As a parent, you have your hands full. Juggling work and family life in addition to your other responsibilities can be a daunting task. If you feel overwhelmed, it's time to reach out for help. Don't feel guilty or embarrassed for being unable to handle everything alone. Child care is a valuable asset for parents, and you should take advantage of it if you're able. Here are three child care options that can help you at different stages in your child's life:

1. Daycare

If you've used up your parental leave and need to get back to work, you'll need someone to watch your infant during the day. A daycare is the perfect child care option. The individual daycare you choose will have their own age guidelines that determine the ages they accept, but in general, you can send a baby to daycare once they're six weeks old. If you plan to send a very young child to daycare, make sure to do your research. Make sure the daycare is well-staffed and that it's equipped to handle your child's needs.

2. Preschool

Slightly older children who still aren't ready for kindergarten can benefit from preschool. Preschool is an intermediary step between daycare and normal school. It places your child in an age appropriate environment that is slightly more structured than daycare. This can allow your child to get used to the schedules they will need to follow in school. Preschool teachers will help your child learn. At preschool, your child can practice identifying shapes, coloring within the lines, and even sounding out letters.

3. After School Programs

Older children are in school for most of the day, so you don't need to find child care during school hours. However, some parents work late or have other obligations that mean they can't pick their child up right after school ends. If you don't want your child to stay at home alone, you can take advantage of after school programs. There are many different after school programs geared toward different needs. You can send your child to a play-based after school program if they only require supervision. If your child is struggling in school, they may benefit from an after school program that includes tutoring and homework help.

Parents of multiple children may require the help of more than one of these services. When you find a child care facility that you trust, you'll be able to rest easy knowing that your kids are in good hands. Child care is a great opportunity for your kids as well as yourself. It will give them the chance to meet new friends and experiences activities and environments that they otherwise would not have. Contact a preschool, like Kidstown Drop-In Child Care Center, to learn more.