This article was originally on GET.com at: 4 Childcare Options For Working Parents In Singapore
All parents hope to spend time with their children during their infant years, lest they miss out on the rapid growth and progress of their child. The fact is that most people can't afford to due to the high cost of living in Singapore.
GET.com proposes the following alternatives for working parents:
1. Preschool/Childcare Centre
Infant care services provide care for children between 2-18 months old. These centres provide childcare and educational services for children in a safe environment.
Childcare centres usually provide both half-day and full-day programmes, catering to the needs of parents. According to statistics from the Ministry of Social and Family Development, average full-day fees for childcare programmes were at $1,391 a month in 2014, and they are the preferred option for most parents.
All parents of Singaporean children enrolled in a childcare centre licensed by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) are eligible for a basic Infant Care subsidy.
The amount disbursed depends on the monthly household income and the monthly subsidies range between $300-$600.
If your total household income is less than $7,500 a month you may be eligible for an additional subsidy as well.
A nanny/babysitter arrangement provides more personalised care for your child as compared to the care provided in a childcare centre.
Some parents also prefer having a home environment for the child as illnesses and bacteria can become a concern in a centre where there are many kids.
It's best if you employ the help of a relative or someone you know, as leaving your child in someone's care requires a great deal of trust.
Depending on your needs, the babysitter can be someone who comes to your place on a daily basis, or you can drop off your child at the babysitter's house before going to work.
It can also be a freelance or ad-hoc arrangement. There are a number of agencies that help you find nannies, two of them are Just us and Find a Nanny. You can also get in touch with one through the Family Day Care Service.
Of course you can try to ask a relative to help out with childcare, grandparents are usually quite willing to help. In support of the family's effort to look after the child, the government will grant a Grandparent Caregiver relief of $3000.
3. Foreign Domestic Worker
Hiring a foreign domestic worker to take care of your baby while you're at work could also be a good solution. The initial cost of hiring one can cost up to $2000, while monthly salaries start at around $500.
Given that there can be many issues with regards to having a FDW caring for your baby (attachment, lack of trust or proper care techniques), you may want to think twice about it or use it as a secondary help.
To lower the cost of hiring one, check out the FDW levy concession.
4. Flexi-Work Arrangement
Nothing beats taking care of your own child if you can afford it. Companies are becoming more open to flexi-work.
If you are planning to have a child, look for a company which is supportive of such initiatives, or be a little more resourceful to find ways to earn an income from home.