One of the biggest and most important decisions that a parent makes is who will provide care for their children while they are at work. Finding the right childcare program or individual is stressful. There are numerous options that parents can consider for childcare. It is important that parents select the childcare provider that best fits the needs of their family. Here are some tips that can help make the process of selecting a quality childcare provider a little less stressful.
- Child Interaction
It is important that the child can interact with a potential caregiver before they are hired. This provides the parent with the opportunity to see how the caregiver and the child interact with one another. It provides parents with the opportunity to decide whether they can trust the caregiver to interact appropriately with the child.
You should also contact references for the caregiver. You can ask your friends and family for a list of caregivers they recommend. Parents should begin searching for child care the second they realize they are going to need it because affordable childcare is scarce. Word of mouth is always the best form of advertisement and getting referrals from individuals you trust can be one of the best ways to find a provider that fits.
You want to make sure that inspect any childcare facility you are looking at before you enroll your child into the facility. Make sure that licensed facilities have a safety plan in place. Look to see if there is an evacuation plan posted. You want to look at the overall cleanliness of the facility and check out nap and classroom facilities. You also want to take the time to observe how the staff interact with the children and how the children interact with one another to get a feel for what your child will experience during the day.
Make sure that you go over the policies for the facility. Find out what happens when the provider becomes sick. Make sure that they have backup options available. Find out whether you are responsible for alternate care if the teacher is sick. You also want to consider if childcare is going to be provided when your child is sick. Most facilities will not do this, but there are at-home providers that will. You also want to go over discipline policies. Find out what actions are taken when a child misbehaves and whether the disciplinary views of the provider coincide with your personal disciplinary views. If you plan on taking a vacation find out if you must pay fees when you are not utilizing the services. You also want to go over work schedules and find out whether the child care is going to be sufficient to meet the needs of the times that you need a caregiver for your child.
You also want to consider whether the facility provides snacks and meals. Most licensed providers participate in what is known as a federal nutrition program. This program reimburses the facility for food costs. However, they must meet the federal guidelines to be reimbursed. When you find a facility that participates in this program, it means that your child is eating meals that are nutritional while you are away.
- Final Considerations
There are a few final things you want to do before signing the contract. Make sure that you review all the fine print in the contract. Find out what type of background checks staff has been through. Make a few unannounced visits to the facility to get a big picture. Finally, make sure that you trust your gut instinct on whether the facility is right for you and your child.