Whether or not you scored maternity leave after having your baby (that's a subject for another article!), you're eventually going to come to a crucial fork in the road: child care. For some of us mamas, taking on the role of a stay-at-home mom is a financial possibility. And that's awesome! But for those of us heading back into the work place, we've got some important decisions to make. It might involve a nanny. Or day care. But if you're Latina, there's no question about it — your kid is staying with their abuela.
And it's a beautiful thing, right? The bond between your kiddo and your parents is definitely something you want to nurture and have blossom. After all, a lot of us remember hanging at abuela's house when we were tiny and have fond memories of it. And with day cares and preschools charging the equivalent of a college tuition, it just might make more financial sense to turn to your parents.
But if you have the choice, what's really best for your little one's development? Here are a few pros and cons.
About those finances . . .
With the average cost of day care hovering between $3,803 and $13,480 per year, having your child in the care of your parents is a huge boon to your pocketbook.
Financial outlook winner: Abuela
Look, our parents mean well. They really do. And they did a pretty great job of raising us (if we do say so ourselves), but . . . that was over 20 years ago. Honestly speaking, they just don't have the formal education and tools to provide the stimulation that infants and toddlers need. According to research by the Institute of Education, "Children looked after by grandparents at the age of nine months were also considered to be less sociable with other children at age three than those who had been in the care of a nursery, creche, childminder, nanny or another relative."
Social development winner: Day care
The same study by the Institute of Education found that children who had been in day care or preschool starting at nine months were often more ready for school than their abuela-watched counterparts, "showing a better understanding of colours, letters, numbers and counting, sizes, comparisons and shapes."
Here's the interesting thing, though: verbal skills were stronger in children being cared for by their grandparents. Abuela is more likely to take the time to sit down and talk with your child to make up for a lack of physical activity. She's also more likely to "use better grammar, have better vocabulary . . . and correct children more, unlike other people." Also, if she's speaking Spanish, that's a great bilingual boost for your kid.
School readiness winner: It's a draw
The moment will come when you have to put your foot down about something. It could be about the kind of food you do/do not want your child eating. Or how much screen time they're getting. Whatever the issue, it's NINE BILLION times better negotiating this kind of stuff with your day-care provider versus your parents. Because the last time a Latin kid tried telling their mom what to do, their picture ended up on the back of a milk carton.
Parental say winner: Day care
Love, sweet love
Real talk — there's no one who's going to love your kid more than you do . . . except for maybe Abuela. And that kind love isn't going to come from a day care, even though they'll certainly care for them and show affection.
So maybe the answer lies somewhere in between. A little bit of day care and a little bit of Abuela. But whatever your choice, know in your heart that it's the right one for you and your family.