What if the governments around the world did something to provide an incentive for mothers to stay home longer with their young children? And what if that same incentive actually helped solve the shortage of quality child care spaces?
Here’s my thought. Provide a way for moms to extend their maternity leave if they become part of the solution in providing quality child care. It might work something like this. Mothers who would like an extension to their maternity leave could apply and would be eligible if they can provide a safe space, care for 2 children who are not yet school age on a full time basis in their home (aside from the mother’s own children), and have some type of training or education in caring for young children.
This would create new free or low cost child care spaces. Then mothers with children under 5 years of age could access child care provided by other mothers who are being paid to stay home longer. Maternity leave could be extended an extra year or more with this system. The free or low cost spaces would be in high demand, yes, but it would encourage more quality spaces in family homes by real mothers with child care training. It would be a totally optional program but one that could be chosen for those who want to stay home with children a bit longer. And then when returning to work, those same moms who provided the care could have first option for the free/low cost child care spaces that are available in other homes. Make sense? Do you think this could actually work? I’d love to hear your thoughts.