The Secrets to Finding Great Child Care

Working parents all struggle with the need to find great child care. Parents are concerned that their children are well cared for regardless of whether the children are in full or part time day care.  While close friends and family members may provide some relief, many working parents are forced to seek outside help to care for children.  Here are some secrets to finding great child care.

Visit the facility

Whether a day care facility is in a home or commercial building, parents should pay a visit. While there is something to be said for unexpected visits, in most cases it is preferable to set an appointment.  Avoid going at “nap-time” if at all possible, since it may be helpful to see how children interact with the caretaker.  While the primary purpose of this visit may be to meet the caretaker, there are other things that a parent should review while there including:

• Number of children – before agreeing to place a child in a day care facility, parents should take note of the ratio of children to staff members.  Many states have specific requirements regarding how many staff members are available at any given time;

• Attitude of children – parents should observe how the children are acting while they are there. If parents notice that the children are unusually subdued or unusually active, this may be a sign that there is something amiss. Parents want an environment where their children are comfortable interacting with other children and caretakers;

• Safety of environment – reviewing the entire facility for safety features such as wall socket covers, gates and a fenced yard is critical. Parents should also not hesitate to ask about household chemical storage if the day care is in a private home.

Meeting the caretakers

Part of the visit should allow the parents to meet and interview the caretakers.  This can help parents feel more comfortable leaving their children.  Leaving a child in the care of a third-party is stressful enough, not being comfortable with the person who is going to be looking after them can cause an additional level of stress that is unwarranted.

Contacting other parents

Asking for references is critical to determining how reliable the day care provider is, how happy the children are in their care and to get an overall impression of the services that are provided. Parents should reach out to other parents who have children in the day care facility. This can help add to the comfort level and help a parent feel better about leaving their child.

Summary

Finding great child care is crucial for both parents and children. Finding a day care provider who is reliable and takes their job seriously is important.  Ensuring that children are well cared for while a parent is at work is not only critical to the child’s well being but also to the parent’s peace of mind.