Choosing Child Care
Making the Decision
If you are considering a day home, you should do the following when making your decision:
- Ask about the caregiver’s health. If she is ill or has an emergency, who will take care of your child?
- Ask to talk to other parents whose children are there.
- Plan to drop in unexpectedly on a regular basis. Remember, day homes are not visited frequently by regulators.
If you are considering a child care center, you should do the following when making your decision:
- Check with your local child care licensing office for information about previous complaints against the program. See the Child Care Licensing Division Web site for details.
- Ask for references or to speak to current parents.
- Ask about accreditation. If the center is accredited, they likely maintain a higher level of quality.
- Plan to visit often.
Even after the best choice has been made, successful child care requires continued attention from parents. You should do the following to ensure your child’s continues to meet your expectations.
- Tell staff what they need to know to care for your child. For example, share changes in health or sleeping habits.
- Pay attention to your child’s responses to the program you’ve chosen. Listen to what he or she says about the staff and other children.
- Support your child’s caregivers. Child care is a partnership between parents and caregivers, so it’s a good idea to show your appreciation for the work done by your child’s teacher.
Making the Decision: The Bottom Line
Trust your instincts. Picture your child with the people. Would he or she be happy and comfortable here? If you don’t like the staff, your child probably won’t either. If it doesn’t feel right, you haven’t found the right place. You can find additional information about choosing care on the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) Web site.