9 Reasons To Love Family Child Care!

One of the hardest things for me as a young mom was leaving these two little pumpkins with someone else while I went to work for 8 hours a day. I worked outside the home until my oldest was 4.5. During that time we moved three times and I had the chance to try several different types of child care arrangements. For us at that time and for many families I believe that Family Child Care is a great option!

This is the first post in a series of posts just for parents. I will discuss benefits of other child care options in a future post however today I’d like to focus on the 9 reasons that I love family child care!

*Please note parents will find there is a huge variety in the quality of care available in Family Child Care, just as in any other type of child care arrangements.  In this post I discuss 7 Keys to Choosing the Right Childcare.  Most importantly remember to visit several programs and listen to your intuition.  Choose a program or situation that feels like a good fit for you and your family!

  1. Family Child Care programs are licensed and regulated by the state.* Caregivers are required to maintain minimum standards of quality which can include passing Background Checks, obtaining CPR/First Aid certification and Food Handlers Permits, and participating in regular professional development.  Our program is visited on a regular basis by state inspectors (licensors) and food program monitors and is held to a high standard of quality. *Regulations vary by state.  In Utah anyone who cares for more than 4 unrelated children at one time for more than a few hours a day is required to obtain and maintain a Family Child Care license.  If you have questions please check with your local child care resource and referral or licensing office.  
  2. Family Child Care programs offer nurturing high quality care in a home, with the added benefit of a professional caregiver meeting the needs of your child. Because the setting is still in a home it is especially beneficial that the surroundings are warm, comfortable, cheery and non-institutionalized.  At the Learning Tree and Treehouse we have designed our environments so they are set up much like a professional preschool is, with the comfortable touches that being in a home provides.
  3. Family caregivers are professionals who are dedicated to their programs and the children they serve.  There is so much more that goes into being a quality provider than just being a “babysitter” or watching a few kids for a little extra money on the side.  Early childhood educators often choose Family Child Care as a career they dedicate their lives to.  Family Child Care is the business of shaping young lives and molding future generations.
  4. Family Child Care providers are their own boss and as such are able to make decisions about their programs intentionally, with specific goals in mind, and based on what they know is best for children.  I have chosen to be a “media-free” zone.  We spend time outside, instead of in front of the TV.  The children play with blocks, sensory materials and items from nature instead of playing video games. My teachers and I design our curriculum to be play based and child directed – not because it’s ours or the children’s preference, but because the research states that is how children learn and grow the BEST.   I spend my nights, weekends and free time in professional development classes, reading Early Childhood books and listening to webinars –  because I am passionate about my program and am constantly looking to make it better.
  5. Children are allowed to be in mixed age groups – simulating real family life.  When I was a working mom and looking for care I was running out of options so filled out the paperwork for a center that had a good reputation. I was relieved when I finally found a quality in home program with openings for my kids. I couldn’t bear the thought of my children – who were away from their mother already all day – being separated from each other.  In a family program siblings are able to be together throughout the day.  Children are able to learn valuable skills from each other.  Just like in a family children are given age appropriate responsibilities, are able to learn compassion and practice social skills constantly.
  6. Children have the benefit of a consistent caregiver and aren’t moving from classroom to classroom.  As a family child care provider I am able to form long term relationships with the children and families in my program.  My program is licensed as a Family Group so I employ a small team of teachers that work with families in addition to myself.
  7. Child to caregiver ratio allows children to receive individual attention, yet have the benefits of a variety of children to play and interact with.  In Utah, licensing requires Family providers to maintain a ratio of 1 caregiver for every 8 children, 2 of which may be under the age of 2 years old.  Family Group providers can have a maximum of 16 children (up to 4 children under the age of 2 years old) with 2 providers.* Depending on the age, teachers in center settings are often responsible for anywhere from 10-20 children on their own, and 20-40 children with two teachers.  *Ratio requirements vary greatly across states. The National Association for Family Child Care currently recommends the same ratio requirements as Utah Child Care Licensing Rules (as of February 2017).
  8. Family Child Care can be very cost effective, especially when compared with other options with equal benefit.  Providers education and experience will vary across programs but my experience is that in general family providers have a wonderful combination of education and/or experience.  Family Child care often offers developmentally appropriate preschool activities and curriculum integrated into daily routines. Children engage in music, art, science, dramatic play, large and small motor activities, social problem solving and many other activities each day that help them learn, grow and develop. Many programs also include transportation, field trips, and nutritious meals and snacks.
  9. Family Child Care is based on lasting relationships.  Family Child Care providers open their homes and hearts to their clients.  They often stay in the career for many years developing long term relationships with children and their families.


Jamie Harline

2017-06-22 02:25:00 Reply

Do you have an opening for a 4 1/2 yr old?
Hrs per day/ days per week?



    2017-06-23 05:53:55 Reply

    Jamie – I just sent an email with some additional details. Thanks!

Tarah Scott

2017-12-24 08:24:39 Reply

What Webinars do you listen to?
Which Early Childhood books do you recommend are absolute must reads for Family Child Care Providers?


    2018-01-12 18:40:21 Reply

    Tarah – I’d start with Positive Discipline by Dr. Jane Nelson. I’ve read her general PD book, but she does have one specific for FCC providers. While I don’t necessarily agree with EVERYTHING she suggests, I think the principles she bases her work on are really solid and she gives you some really good stuff to think about when guiding children. I also loved How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and How to Listen so Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. Anything by Brene Brown is AMAZING, but she has kind of a workshop book on Audible called The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting that specifically addresses relationships with children. Finally, I’d round it all out with It’s OK NOT to Share by Heather Shumaker.

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