Finding the perfect child care resources may seem like an overwhelming task because a lot of criteria need to be considered. Here are a few tips to help you find that special place for your child.
You want to make sure that your choice of facility is the right one, so that your child will be safe, stimulated and happy.
1. The type of child care
First of all, you have to ask yourself what type of child care is best for you.
+ Do you want an in-home nanny or babysitter?
+ A day care centre?
+ A daycare service set up in a home?
All these options have their own advantages, and you’ll have to decide which type of service you feel most comfortable with as a parent.
Think of your child: will he or she feel better in an environment with lots of other children their own age, or would they be happier in a smaller group? Would they feel most secure in their own home with a babysitter?
2. The location
Follow up your research by combing through lists of babysitters and day care centres located in the area you’re looking at. Such lists can be found through phone directories, online directories and public health centres or community centres.
+ Consider whether you want to be able to pick up and drop off your child near your own home or near your workplace.
+ What’s important is that morning and evening drop-offs don’t become a burden and upset your schedule, which is probably already hectic enough.
3. The first contact
+ Contact the sitters and child care centres that look as though they might meet your criteria.
+ A telephone call will give you the opportunity to get information about the spaces available, hours of operation and the employees. If you’re satisfied with this first contact, make an appointment to visit the place or the person and get a feel for the atmosphere.
+ This visit should include your child, as it is a great way to see how they interact with the educators and the other children. Be sure to take this opportunity to ask all the questions you can think of.
+ The person in charge of the child care centre will be able to answer all your questions concerning the educators’ training, meals and snacks, internal policies, the educational program and typical daily schedule.
4. The first days at the child care centre
+ So, you have finally found a suitable child care centre. However, the most difficult part of your job may be yet to come. It’s not easy for a parent to entrust their child to educators they don’t know, or hardly know. That is why child care centres often recommend starting progressively.
+ Your child’s first visit could be for a short period, accompanied by a parent.
+ The next day, your child could spend the morning or the afternoon at the centre and then, if everything goes well, he or she could stay for the whole day, including lunch and naptime.
5. Good communication is key to success
Good communication between the educator and the parent is often the guarantee of success.
+ In the evening, when you pick up your child, find out how the day went.
+ Good communication allows you to find out about your child’s learning experiences, moods and achievements over the course of the day or the week.
After a few days of playing and making new friends, your child might even be sad to leave their new child care centre!