When faced with the decision for childcare, it can be very daunting. Do you try to get family to watch your child, an in-home sitter or a daycare facility? Our decision was already made for us since we were fostering, our daughter had to go to a licensed facility. Being this was our first child, I didn’t realize how far behind I was on finding a daycare for her when we got her at 5 days old. Almost all had wait-lists and instant panic set in. I was worried I wasn’t going to find care for her and I would have to take more time off work. When I did find a couple that had openings, we scouted them out and realized how unimpressed we were with the facilities. It is so important to find a sitter or facility you trust and feel like they genuinely care for your child. Here are some tips that can help you make decisions when deciding on care:
- Find out if the daycare does background checks on the teachers and support staff. You want to make sure they don’t just hire anyone. Also, ask if the teachers require or receive any training such as CPR or education classes. A facility who cares about your child will make sure the teachers receive training so they are better equipped to teach and care for your children. Same goes for an in-home sitter.
- Make sure you get a copy of polices and procedures. You want to know what they require for immunizations, how they handle sick children, diaper changing policy, hand washing policy, procedures in case of emergencies, and lost or injured child policy. This way you are able to hold the daycare accountable if you find they aren’t follow a policy or procedure.
- Open communication and drop in visits. Make sure the facility or in-home sitter and you are on the same page with what you expect for your child. Make sure they are open to hearing your thoughts and concerns. Also, they should be open to letting you drop in to visit if you so choose. This open door policy is nice to have and allows parents to check in randomly and know that the level of care doesn’t fluctuate just because a parent has shown up.
- Ask for the curriculum and food menu. You want to make sure they have a strong emphasis on teaching age appropriate material. There should be a variety of music, art, outdoor play, reading, and dramatic play. Making sure they are fueling the children with nutritious meals and snacks is also very important.
- Trust your gut. When you are touring and talking with the staff, listen to your gut. If something feels off, follow up on it. Don’t get complacent either just because you are used to going to the same place. If something feels off even after your child has started, follow up on it. Do not be afraid to ask questions and have tough conversations. When it comes to your child’s care, nothing is more important.
We did not know to do a lot of these when we first started looking at daycares. We have learned over time but are so happy with the level of care our child is receiving now. She has blossomed and we feel the teachers genuinely care about the children and teaching them. Every family is unique and you have to do what’s best for your family so no matter which route you go for childcare, make sure you do your due diligence. You want to know that your child is in the best care. It will make life so much easier to have one less thing to worry about. Please feel free to share some tips you found that helped you find a caregiver you were happy with.