What are my childcare options in the DMV Area?
Some of the most popular options available to you are:
• Being a stay-at-home Parent
• Relative Care
• Au Pair
• Mother’s Helper
• Nanny Share
• Daycare Center
• In-Home Daycare
• Independent Child Care Provider
Stay-at-home parents take either an extended or permanent leave from work to raise their child(ren). This may make sense if the costs of childcare are too similar to your own payrate. You get to have a front-row seat to your child’s development, but some parents feel this can be isolating and not mentally stimulating. Socialization for the children would need to be organized with others but for some being home with their child(ren) is most important. Respite care, provided by local babysitters or an independant child care provider, can help give you a break when you need it, too.
Sometimes a family member can provide care for your child in your home or in theirs and they may not charge you. Most often this is a retired grandparent who lives close or is willing to relocate to be close to grandchildren. You may like this option as it is someone you know and trust, but your child will not get the socialization of being in a larger group of children. Access to a network or resource of part-time caregivers can fill in the gaps when your relative needs time off.
A Babysitter is someone who can be trusted to be alone in the home with your children and is typically paid by the hour. A babysitter usually spends a few hours playing with and caring for your children but may not have the skill set to do education or learning activities. This is typically a good solution for those who need a few hours a day or a week and need to be outside of the home.
A Nanny is an experienced professional who provides not just childcare but education, experiences, household chores, meal prep, transportation, etc. This person will likely charge more than a babysitter but may work for a flat rate for the week rather than an hourly wage. They typically have the necessary education that would support the higher rate of pay. This is a great solution for those who work full-time outside of the home but want their children to remain in their own environment. Nanny's are household employees and if you privately hire them you will be responsible for ensuring that all tax requirements are met.
An Au Pair is typically someone who performs all the duties that a nanny does but they are from another country that lives with you – so you will need space to accommodate them. There are governmental regulations that require you to supply room and board and a stipend. The Au Pair must hold a J-1 Visa and it is best to work with a company that specializes in Au Pair placement.
Mothers (parents) helper
A Mothers Helper is a great solution for those looking for part-time help on weekdays, weekends, or evenings or when older school-aged children are available. This role is usually held by a young person who is learning skills for future childcare positions. They would assist you by freeing you up to complete other household chores or work and allow them to gain the knowledge to be on their own in the future. This is typically a low-cost childcare solution for those who need an extra set of hands but not a solution for someone who works full-time outside of the home.
Child swap or nanny-share
You may find a parent who is willing to alternate days of caring for both families’ children. These arrangements are typically free as you are trading days but only work if your schedule allows such availability. A Nanny-share works when two families have the same needs and find one Nanny to watch all the children. The hourly rate of the Nanny would be split between the families, and they may alternate the home they watch the children in. Clear communication and expectations are vital for either of these to work.
These are licensed by the state and can provide newborn care up to school age. Once you select a center that works for you, your child could remain in the same community for years to come. There are trained and experienced providers who work with your child’s developmental needs and prepare them for school. This is a great opportunity for those who work full time and do not want care provided in the home or cannot afford to do so as a daycare center is typically more affordable than a nanny.
An in-home daycare center can be licensed or not licensed depending on your state and the number of children that are enrolled. This is typically in someone’s home and they may have a variety of ages present. If you are working full-time outside of the home and would like a smaller, more home-like environment for your child, this may be a solution for you. The provider may not have any formal training or education, and many don’t have a backup if they are sick, take holiday or vacation.
Independent child care provider
A service like OndeCare can provide you with a professional that would fit into many of the other types of providers such as babysitters, au pairs, and nannies. The benefit of using a company like OndeCare is that the background check and vetting is done for you. A professional care provider can be used for long-term daily use or for as-needed backup solutions like when your child is home sick or your regular care provider is off duty. You are still given the option to handpick the provider that will be coming into your home to work with you and your children. The care provider's profiles include references, reviews, a biography, and a video for your review.
Washington DC, Northern Virginia and Maryland In‑Home Childcare from OndeCare
What is the best childcare for your family?
Each family has different needs and will choose an option that suits them best for that stage in their life. As needs and desires change, you can always revisit what arrangement would work best for you at this stage. If one doesn’t work out, you can search for a different option. If the decision feels monumental or overwhelming try to keep in mind that you are deciding for where you are right now, not forever.
4.9 out of 5 stars.
Maria was absolutely amazing! She instantly bonded with my father and immediately took care of his needs. She engaged him in conversation and made him feel alive and whole. She went above and beyond to care for him. She surpassed my expectations at such short notice. She's God sent and I highly recommend her to care for your loved one.
Leigh is very friendly and conscientious. Our mom enjoys Leigh's company and we appreciate that our mom is getting excellent care.
