You’ve decided to place your child in daycare, but how do you choose between a home daycare and a daycare centre?

Daycare Centres

Daycare centres provide childcare out of a facility, such as a community centre, church, school or building that’s rented or owned for that particular purpose.


Consistency – Daycare centres are open Monday to Friday during set hours (except holidays and unless otherwise specified) and there is always staff available. Even if a daycare worker gets sick, you know you always have care.

Social – Daycare centres divide kids by age group so you know your child is socializing with other kids her age.

Safety – Daycare centres are required to follow the guidelines of their provincial daycare regulations; adhering to such rules as regular health inspections, hiring staff with CPR & First Aid training and obtaining adequate, comprehensive insurance to cover liability, personal injury, medical and motor vehicle.

Structure – Daycare centres offer regular programs and activities for the kids such as craft day, story time and sing-a-longs. Many centres also take field trips to fun places like the library or the zoo.



Cost – Daycare centres can be a considerable expense for many families. Private daycare centres will typically cost more to cover things like rent, staff salaries, insurance, utilities and food. If the cost is overwhelming, but you’d still prefer a daycare centre, look for one that is not-for-profit or government subsidized; both of which are equally regulated but less expensive.

Inflexibility – Many daycare centres charge an extra fee to parents who are late to pick their children up.

Large Groups – Many daycare centres provide care to large groups of kids at once. This may not be for you if you’re looking for a more intimate setting.

Illness – Germs tend to jump easily from one child to the next, especially in a regular group setting such as daycare.


Home Daycares

Home daycares provide childcare out of a care provider’s home.


Small Groups – Home daycares can only care for a small number of kids at once, which means your child will receive plenty of individual attention. To view your provincial requirements, please visit the Childcare Resource and Research Unit. Flexibility – Home daycares are often flexible with pick-up and drop-off times.

Family Feel – Home daycares often mirror family life, which is a fantastic way for your child to get exposed and comfortable with kids of different ages. Also, most home daycare providers are parents themselves so you can be rest assured you’re leaving your child with someone who “has been there” herself.

Costs – Home daycares are often less expensive than other forms of childcare.


No Backup – In many cases, if your child care provider falls ill or goes on vacation, you’re left without childcare until she returns.

Safety – Unless your home daycare is licensed or connected to an agency like Wee Watch, it’s up to you to determine if the setting is suitable and safe for your child.

Space – Home settings are often intimate, with limited space. If you’re looking for a larger space, home daycare may not be for you.

No Structure – Many home daycares aren’t able to plan educational activities for all ages at once. If you’re looking for a learning, school-like environment, home daycare may not be for you.

Finding childcare is one of the most important decisions you’ll make a parent. Whether you go with a home daycare or a daycare centre, it’s imperative to research caregiver qualifications, check all references and know the pros and cons before making a choice.