Steps to Finding Good Child Care
1. Compile a list of child care's that you think may work for your child(ren). The easiest way to do this is to use local resources for your child care search.
2. Call the child cares and get some basic information. Find out if they have any openings, what age of children they serve, how much they cost, what their hours are, and any other critical information. (If you have found any web sites on these child cares you may be able to find this information there before you call.)
3. Eliminate any child care that won't work for you needs. (aren't open the hours you need them, etc.)
4. Call back the 5-10 child cares you think would likely best suit your needs and arrange a time to visit.
5. If possible, Make the first visit in the evening after the child care has closed. This is so you can ask questions, Check the place out and focus on finding out what you need to know.
6. Ask about the child cares policies. Ask if they have a brochures, or any additional written information they have. Thank them for their time.
7. Review the information from the child care's you visited and narrow down your list to the top 3-5.
8. Visit these child care's again, but this time ask if you can come during program hours when the kids are active. Bring your child along and see which one he/she seems to feel most comfortable at. Do not ask to visit during meal times, or nap time. That would be disruptive to the other children in care.
9. Ask any additional questions you have.
10. Call the child care you like the best and register your child! Some child cares charge a registration fee. Remember if you like a place let them know soon so the spot is not given to another inquiring family.
11. Continue to monitor the care arrangement you have chosen and make sure it continues to provide your child quality care.
12. If you have made appointments with other programs and do not intend to keep those appointment please call the providers to cancel. This is common courtesy.
13. Remember high price child cares does not mean quality, and low cost child cares doesn't mean quality either. If the child care is lower than the normal market rate ask yourself "why?" Sometimes saving a few dollars is more costly later when you find you are not happy with the program and have to search for a new one again. Programs have to charge a decent rate in order to stay in business. Providers do not get rich being in this business. It cost utilities, wear and tear on the home, supplies, food, paying assistants, different things required by law, taxes, which they pay all on their own, keeping the program up to date and safe. And the list goes on and on. So if the child care is charging way lower than the rest then why is that?
14. License vs. unlicensed- It's important to use a licensed child care program. Some families do well using a relative. Relatives do not have to be licensed. If you use a friend or neighbor and they are caring for other children besides yours they are required to have a license by law. Remember using unlicensed child cares is illegal if they are not following the one family at a time rule. Licensed providers are cleared through a criminal background system. All adults living the home have to be declared and cleared as well. No one can be licensed if they have a criminal history with felonies, abuse, assaults, murder, etc. etc. Minor infractions of the law have to be proven they are not a risk to others or children and have to apply for a letter of exemption. If a program is unlicensed and not willing to be licensed you need to ask "why" often providers running unlicensed programs can't get licensed, or adults living in the home can't be cleared. These programs will often take in way to many children according to licensing regulations. They charge lower rates but have a higher ratio of children in care which means unsafe conditions. There is a reason why there are laws that requires a child care to be licensed. Health and Safety being the primary factor.
15. $$ value. Before deciding on your child care make sure you are making this very important decision based on the program, provider, and most of all quality of care. Make sure it fits your needs and your child's needs. Do not base your decision on the tution fee. Base it on the quality.
Keep me home.....
Too Sick for Child Care
When your child becomes too sick for day care what do you do? Below is a list of do's and dont's to keep in mind next time you are in this position.
1. Have an alternative to your regular child care provider:
This alternative may be a daycare especially for sick children (sick child daycare), a relative, or a friend. Planning alternative care may prevent you from having to miss work and can provide peace of mind for both you and your child.
2. Inform your regular care provider:
Providers are required by law to take specific steps when they are notified about an illness. They may need to inform staff or parents so they can watch the other children for symptoms of the illness, take special care to sanitize or clean equipment or toys, inform the health department, etc.
3. Teach your child habits that will help her stay healthy:
This tip won't help you once your child is sick, but it may help in keeping your child healthy the next time other children are coming down with the flu. If your child is old enough, teach her proper hand washing techniques, not to play with toys other children have had in their mouths, etc.
1. Try to cover up your child's illness and send him to his regular care provider:
Don't send your child to daycare full of pain reliever knowing he is sick in hopes you can get through half a day of work before you are contacted to pick him up. Your child will have a miserable day as well as the staff who are trying to take care of your sick child. In addition, both the staff and any parents who observe your sick child will be upset that you have knowingly risked exposing everyone to an illness.
2. Make your child feel as if the illness is his fault:
Your child is already feeling bad because he is sick, don't make him feel as if the illness is his fault. If you are stressed or worried about your child and who will care for him, keep these feelings to yourself.
3. Blame your child's caregiver for his illness:
Unless you believe the caregiver is failing to take reasonable percautions to prevent illness in the facility, you should not blame the caregiver for your child's illness. Children in daycare will get sick from time to time (often more frequently than children who do not attend daycare). As long as the staff are washing their hands and following other state mandated sanitation and hygiene policies, they are doing their part to prevent illness.
HELP, MY CHILD THROWS A TANTRUM WHEN I DROP HER OFF AT CHILD CARE!
Some children race into their classrooms without even a “goodbye” to mom or dad. Other children whine, cry, scream, and cling to their parents’ legs. These children do everything they can think of to prevent mom or dad from leaving them. If the second scenario sounds familiar, here are three questions to consider:
1. Why is your child acting this way?
The answer to this question seems easy: “because my child doesn’t want me to leave them.” Why doesn’t your child want you to leave her? Is she just going through a phase of separation anxiety? Or is she scared that the big kid in her class is going to push her again? Talking to your child’s teacher (and your child if she is old enough) can enable you to isolate the reason your child doesn’t want to be left at daycare. If it’s her first week in a new child care arrangement or the first day in a new classroom, she may just need some time to adjust. However, if your child has previously been happy to go to daycare, there may be something specific happening at school or at home that has led to the change. If there are changes at home and home routines this can lead to a child acting out at drop off. If there is a specific reason your child is acting this way, you may be able to address the problem and stop the tears.
2. How do you feel about leaving your child?
When you drop off your child, do you act sad that you have to leave? Do you feel guilty about leaving your child in another person’s care? Children are very perceptive. Even a young child can tell if you’re not happy about dropping him off at daycare. If you have a positive attitude and talk about the activities your child has to look forward to participating in with his friends, he will be more likely to look forward to daycare himself.
3. Are your actions contributing to the problem?
Avoid prolonging your goodbye. Bring your child to his classroom, get him settled in, tell him goodbye, and leave. If he cries, don’t come back into the classroom as this just makes the goodbye harder. You may picture your child crying all day, but chances are your child’s teacher will calm him down quickly and get him interested in an activity within minutes of your departure.
Children also learn quickly how to manipulate their parents. If you have any negativity about leaving your child the child will pick up on that and play into it. Smile even if it breaks your heart...