Child Care Options

New family roles can be difficult to adjust to in the US. Many refugee women have never worked outside of the home. Instead, their primary responsibility was to stay home and take care of their children and their house. In the US, women and men both work outside of the home. In order to have enough money to live in the US, you may have to work, especially if you are a single parent household.

Sending your children to daycare can sometimes be sad or confusing. Some refugee parents do not want someone else to watch their children. This can be hard for both mothers and fathers.

If you are married, you and your husband may be able to work different hours so that you do not have to send your children to daycare. This can save you money but it also means you might not see each other very much. Depending on what country you are from and your cultural background, this can also be hard for male refugees who are not used to caring for their children at home.

Here is some information to help you understand the different types of childcare options available in the US. By learning about different types of childcare, and learning how to research childcare options, you can feel more comfortable sending your children to daycare.

Daycare

This means the daily care of your children by someone other than you, typically outside of your own home. There are different types of daycares. One option is an in-home daycare. This means you send your child to somebody else’s home who watches the kids. Another is institutions – these are daycare centers in buildings that typically have more children at them. Most daycares require you to register and to pay monthly. Some cities have drop-in day cares where you can bring your children for just a few hours.

Most states license daycares. This means they monitor if the daycare is safe or not. The RCO recommends you choose a daycare that is licensed. Most states also have programs to help you find a daycare in your area. You can search the RCO My State page to find resources about daycares in your state.

Babysitters

A babysitter is an individual that you pay to watch your children. Most babysitters will come to your house. Sometimes teenagers will babysit.

If you are looking for a babysitter, try to find someone you know and trust. You can also ask friends if they know of any babysitters. You should ask your babysitter to take a CPR and First Aid class.

Child Swaps

You may be able to find another parent who will “swap” children with you. This means you will watch their children one day and they will watch your children one day. This is a good idea if you have family or friends who have children close in age to your children.

Preschool

Starting around age 2, you can send your children to preschool. Preschools help prepare kids for school. The US has a national program, called HeadStart, which offer lost cost preschool for low-income families.

You can find a HeadStart program near you by searching the HeadStart webpage.

Summer Camps and Day Camps

During the summer, you may be able to find camps to send your child. Camps normally focus on a particular activity. For example, you can find sports camps, art camps, drama camps, etc. A lot of time summer camps and day camps will offer scholarship for low income families.

After School Programs

If you need childcare for a child that is already in school, you should look into after school programs. Many schools will offer low-cost or free after school programs for kids. There might even be specific programs just for refugee youth. Ask at your child’s school to see if they know of any after-school programs that would be a good fit for you child. These types of programs can help your children adjust to their new schools, help them with their homework, and help them meet new friends.