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By : Ashleigh Brown, 12-08-2015
Whether you're going back to work or taking a much needed night out, deciding what kind of care or who will care for your child is far from an easy decision.  With so many different child care options to choose from, the task can be over whelming for any parent. Likewise, children can also be overwhelmed by the experience of being dropped off or spending most of their day with someone other than a family member. Below I will provide a quick breakdown of childcare options available:
Mother's helper
A mother's helper is a child care provider who helps watch and entertain a child during the day while a parent is still home. This enables the parent to concentrate on or have assistance with other tasks while still also being available for the needs of their child. The age of a mother's helper is usually younger than the average nanny. The typical mother's helper is in Jr. high or high school and will work after school, weekends, or on school breaks. Because of the lack of experience of watching a child on their own, rates can go from free (because the teen knows they need this experience) to just a few dollars an hour. Best bet in finding a mother's helper, is to ask trusted parents in your circle who have tweens or teens looking for experience. 
Day care centers 
A day care center provides child care in a non-residential drop off facility. Some day care centers allow short, hour-by-hour drop-in care, but most provide a full day of care that includes activities, naps, and possibly outings. There is also the option of a family day care, where care is provided in some one else's home. Family day cares can be more cost effective and are more than likely conveniently located in your neighborhood. They often have fewer children in their care, which can make children more comfortable because of the home setting. This will also help when you make the transition into a day care center. Family day cares often do not advertise much, you can find them by word of mouth or by submitting a free request to
A babysitter is an individual you hire by the hour to care for your child, typically on less frequent occasions. A baby sitter may watch the child at your home or theirs. Baby sitting is often a side job for many sitters, as they often work at another job, go to school or have their own family they need to dedicate more of their attention to. A sitter's responsibilities often include preparing food, assisting kids in getting ready for bed, helping with homework, and providing transportation to or from school and activities. 
A nanny is a more hands-on childcare provider, with an ongoing regular and more involved relationship with the family. Nannies not only have childcare experience, but many have degrees in child development or related fields, or are parents whose own children have left the nest. They will engage in developmental activities as well as cook and clean for the family. When it comes to rates, expect them to be higher than your typical baby sitter, averaging $10 to $25 an hour. If you want someone to take care of the background checks and reference checks, hiring a nanny agency will be a great option. You can find help with
Au Pair
An au pair is a person from a different country who provides live-in child care for a family. The au pair is often considered a member of the family and not just hired help. Au pair's duties are very similar to what a nanny would provide, do not usually include  house cleaning.  The family provides room and board as well as stipend, which is a form of salary. Stipend is often separated from wages, because it does not represent payment for work performed.  There are also agency fees, families must find au pairs through approved agencies that are regulated by the U.S. department of state.

There are still even more options for childcare to what I provided, including family support, before and after school programs provided by lcoal school districts, community clubs and groups, employer sponsored programs, etc. The important thing to consider is what amount of time and support you need and explore options from there. If you need any assistance you can always submit a free request to
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