Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Unexpected Benefits of Daycare

"Ask Mr. Dad" recently wrote an article on the unexpected benefits of daycare.

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I are expecting our first and we’re on the fence about whether to hire a nanny or find a childcare center for our son. It would be great to have someone at home to take care of household chores, but our friends say that there are some great advantages—for us as parents—to having our child in daycare too. Is there any truth to this?

A: In a word, yes. While it’s every parent’s dream to come home to a sparkling clean house where the laundry and the toys have been put away and as healthy dinner’s on the table, having a child in daycare offers some definite benefits to parents as well as to kids. In fact, the same day as I got your email, I received a copy of a new book by Mario Small, a Professor in Sociology at the University of Chicago, who has extensively studied a number of these benefits.

For example, in a daycare setting, you’ll get to interact with more parents than if you had a nanny caring for your child. Daycare parents often become each other’s support, helping each other navigate child rearing issues, sharing their concerns for their children’s development and health issues, helping out with emergency babysitting, and providing different perspectives on schools and extra-curricular activities. In short, it’s a way to expand the proverbial village.

Parents who send their children to daycare also have access to professionals (usually the staff and administration) who have at their disposal resources and a wealth of experience that they can share with parents. They’ll also be better able than a nanny (who probably hasn’t taken courses in child development) to identify any developmental or behavioral red flags.

But there’s more to day care than community building. In his book, Unanticipated Gains: Origins of Network Inequality in Everyday Life, Mario Small writes that mothers who put their children in daycare tend to have more friends than mothers who don’t. They also have a lower incidence of depression. And, interestingly, low-income families with children who are in daycare are less likely to become homeless than families who keep their children at home. More proof that the benefits of daycare extend far beyond the childcare room.

As for the children, yes, there are some wonderful advantages to leaving children at home with a nanny. It’s their home. They feel safe and comfortable there and can maintain the same routines that they have always enjoyed. Children who stay at home get plenty of one-on-one attention and don’t pick up as many viruses as daycare kids.

At the same time, there’s no question that in a good daycare setting, your child can thrive and learn all sorts of important social skills. He’ll be exposed to other children who will eventually start to seem like siblings. He’ll learn to eat around other people and will discover the all important skill of sharing. And while he’ll bring home a germ or two (or two dozen), studies have shown that children exposed to germs early in life actually have stronger immune systems and are more resilient when they start school.

As you hunt around for the best childcare option for your son, keep in mind that not all daycare centers are created equal. According to Mario Small, only centers that have strict pick-up/drop-off hours are beneficial to parents. Centers that are flexible in their scheduling don’t give parents enough opportunity to interact and to form that helpful network of connections.

see original article at:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Problem with Babysitting (also known as "Employee Moonlighting")

As an employer within the child development field, you probably have employees who arrange to babysit for families outside of their working hours. This of course seems logical and appropriate at first glance.

Here is the kicker – if the family met their “babysitter” while the sitter was/is working in your program, it has been determined (by courts) that you are legally liable for their conduct while babysitting--EVEN outside of their employment hours with you.

What this simply means is, if your employee meets a family while working in your program (they are not related or have a prior relationship with each other), the family asks that person to babysit (while your employee isn’t working for you, i.e. Friday night, after hours, while the parents are away, etc.) YOU can be held liable for anything that happens to that child(ren) while in your employee’s care.

There are court findings where the child care program was held legally liable because there is an “implied recommendation” to the parent that your employee is capable/appropriate to care for children – hence they hire them on the side. This seems ridiculous – and I have to agree that it is – but that is how the courts have viewed this situation.

To protect yourself and your program from this legal liability you may want to look into having a “no babysitting” policy in place in your program. All of our KidCentric programs have a very strict policy to address this issue. If our policy is broken, the employee will be terminated and the parent will lose their child care immediately. This is a very serious issue. We have also been legally advised that there are no waivers that will protect you from this liability.

Parents and your employees will hate this policy, but you might want to consider putting one in place if you want to protect yourself from yet another layer of legal liability. Food for thought…..and action!

Oh yes, and, of course, our babysitting policy is for sale at!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

KidCentric Opens "Children's Waiting Room"

On Monday, April 6, 2009, KidCentric opened a "Children's Waiting Room" (CWR) at the new Civil and Family Law Courthouse in Santa Rosa, California. The CWR provides a safe, healthy place for children to wait while their parent is involved in court business. The CWR can accommodate up to 13 children at a time, ages 6 weeks to 12 years.
Read the story in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Helping New Mothers Manage Work

Check out the article about KidCentric co-founder, Mindy Stewart. Mindy discusses the challenges new mothers face in returning to work and how KidCentric's employer-sponsored child care programs can help reduce some of those challenges. (And how the employer benefits from child care programs as well.)

Friday, January 16, 2009

How to Start a Daycare E-book

Calling all daycare providers, current and future! I'm working on an e-book to help potential providers start a daycare. If you have any questions that you have not seen addressed (or at least answered to your satisfaction) in other books, websites, or forums, please let me know and I will try to include it in our publication. I want this to be written "by providers", "for providers". Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Employer-Sponsored Child Care Makes's List of Top Trends in Child Care recently released their list of the Top 12 Trends in Child Care for 2009. Number 4 on that list is:

Corporate child care is raising the bar in terms of quality child care. An increasing number of companies are either offering (or considering) in-house child care centers as a perk for attracting and retaining top employees. In addition, more companies are partnering with child care centers to offer discounted rates or even special hours for employees. Some developers are even focusing on including a child care facility as part of master planning of new areas, knowing that having a quality child care center nearby will make the area more desirable for both employers and employees alike."