I am a single mother. I don't have the opportunity to stay home with my kids, so I have to have someone watch them while Mommy goes to work. Most people choose any daycare to put their kids in. I, on the other hand, have found a way to significantly save on child care. I pay my grandparents to tend my kids.
First, I would much rather have my kids with someone that I know personally, and who better would you know than a relative? :) My grandma watched me when I was younger, and I think I turned out okay. My grandparents do an awesome job watching my children and they charge me significantly less than a daycare would. As my grandparents watching my kiddos is a job for them, I wouldn't even think of them doing it for free. They feed them and spend the majority of the day with them.
Let me rewind back to when I had my baby girl. My grandma was originally watching her while I worked. Then my daughter's grandma (my daughter's dad's mom) offered to watch her for free since she stayed home anyways. I gladly accepted, as that saved so much. As time progressed, my ex wasn't paying child support so my kids' grandma watching them was the child support in her eyes. I had no problem with that arrangement, as trying to get money out of my ex just.... let's say DOESN'T WORK. So it worked out great for us, and again the kids were with family, someone I knew. And what better way to spend growing up than with family? About a year and a half ago I think it was, their grandma's sister died and their grandma just couldn't handle tending the kids, as she was an emotional wreck. I couldn't argue with that. She just said she couldn't do it anymore, and they were going to be going to the funeral in California. I had no idea what to do! I talked to my friend's ex sister-in-law who I knew, and she said she would watch them for $150 a week. First, let me say that going from free childcare to $150 a week was a shock. Especially when you are a single mom. I had them there for I believe it was 2 weeks, and then the sitter said she was done watching kids, as they were moving into her mom's house. I couldn't argue with that. I was at a loss for what to do with my babies yet again.
I was talking to my grandma and she said to just bring the kids on over and she would watch them. Man, do I LOVE my grandma. Bless her sweet heart. She charges me much less than that now and, as I mentioned before, I think it is a much better atmosphere than just some day care. My niece and nephew are also tended by my grandma, so my kids have playmates and have learned to share and manage to be around others. My grandma also teaches the kids about cleaning and chores, as she taught me and my sister when we were at her house.
Another big thing that I believe in is if I do have to pay someone to watch my children, I would much rather have that money kept in the family instead of to a stranger (or even a friend). It just makes sense to me. I am not trying to make myself to sound like the good person here. Please don't take it that way. My grandparents are the ones who are the Saints. At their ages, they could easily say they have had enough and don't want to watch kids anymore. Thankfully they willingly have the kids there. I just feel better knowing that the money I pay helps them out in exchange.
In conclusion, if you have to resort to having others watch your kiddos when having to work, ask around to people you know. No, not begging. Just seeing if anyone is interested. And if not them, maybe they know someone who babysits? Just remember that it doesn't hurt to open your mouth. Well, sometimes... *grin*