Working mothers have the enormously difficult task of choosing a childcare provider. This article offers tips on how to find the place you and your child will feel most comfortable with. The more you know the easier the transition will be for both of you.
7 Things to Consider When Choosing Childcare
By Carol E Jordan
In addition to considering colors for the nursery and what type of stroller to use, working mothers also have the enormous task of deciding what kind of care provider they will select for their children. To a new mother, this task may seem all but unapproachable. How can you ever choose the provider good enough for your baby?
The following are some tips for selecting a provider.
How to Begin:
Get a copy of your state's regulations for child care facilities (often referred to as Minimum Standards). Any center you select will need to meet these standards at a minimum. Before visiting a center, keep these standards in mind so you know what to look for.
Generate a list of potential centers, and then call to see if they have slots available. Start investigating centers that look good. Making an appointment to visit the center gives the facility warning and time to prepare for your visit. It is best to find out a range of times that are best to observe the caregiver interacting with the children and then just show up unannounced during those times. This gives you the opportunity to see what things are like without a chance for them to prepare for your visit by cleaning up or being on "best behavior". Also, it would be good to visit several times so that you can get a good feel for the consistency and overall atmosphere of the place. When you are down to just one or two places, take your child and see how your child reacts to the caregiver/s and children. Using your own child's comfort level to make the final decision could be the difference between a happy transition and a troubled transition.
Ask to view the center's most recent inspection reports from the licensing agency, health department, and fire department. These reports will list any health, safety and standards violations the center may have been cited for during their last inspections as well as note any effort to correct previously cited violations. Many states require that these inspection reports be posted in a prominent area for three months following the inspection and just be available after that time. Your local licensing office would be able to tell you the posting requirements.