Singapore Parents: Trying to weigh your options between enrolling your child in an infant care or leaving them with your parents’ or in-laws’? We give you our two cents worth.
Having a new family member is a game-changer.
It is not just about having to live with a small tiny human being – adequate provisions must also be made for your child to ensure that he is well taken care of while growing up.
As many new parents start to make plans for their little one, they start thinking about important aspects such as buying medical insurance, the schools that they wish to put their child in and even who the main caregiver of their child would be.
For most working mothers, they begin to make these arrangements as soon as they are in their second trimester. Some start to tour different infant care facilities while others prepare their parents or parents-in-law for the caregiver roles that they have to take on when their grandchild is born.
This article will provide you with some direction on whether you should send your baby to infant care in Singapore or have your parents or in-laws care for your baby.
Pros of sending your child to infant care in Singapore
Subsidies for infant care fees
The first good news about infant care in Singapore is that babies who are Singapore Citizens are entitled to significant subsidies. According to the Ministry of Social and Family Development, all families with Singapore Citizen children are entitled to a basic subsidy of $600 when enrolling their child in full-day infant care. In addition to this, an additional subsidy is available if the total household income is less than $7,500.
This may mean that you are eligible for a subsidy that is as high as $1,140, which will then significantly offset the costs of putting your child in infant care. Do refer to the website to check how much subsidy you are entitled to.
Strict guidelines for infant care centres in Singapore
You will also be happy to know that strict stipulations are put in place for Infant Care centres in Singapore.
According to the Early Development Childhood Agency’s guidelines, infant care centres must first apply for a license with ECDA before they are allowed to operate. Furthermore, the teacher to student ratio for infant care services in Singapore is 1:5.
In addition to these guidelines, these centres must have a qualified trained principal and at least three programme staff who are trained in infant/toddler care. With all these rules in place, you can rest assured that your child is in safe hands.
Target programme that stimulates your child while in infant care
Since you are given such a generous subsidy, be sure to optimise your child’s time at infant care by choosing a centre that has a holistic programme.
The MindChamps infant care programme immerses young minds in a stimulating, nurturing and age-appropriate environment. This is done by utilising the key domains of the Sensory, the Motor, the Intellectual, the Linguistic, the Emotional and the Social (S.M.I.L.E.S) as the foundation to develop the ‘3 Minds’ (the Champion Mind, the Learning Mind and the Creative Mind) in them. Every activity that is done with your child at our infant care targets the five domains and prepares them for important milestones such as crawling or speaking.
Pros of having your parents or in-laws care for your child
It may be convenient to have your parents or in-laws to care for your infant if they live with you or near you. With this, you do not need to wake up earlier to bring your child to the infant care centre.
Low chance of illness
Since your child is isolated away from other children, there is a low risk of your child contracting Hand Foot Mouth Disease (HFMD) or other contagious illnesses from the infant care centres. This may also mean fewer disruptions to your work schedule when you do not have to take time off work in the event of a school closure.
Safety and loving care
For some working parents, there is nothing more reassuring than having a family member look after your own flesh and blood. Not only that, your parents or in-laws will shower your baby with love and care, allowing him to feel secure and happy especially when you are not around.
Cons of sending your child to infant care in Singapore
Lack of individualised attention
Some working parents prefer to leave their baby with their parents or in-laws so that their child receives more attention. MindChamps understands the concerns of these parents and strives to create a more intimate 1:3 carer-infant ratio instead of the ECDA’s minimum requirement of a 1:5. This ensures that your child is showered with ample attention but also given space and time to develop at his own pace.
Viruses and outbreaks
Viruses and outbreaks also deter parents from sending their child to infant care. Parents who do not choose infant care centres in Singapore argue that children under one year old are more susceptible to sickness and should be kept at home instead. However, selecting a reputable, ECDA approved infant care centre can help to minimise these outbreaks from happening.
For example, at MindChamps, there are protocols in place to reduce and prevent any possible outbreaks of diseases among children who attend the infant care and preschool programme.
Cons of having your parents or in-laws care for your child
Lack of stimulation for your child
Parents or in-laws may well be able to care for your child in terms of feeding and bathing them. However, they may lack the expertise to stimulate your child so that he is able to develop mentally and socially.
Educarers in MindChamps are trained professionals who engage your child on a daily basis with activities such as Rock-a-bye or Baby swing. At the same time, the educarer will speak or sing to your child. By listening to the educarer while playing, your child is being primed for speech as this promotes language acquisition.
Not being able to administer first aid
Another important thing to consider is that your parents and in-laws may not be first aid trained and may not know what to do in the event of an emergency. Knowing how to perform CPR or what to do in an event of a serious allergy is crucial and may save your child’s life. At every infant care centre, there is at least one staff who is certified in first aid.
Written by Neltje Fu
Keen to enrol your baby at a reputable infant care centre?
If you have weighed your options and would like to consider infant care, do choose one suits your needs and requirements in terms of caring for your child.