Selecting a New Child Care Provider - Some Things to Consider
When searching for daycare, price and location should not be the only consideration.
Due to a move, I recently had the challenge of finding a new day care for my children. A difficult and daunting task for certain, but I wanted an arrangement that was the right fit for my family. This is a personal and very important choice, and not one to be taken lightly, because it's not a case of "one solution fits all." Something that works for a friend or neighbor may not be right for you. From private in-home, (think "au-pair" or nanny), to traditional day care centers (big or small), the options can overwhelm. I kept my sanity by reminding myself I wasn't signing a long-term contract. If things don't work out at my first choice, I can make another choice!
Evaluating Daycare Options - Some Points to Consider
- Go with your gut!
If you walk in and get a bad feeling about a facility, leave. After all, the most important thing at the end of a long day is your child’s health and well-being. If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.
- Children need to feel cared about in order to learn and grow.
You, the parent, are the best advocate for your child. You know their personality, their fears, their likes and dislikes. When visiting a facility, ask yourself:
- Will they allow your child to learn at his/her own pace?
- Do the children seem engaged in learning activities fostered by the caregiver?
- Are toys and activities rotated to keep things interesting and age-appropriate for exploring?
Questions to Ask On a Tour
Once you're comfortable with the environment, you need to dig a little deeper. On my tours, I closely watched the staff. I paid special attention to the staff/child ratio. Each state has standards relating to the number of caregivers per child, as well as other requirements. Familiarizing yourself with these is another great way to evaluate facilities being considered. Less children to each caregiver provides increased one on one time for your child. Also, check:
- Is the center licensed by the state?
- What is the director’s education and experience in caring for children?
- What training and experience is required of the staff?
I was able to choose day care services that fit within my means and ultimately met the needs of my children. I feel confident entrusting the care of my children to the chosen provider. It will take a while for them to adjust, but I am able to focus on my work knowing they are in good hands.
What did you find to be the most important factor when considering daycare for your child?
Return to "Blog"