For one reason or another, you're heading back to work. Maybe your family requires two incomes in order to make ends meet. Or perhaps you've recently had a baby and maternity leave is over. Whatever your case may be, when both mom and dad work outside the home, quality childcare must be found. As any parent knows, it can be difficult to entrust your child to someone else. Choosing the best childcare for your child is a big decision that should not be taken lightly.
However, parents often spend more time researching what car to buy or where to go on vacation than where to send their child during their earliest formative years. Instead of doing research on their own, many parents go by what their friends say about various caregivers. But no you! You're going to do everything in your power to make sure your child is given the best, most loving environment away from home that is possible.
So whether you're seeking out a daycare, are considering a babysitter, or plan to go with a daycare run out of someone's home, what should you look for to ensure your child receives trustworthy childcare?
If you would like structure and socialization for your child, a daycare center may be your best choice. Get recommendations from friends on where they send their kids. Once you figure out which ones you're interested in, drop in unannounced. This is the best way to find out how friendly, safe, and nurturing the environment is. Take a tour of the center. Note its cleanliness, atmosphere, places to play, places to rest, quality of toys and stimulation, and the interaction of the caretakers with the children.
Important questions to ask a potential daycare include the following:
A daycare in someone's home may offer a personal, nurturing environment for your child. Often the hours are more flexible as well. If you are considering a home daycare, it is a wise idea to make sure the caregiver maintains a current business license and a report you can see. This will show you if the home has passed a state inspection, if the caretaker has undergone a background check, and if the provider-to-child ratio is below state standards. It is also important that the caretaker be trained in CPR and first aid.
Take a tour of the home to see if it is an environment that would be safe, nurturing, and stimulating for your child. Find out what other adults may be around your child regularly or not so regularly, and get at least two parent references for the home.
If you have more than one child, hiring a babysitter may be more economical as the rates will not double. A sitter is also convenient if you have an unpredictable work schedule, have a child with special needs, or if you are looking for someone who will watch your kids and do the dishes before you get home from work.
Someone you entrust your child to must have a clean record. Run a background check. Nanny.org lists companies that run checks. Additionally, interview your potential sitter to find out about his or her education, training, experience with children, methods of discipline, and how he or she would handle certain emergency situations.