care Au Pair