Looking for the right child care for your child can be challenging it takes time and efforts in order to choose one fitting your child and your family’s needs. No matter what type of child care you need for your baby or child, you need to find a place where you and your child feel comfortable. Here we give parents some suggestions and reference on How To Choose A Daycare to help you find the best child care.
6 Steps for choosing quality child care
1. Start early and do your own researches
Start early as possible as you can since popular child care services have a long waiting list. No matter what type of care you are considering, such as a child care center, care in someone else’s home, finding the right child care option can take some time.
Make a list from online and offline resource by considering age ranges, hours and locations and narrow down a candidate list of some child care providers with contact information and address, which meet your child and your family’s needs.
2. Make calls and ask questions
Call your candidate child care providers, and ask the following questions we suggest.
Does this childcare focus on nurturing and providing quality care or does it have an academics component as well? How providers are trained? What types of enrichment activities do they have? Is there a schedule that is adhered to each day?
It is usual some of child care providers you like simply are not available when you are available. Ask about waiting lists and ask for putting your child on the waiting list if you prefer.
Child care costs
Once you have made your initial selection, you need to know the costs. Depending on where you live and the option you choose, such as, uniform requirements, food/snack or other type of meal requirements, the cost could be high than you thought. Weekly costs may depend on the age of the child, setting and situation, and could easily range from $75 a week upward to $300 or even more. Know your budget and what value and benefit your child will receive from the care selected. Ask whether the childcare provider charges extra if you pick your child up late. Some child care providers charge $1 for every minute a parent is late after closing hours. Others are more lax and a few may even offer parents a couple of exceptions due to extenuating circumstances. However, a few minutes are one thing; 30 minutes late is typically never acceptable.
How they handle part time hours and vacations? Some centers you pay for your vacation time to hold your spot, while others waive this after a certain period of time. If your child is out for three days due to illness or away for a week on a vacation, do parents still have to pay for child care?
3. Visit and ask questions
We recommend parents visit the child care options you are considering in person. See and make observation, and find out some of the key indicators of child care quality.
Adult to Child Ratio
Ask how many children there are for each adult. Usually, the fewer the children for each adult, the better for your child since your child may get more attention, especially for the younger child. Babies need an adult to child ratio of no more than 1:4, one adult for four infants, while four-year-old children can do well with a ratio of 1:10, one adult for ten children.
Ask about the caregivers’ training and education. Caregivers with degrees and/or special training in working with children will be better able to help your child develop and learn. Are the caregivers involved in activities to improve their skills?
It is recommended children can stay with the same caregiver at least a year. Caregivers who come and go make it hard on children to adjust. For children, getting used to new caregivers takes time and energy that could be spent on learning new things.
Meals and snacks served
Parents and providers may have different notions about what is a nutritionally balanced meal or snack. Parents must know that child care providers cannot tailor meals to individual children; however, particular requests to avoid and any food sensitivities must be stated and clearly understood, such as allergies. Ask about occasional treats, junk food, and food preparation.
Licensing requirements and regulations regarding child care providers may differ by state, but parents should confirm whether their provider is up-to-date. Day care centers often have additional credentialing options. Ask about any inspections and credentials, and what criteria is used.
Find out if the child care provider has been accredited by a national organization. Providers that are accredited have met voluntary standards for child care that are higher than most state licensing requirements. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and The National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) are the two largest organizations that accredit child care programs.
4. Make a choice
Think about what you saw and heard at each visit, consider those tradeoffs, decide your priority first and make the best choice for your child and family.
5. Contact to your child care provider
Once you pick your child’ care provider, contact to them as early as possible because some of the care providers with the best reputations often have the longest waiting lists. A few even start signing up infants as soon as they are born so they will be “in” by the time they reach a certain age. Therefore, if you are thinking about child care, contact the child care provider early. And, if there is no room at your top pick, get on the waiting list, and then find your second choice.
6. Stay involved
Early childhood care and education need parents and child care providers’ collaboration. You and your child’s caregiver should work closely in order provide your child the best care and education. There are many ways for parents to get and stay involved. Some of them are
- Talk to your caregiver regularly, and ask questions whenever you have a chance.
- Offer to volunteer when needed.
- Be there for your child’s birthday party.
- Join in special events, like field trips, Christmas party, or other holidays.
When you check in at drop-off and pick-up times, ask the caregiver how your child is doing. Visiting and participating in events at your child’s provider sends a strong message that tells your child and your child’s caregiver that you think what your child is doing and learning is important and you are doing your best to help your child develop healthily. Hope the information above on How To Choose A Daycare is helpful.
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