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Childcare Options for Parents of Toddlers

August 3, 2013 by HealthyFamilies BC

two toddlers playing together at a table


Whether you're working, going to school or just getting out in your community, you'll probably need childcare at some point in your toddler's life.  

Here's a look at some of the options, with links to expert information and advice.

Licensed Childcare

Licensed childcare can be offered in a public building like a community hall, a church, a childcare centre, or even the caregiver's home. It often has set hours and cares for larger groups of children. If a staff member is absent, another caregiver can step in. Often children are grouped by age.

Licensed childcare providers have to follow specific rules. For example:

  • Staff must have certain education and practice qualifications.
  • The centre must have the right number of staff for the number of children.
  • Staff must undergo criminal record checks.
  • The program must be well planned and organized.
  • Space and equipment must meet regulations.
  • The food must meet standards.
  • Emergency plans must be in place.
  • No one is allowed to smoke.

Licence Not Required Childcare Options

License not required (LNR) childcare takes place in an informal setting - usually the caregiver’s home. LNR care is allowed for one or two children of any age in addition to the caregiver’s own children. Family care may have more flexible hours. Children can be of different ages. If the caregiver becomes ill or has to be absent, care may not be available. Sometimes the care may be stopped with little warning.

Childcare and Your Toddler

Ask the following questions to figure out which childcare setting will best suit your toddler:

  • Does your toddler like large groups, small groups, or one to one attention?
  • What kind of care suits your toddler’s temperament?
  • Do you think your toddler would like being at home? Near your home? Near your work?
  • Does your toddler like going out and being busy or prefer quiet time?

In Home Care

In home care is where you get someone to look after your toddler in your own home. This could include a grandparent or other family member or it could be a nanny, an au pair, or a babysitter.

There are advantages and disadvantages to in home childcare. Your toddler will be in a familiar setting, travel time is not required, and no special arrangements needed if your child gets sick. On the other hand, there will be a new person in your home. You'll need backup plans when your caregiver is't available. And your toddler may be upset if your caregiver leaves. 

For more information about childcare options and childcare subsidies, see pages 148-153 of Toddler’s First Steps: A Best Chance Guide to Parenting Your 6 to 36 Month Old Child.

Resources & Links:
HealthLink BC: Choosing Child Care
HealthLink BC: Group Child Care: Health and Safety

Ministry of Children and Family Development
Your local Ministry for Children and Family Development office or public health office can give you information to help you select a child care facility.
Website: Ministry of Children and Family Development

The BC Aboriginal Child Care Society
A non profit provincial organization serving Aboriginal early childhood programs throughout BritishColumbia.
Website: The BC Aboriginal Child Care Society

Canada Revenue Agency
Administers tax laws for the Government of Canada and for most provinces and territories; and various social and economic benefit and incentive programs delivered through the tax system.
Website: Canada Revenue Agency

The Child Care BC Help Line
Provides information for service providers and parents on child care funding and subsidies.
Website: The Child Care BC Help Line
Phone toll free: 1-888-338-6622 (Child Care Programs and Services Call Centre)
In Victoria: 250-356-6501(Child Care Programs and Services Call Centre)

Child Care Licensing Regulations
Describe what is required of child care operators in British Columbia.
Website: Child Care Licensing Regulations

Child Care Resource and Referral Program (CCRR)
A source of information on child care in your local community.
Website: Child Care Resource and Referral Program
Phone toll free: 1-888-338-6622
In Victoria: 356-6501



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