Ms. T gives great care to my boys. I am so happy that we chose each other
Patricia is very kind and professional. My husband was comfortable with her and so was I. She is experienced and took care of my husband with planning and critical thinking. We will definitely be happy to have her return to us to provide care. Thank you.
Great work! Betty is super thorough and goes above and beyond to do her best. I'll be working with Betty again!
Stefana was awesome. She listened to my instructions I left to a T. She played games with my kids. Took my daughter to and from a play date. When I came in they were watching a nature show and talking about animals.
Very patient and nice. Works well with my son. Will book again in the future if available.
Aukia did a fantastic job! You can tell she has a strong education background because she took time out of the day to do some lessons with my kids, including learning the days of the week! Would absolutely book again.
I’m so glad Zachary had a fun day with Latonya. She was great and it really made my life easier to know he was in great hands this week.
Artrez is wonderful! Punctual, friendly, and my kids loved him. He went above and beyond (cleaning and creating entertaining activities for the kids). Highly recommend!
Toni was a great help, very patient with my Mom. Positive vibe overall. Thank you for the great work.
Really appreciated her willingness to adapt to our last minute changes. Took well to the kids and assisted with care
Anwar was amazing!
Kelsey was super communicative, on time, and asked great questions to make sure she provided good care for our daughter. She definitely had a lot of experience with infants and really kept her cool when the baby was losing it.
Cori is great! She arrived on time, with short notice. She was very kind and patient with my child as well as my nervous pup. Super friendly, professional and helpful. Highly recommended!!
Patricia is kind , caring , fun and responsible with our special needs son . He looks forward to seeing her. So happy to have met :)
OndeCare served its exact purpose for me yesterday. I woke up sick at 5.30 AM, booked Adailia at 7 AM, and she was here at 9 AM to save me (and take care of my twin infants).
Shertarra was great! She is very conscientious and made herself available at very short notice, even on Christmas Day!
Patricia is great! Very knowledgeable, kind/caring, capable, and easy to get along with - it would be hard to find anyone better.
Christina has been an absolute Godsend for us. She is doing a phenomenal job and we're actually going to see if she can help us out even more. We are more than pleased with her help!
Jessica is always the best ,reliable great care and excellent company.
Andrea was booked last minute & we really lucked out! She was warm, attentive and really made my parents feel comfortable immediately.
Jennifer has cared for my Mom and daughter. She is fantastic all around! She has a wonderful attitude and goes above and beyond with everything. I trust her completely to care for our family and I can't recommend her enough.
Overall I had a great experience and I am very pleased with Jaynine and I look forward to a nice working relationship. I have seen a lot of caregivers when I was in a rehab facility for three months and I am now able to judge their character, Jaynine made a great impression on me.
Cherita did a wonderful job taking care of my Mom. She was prompt, professional and quickly learned the morning routine. She related well to my Mom and we look forward to having her come back.
Nicole was wonderful! She was on time and understood the need for PPE. She was willing to enthusiastically do anything I asked her to do, and her medical knowledge was invaluable. Great job Nicole!!
Chereve was fantastic with our son! She showed up early, was fantastic with my four year old when he wasn’t feeling well. My son said he loved her!
Heaven did a phenomenal job keeping my multiple kids well taken care of the entire evening. She played with them, made dinner, and cleaned up leaving everyone and everything better than when I left!
Amber was great. She arrived early and immediately engaged with our girls (19 months & 5 years) and managed bath and bedtime routine. She even took the time to clean our counters and then some. I’d definitely rehire and recommend.
Alice is becoming a fan-favorite here at Fellowship City Church! She is incredibly professional, but also very warm and welcoming. She's great with the kids, and always works well with whatever other childcare worker she is paired with. We can't wait to use her more and more in the future!
Rae was excellent. My son was happy & had fun. She went above and beyond to help me in tasks that are challenging bc of my health when she didn’t have to do that. Very thankful to have had her help. Highly recommend!
Marc is very upbeat and seems to be bonding well with my son. We are lucky to have him to help take care of my son
Shanelle cared for my boys over the summer and consistently went above and beyond what was expected of her! Both boys are very fond of her, and I was able to work and know they were safe and well cared for - an experience we couldn't get from daycare centers. I will absolutely be looking forward to working with her more in the future!
Manny is a great companion for our son. He is very cognizant that primary caregivers get the relief they need while his client gets the attention, independence and community interaction he needs. And just a really great guy!
Tracee has been great with our grandson. She is kind, patient, and very calming for his energy. She is reliable and very good with him. He likes spending time with her
Lee has done everything that I have asked of her and now I can breathe when my son, who has special needs, and requires constant monitoring for his medical condition is in her care. I can trust lee with his life.
Our four girls loved Aukia. She was fantastic and helped us out for portions of 8 days over a 2-week period. Very calm and comforting demeanor and engaging with the kids. Was always early. We would highly recommend Aukia and look forward to seeing her again.