You just had a baby, now what?
Congratulations! You made it through pregnancy and maternity, but soon your confinement nanny is leaving. You must be thinking, “What do I do now?” Parents in Singapore, who are as busy as CEOs, usually start to outsource their tasks such as housework, cooking or even childcare with the added responsibilities of caring for a new child now. Seems daunting? We have some advice from Serious About Preschool, Singapore’s prominent platform for childcare and enrichment centres for some options to help tide you through the transition from post-maternity.
1. Infant Care Centres
Infant care is a popular option among parents as they provide babies with a safe environment for their development, with quality babysitting services through full-day or half-day programmes. Most infant care programmes cater to an age range of 2 to 18 months old.
Pros: As infant care in Singapore is licensed by the Singapore Ministry of Social and Family Development, staff are properly trained to take care of babies. The centres will also give constant updates on your child throughout the day so that you will have a peace of mind being away from him or her.
Cons: The price of infant care can be high. However, there are subsidies available for Singaporean children enrolled in an infant care licensed by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA).
2. Childcare Centres
Starting childcare is a major transition for both child and parents. However, there are more pros than cons with this option.
Pros: As part of ECDA regulations, teachers in childcare centre are properly trained and will need to have a Certificate in Infant or Diploma in Early Childhood Care. Thus, your child is being taken care of by trained early childhood professionals who will nurture and develop him or her holistically. Your child will also be exposed to kids of the same age and this provides ample opportunities to develop invaluable social and cognitive skills.
Cons: Your child can fall sick more frequently when he or she first joins the childcare centre. However, immunity can be built up over time.
3. Parent Accompanied Classes
Parent accompanied classes give you the opportunity to bond with your child while he or she learns in a perceived safe environment by having a parent around. These classes are usually fun for both adult and child, and parents can learn a tip or two to continue the learning at home.
Pros: Provides you with the opportunity to build a stronger bond with your child as both are engaged in learning and exploring together.
Cons: Not all parents can afford the time to accompany their children for such programmes.
Willing grandparents can help out too. As there is already trust in your child’s grandparents, your child is assured to be under genuine care.
Pros: Grandparents already have a natural bond with your child and they can be entrusted to look after him or her while you are busy or need a well-deserved breather.
Cons: Not all grandparents are willing or able to take care of their grandchildren.
5. Foreign Domestic Helpers
A foreign domestic helper or maid is useful when you need your entire household looked after. They can also double up as a caregiver to babysit your child.
Pros: Since your foreign domestic helper is going to spend a lot of time with you and your family, trust can be built. Not only can she take care of the child, she can help with household chores and cooking too, if properly trained.
Cons: Hiring a foreign domestic helper requires you to pay a variety of fees such as agency fees, application fees and levy etc; All of these fees including the employee’s monthly salary added up can be quite an expensive option. Moreover, maids are not properly trained in nurturing children, so parents will have to ensure that they dedicate a reasonable amount of time to train their helpers first before entrusting them to assume the role of a caregiver.
There are many full and part-time nannies in Singapore with years of experience in taking care of children. However, they may not be professionally trained. Hence, it is important to carefully choose the right nanny whom you can trust, such as from a reputable agency or a relative to care for your precious one.
Pros: More attention will be given to your child since nannies do not care for many kids at the same time. Hence, you do not have to worry about them getting sick as often as if they were to attend childcare centres. Moreover, the arrangement made between the nanny and parents can be flexible according to their needs.
Cons: It is pricey to hire a nanny and also difficult to find one whom you can entrust your child with. Even though they are experienced in taking care of your child, you may not be able to have a peace of mind knowing that they are not professionally trained in early childhood.
The above options will give you a head start in planning for the next few years of childcare for your child. Depending on your schedule and preferences, you may want to shortlist and explore the options first before making a decision. When you are too overwhelmed with choices of preschools and enrichment classes, Serious About Preschool will walk with you throughout your child’s preschool years all the way to primary school as we have taken the legwork of combing for these centres and programmes for you. You can even find reviews of schools and enrichment classes and even special discounts from partners! Sign up for Serious About Preschool’s E-Newsletter now to be in the know!