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Infants » Child Care

Child Care Basics

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So you have to find childcare for your child?  It is a big decision and parents wonder how to make it.  Should it be daycare?  A paid home daycare person?  A family member?  With a little help, you can enter the world of childcare.

Start your search by reading this list:

  • Remember to put location and quality and safety first.
  • Ask about security and trained staff. 
  • Evaluate your options by asking other parents who have children in various programs. 
  • Ask specifically:

#1 Is the daycare or other arrangement “open” and welcoming to parents: Don’t wince, some center/homes have “closed door” policies and don’t understand that you intend to call, drop in, have lunch or breakfast or visit anytime.

#2 Is the philosophy stated, is the site accredited or regulated?  Can you see the records?

#3 How much priority is placed on clean-safe-happy-busy rooms?

#4 If you hear loud voices or crying (yelling) or children playing alone without adults playing with them, ask why?

  • Go visit a site you like more than once. 
  • Observe exactly what you see or hear. 
  • Listen to how children are asked to use the bathrooms. 
  • Look at how playgrounds are set up.
  • What are children saying?  What voice levels are they using?
  • What are children doing
  • Are they busy and using their hands and moving constantly?

Evaluate your options and list the pros and cons of each.  Then research the options that you think will work for you.  And there’s no need to wince – researching your options is less intimidating than it sounds.

  • Talk to parents in your area about their childcare arrangements
  • Screen prospective caregivers by phone, then interview the most promising candidates face to face
  • Spend time in the childcare setting and watch your child in that environment
  • Find out how childcare is regulated in your state, and check public inspection records

Trust your common sense  - never leave a child when you are getting “vibes” that are not positive.  A quality program expects parents to work together as partners, and to welcome any and all suggestions or comments.

When you visit ask tough questions “upfront.”

  • Set the tone by asking to see everything. 
  • Always visit during hours when children and adults are present.
  • Be alert to directors or leaders who are not actively engaged with children.
  • Look for state standards hanging on walls especially in office, hallway or kitchen.
Ask Dr. Susan