Leaving your little ones in the care of someone other than yourself is stressful. Whether you’re choosing to have a family member, friend, or child care center keep your children it’s important to make sure you’ve asked all of the important questions and covered all of the bases. Here are a few pointers to get you started on the path to finding great child care.
Visit the child care center or home
Take time to visit the potential child care site and observe as much as you can. If unexpected drop-ins are allowed, pop in when they’re not expecting you so that you’re able to see what state the site is in when they’re not expecting visitors. Observe the ratio of childcare providers to children, and ensure that each child is clean, safe, and given adequate attention. Dropping in more than once unexpectedly is a great way to determine whether or not a childcare center is run to your standards.
Take a look at the staff and how they interact with the children, the cleanliness of the site, and the environment. Look for potential safety hazards such as an unfenced pool, playgrounds near busy roads, or uncovered electrical outlets. Making repeat visits is important in order to make sure you haven’t missed any potential threats to your child’s safety.
Read their company policies
Anyone caring for children for employment, whether it is a child care center or an individual, should have a list of policies they follow. Policies should cover important topics such as discipline techniques, entertainment options, food and drink specifications, and requirements for individuals caring for the children.
If you find that something in the policies doesn’t sit well with you or your beliefs, it’s probably a good idea to move on from that facility or individual and keep looking. It may seem time-consuming to visit each center and read through their policies, but it’s a very important step in ensuring that your child is cared for at a level that meets your standards and expectations.
Research the center or individual
Do your own research on the child care provider without relying on their policies, or what they tell you to expect. Often times you can find reviews from parents and families that have used that child care center, or complaints posted on sites such as the Better Business Bureau or Angie’s List.
If it is an individual you’re considering hiring, complete your own background check to ensure that they’re trustworthy. Ensure that anyone watching your child is certified in First Aid and CPR, and is willing to abide by your emergency plans.
Leaving your child with a childcare provider is always a big decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Follow these steps to ensure that you’re leaving your pride and joy with a trustworthy and safe childcare provider.