Child care is somewhat of an inevitability for many working parents. If you've got willing grandparents then you're one of the blessed few. For the rest of us, we're left on our own to go about picking the right child care facility. There are a few major red flags that you'll need to be on the lookout for. When you're picking your child care, stay alert and keep the following points in mind when making your choice.
Watch the Kids
The first thing you should look out for is whether or not the children look happy. If they do, then scrutinize how the staff interacts with the kids. In an ideal situation, the caregiver should be on the floor playing with the children or at the very least holding one in their lap. In their earliest years, babies need intimate, caring, interactive relationships with adults in order to thrive to the best of their ability.
In addition to the aforementioned loving interaction, commitment is another crucial aspect to a happy and healthy baby. Does your potential child care facility have a high turnover rate? If so, you'd be wise to think twice about sending your child there. Consider asking for a commitment of at least one year from the current caregivers. It might also be a good idea to ask the current employees how long they've been working there.
Have a frank and open discussion about parenting philosophies with your potential child care center. Do the caregivers implement scoldings or time-outs? Ensure that you and your chosen caregiver are enforcing rules fairly. How often is the TV utilized? What sort of sleeping schedule is offered? What sort of sickness symptoms prevent a child from attending child care? Additionally, what sort of backup plan is in place should the care provider become sick and unable to work? Feel free to create a laundry list. Communication is always important, and the more you manage to cover upfront, the less unpleasant surprises you will encounter later on down the road.
Get The Inside Scoop
You could've read every review posted about your potential child care facility from every corner of the internet, but the truth is that seeing is believing. Don't announce that you're dropping by and just show up in order to watch the facility while things are in full swing. Is everything still clean and child-proofed? Are older children sharing the space? I wouldn't use a child care center that lacks a place specified only for infants and babies. Older kids won't generally hurt the little ones on purpose, but they can 'love' them too much. Have you ever read 'Of Mice And Men'?
I often state how important communication is, but that thought has never been more prudent than when you're dropping your child off with what is essentially a stranger. Until your baby learns to talk proficiently, you'll be relying 100% on whatever the caregiver tells you about your child's day and vice-versa. When you drop your child off you should always inform the caretaker how much sleep your kiddo had the night before, whether or not he ate breakfast, whether or not he's teething.
This will assist in caring for them proficiently. At the end of the day you should ask a list of similar questions. When did he have a nap? For how long? How many diapers did he go through? What was his mood like overall? If the caregiver is unable to answer all of these questions, I'd quickly find another place that actually manages to keep tabs on my child's well-being.
This relates pretty heavily with the above point but if you have a problem with how something is done then you need to address it as soon as possible. Don't let resentment grow, and don't let the problem get blown out of proportion. The quicker you call things out, the easier it will be to have a discussion about it. If I don't like a certain snack my child is fed its far less awkward to address it the day it's discovered than it is waiting for months down the road. Always understand that as the parent, you have the final word on how your child is raised.
Trust Your Gut!
There's a lot to be said for parental instinct. Even if everyone in town is raving about a certain child care center, you shouldn't feel obligated to enroll your child there if something about it gives you a bad vibe. You don't need a specific reason because ultimately it is your decision. If you child can talk I'd certainly ask how they feel about it, but if they can't yet then it's 100% up to you to protect their well-being especially when you aren't able to be around.
Parenting isn't easy. Choosing someone else to do a bit of parenting on your behalf is even more difficult. Handing over control is always a risky prospect but if you stay aware and alert along with utilizing fair and open communication you're sure to find a place that is right for your child. Help out your chosen child care facility with our no-tie curly shoelaces and do your part to keep it smelling fresh with our grape scented shoe deodorizing powder!