Stay at Home Parents

Being a stay at home parent to your child may be the best choice for your family – with high childcare costs and the difficulty in finding employment that fits in with your new priorities, it can be the most cost effective and rewarding option, but it’s not for everyone. When choosing childcare it is important to consider all of the options and find one that works best. Is caring for your child at home until pre-school right for you?

Benefits to You

There are many benefits to caring for your child yourself, in your own home, whether you decide to be a stay at home parent or you manage to juggle childcare with your partner or other family members.

  • Less worry as you know your child is being looked after well. You are on hand for any accidents.You get to see your child develop. There’s no missing out on first steps or learning new words.
  • More relaxed family life as there’s no rushing out of the door in the morning or speeding through dinner after work.
  • No need to find holiday or sickness cover.
  • Cost effective and may save you money even with the loss of a salary as earnings may be cancelled out by childcare.

Benefits to Your Child

More importantly there are great benefits to your child by being cared for by a parent before they reach pre-school age.

The EPPE project found that a lack of one-to-one parent-child interaction was related to more anti-social behaviour. Being at home for your child means you can guard against this.

You know the quality of care is good and you can give your child one-to-one time.

The scope of activities your child can try is endless and more varied such as swimming sessions or a trip to the beach.

Your child will be relaxed and not have to cope with changing carers or environments.

They are less likely to pick up every cough and cold.

Is it Right for You?

Choosing to stay at home and care for your child is a big decision and whilst it may seem logical after maternity leave to not return to work, the consequences should be fully explored. Many parents who stay at home suffer from a loss of identity without their career. Devoting all day, every day to your child is not an easy option and with no breaks it can be overwhelming. Be sure to consider:

  • What will happen if you are ill? Have a backup plan in place before it happens.
  • How you would handle any feelings of loneliness without consistent adult interaction.
  • That the financial side is manageable and you will have money for activities.
  • How your relationship with your partner may change – will they expect you to be a housekeeper and cover all aspects of running the home as well as childcare? This added pressure can cause problems.
  • If your career will suffer – will a gap in your working life be a problem in your line of work? Will you need to re-train when you decide to go back?

home3Whilst these disadvantages are worth careful consideration, there are always ways to avoid them becoming an issue. Baby and toddler groups are a great way to meet adults in a similar position. The success of raising a happy and well developed child should be celebrated too. Staying home with your child is not the easy option and is hard work but the benefits can make it worthwhile.

Does your child stay at home with family? Please tell us about your experiences in the comments below!

Photos: Maria, Shannon & Ella


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