The early bird catches the worm. Well, that’s the revised version. In real life the process is a little more drawn out. First the early bird asks around to find a babysitter she likes. Once she finds one, she arranges for the sitter to start early the next morning. She waits for the sitter to arrive, and then – and only then! – can the early bird fly away and catch the worm. And then she comes back and pays the sitter.
You’re a human, so you don’t have to worry about any worm-catching. But you will have to worry about childcare. And with multiples, the process of finding and securing childcare for your children could be a little more complicated and expensive than it would be if you had a single baby.
There’s no single answer for the best way to go about this. But we do have advice that might make it easier for you to arrange childcare for your little chickadees.
Consider the cost
Childcare can be expensive! Reducing the cost of childcare can make a big difference in your budget. Here are some ways that you can maybe lower the price tag of a daycare facility or nanny.
- Stagger work hours with a partner: If you or your partner’s work schedules are flexible enough, you could try having one partner go into work earlier than the other every day. This would leave one partner with the multiples for an hour in the morning, and one with them for an hour in the evening, which would cut out two hours that you would otherwise pay for.
- Ask close friends or family members for help: For some families this works as an alternative to daycare during working hours. You’ll still pay money for childcare, but the price would be much lower, and you would already have a relationship with the person caring for your little birdies.
- Pick and choose days of the week for childcare: If you have the opportunity, you can try to stay home with the multiples a few days a week to cut the bill.
Option 1: A nanny
Nannies are great, as they can give your multiples personal attention. You and your children may also form a close relationship with them, which ultimately helps your multiples. If you’re considering a nanny, start by looking on specific nanny sites or reaching out to other parenting resources. Interview any potential nanny to make sure they have experience with multiples, and check their references.
Will a nanny be cheaper than other options? This depends on several factors, the main one being where you live, as more populated areas tend to have higher rates for nannies. However, it’s also worth making sure that you get someone who’s experienced and familiar with multiples, and this could cost a little bit more than a parent with a single baby might pay.
Option 2: A child care facility
Bringing your multiples to a child care facility might be a great choice for you. It puts more adults in charge of the multiples, they’ll be around other children, which can reinforce lessons in communication and, eventually, sharing, to name a few.
If you’re deciding on a child care facility, consider the price and how far away the facility is from your house, as well as the facility’s licensure, the staff-to-children ratio, and how the facility itself looks.
Option 3: Family day care
Family day care is kind of like a mix between a nanny and a child care facility. Family day cares are run by people who have children of their own, usually out of the care provider’s house. Normally the person in charge will serve snacks and meals, and provides toys and games for the children to use. Family day care often costs less than a child care center, which can make it a strong option for many parents.
If you’re considering bringing the multiples to a family day care, make sure that the potential provider has experience with multiples, is fully licensed, and meets any other personal requirements that you have.
Should you keep the multiples together?
As the multiples get older you might start thinking about separating them in class or other activities, to help them develop a sense of independence, but you don’t have to worry about that right now, or even for a couple of years. What’s most important is that you find something that’s a good fit for you and your family, in terms of convenience, affordability, and comfort.
If you’re still undecided on the best option, consider reaching out to other parents of multiples to find out how they tackle the childcare subject. In time you’ll find the solution that works best for you and your family.