3 Types of Childcare

Childcare CenterFamily Childcare HomeIn-Home Care

When looking for quality childcare for your child, the first question you should consider is the type of childcare that best suits your needs and the needs of your baby. Your options include a childcare center, a family childcare home and an in-home provider.

Childcare Center

  • Provides a structured program in a licensed environment.
  • Usually the least expensive option.
  • Exposes child to a diverse group of children and providers.
  • Easier to schedule part-time care.
  • Since the center is always open (except on weekends and holidays), you will not need to find backup care if a provider becomes ill.


  • May lead to more illnesses for your child due to exposure to more children.
  • May not offer a consistent, primary provider.
  • May offer less individualized attention.


Family Childcare Home

  • Provides home environment and playmates that are usually of varying ages.
  • Offers exposure to smaller number of children and, therefore, less exposure to illness.
  • May offer more individualized, nurturing care.
  • May offer more flexible hours.


  • Not many family childcare homes are licensed.
  • Difficult to monitor quality of care.
  • Requires good backup plan if provider becomes ill.


In-Home Care

  • Provides one-on-one care that may be more nurturing.
  • Easier than transporting child to and from a facility.
  • Child stays in comfortable, familiar home environment.
  • Less exposure to illnesses.


  • Need strong backup plan when provider is ill.
  • Less social stimulation for child.
  • Usually the most expensive option.
  • Difficult to monitor quality of care.

For more information, including a checklist of questions to ask when interviewing providers, read our article on finding quality childcare.

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