Many parents are challenged with the task of finding proper care for their child or children when they need to be away from the house, especially if the child is not in preschool yet. Even when the child is of preschool age or beyond, sometimes care is needed if the child only goes to preschool for half of the day, or before and after preschool or grade school in other cases.
Day care is the care of a child during the day by a person other than the child’s legal guardians, typically performed by someone outside the child’s immediate family. Daycare is traditionally an ongoing service during specific periods, such as the parents’ time at work. Childcare can also be provided in nurseries or by a nanny or family child care provider who come to the child’s own home. Day care can also take on a more formal structure, with education, child development, discipline and even preschool education falling into the fold of services. Some employers provide day care options for their employees at or near the place of employment. This service is proven to boost employee productivity and cut down on sick time and time away from work. Occasionally, childcare takes place in the child’s own home. This care is often provided by a family member, nanny or au pair. From a business perspective, the day care industry is a continuum from personal parental care to large, regulated institutions. For profit day care corporations often exist where the market is sufficiently large or there are government subsidies. For instance, in North America, large learning and care centers are common and provide a solution for regulated, quality care. Another factor favoring large corporate day cares is the existence of childcare facilities in the workplace. Large corporations often do not handle this employee benefit directly themselves and will seek out large corporate providers to manage a corporate daycare. Most smaller, for profit day cares operate out of a single location. Non profit day care centers are a common choice among working parents because they offer affordable prices, often coordinate with local school districts, sometimes provide services for free or low cost and can often to fundraising that many for profit centers cannot. In general, the geographic limitations and the diversity in type of daycare providers make child daycare a highly fragmented industry.