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How do you choose your childcare?

By August 30, 2008 - 5:44pm
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I was wondering how any of you parents out there find child care if you don't have relatives around to help?

Do you put an ad on the paper, or in church or online? Do you pick students or mothers and do you check references?

Do you have safety tips or experiences that you'd like to share?


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There are actually some books out on this subject, that you could check out from your local library, too!

My advice is:

1. Talk to your trusted friends and doctor office. They may have a recommendation or two, as a good starting place.

2. Decide what type of care you are looking for. There are Montessori schools, family care, pre-school vs. daycare, in-home babysitters, etc. Do you want your child to interact with other children and learn from a curriculum? Do you want your child to have one-on-one attention from one adult with structured and unstructured play?

3. Check them out. As miscortes said above, reference checks, background checks, making sure the childcare facility is licensed and accredited with appropriate agencies. Talk with the Director and teachers. Visit often. Make sure the ratios of teacher:child is appropriate. Drop by unexpected, and at different times of day. Are there locks on the doors? How do strangers have access to building vs. parents?

My experience: After talking with many friends about daycares, and realizing after calling a few of these places that there was a 2 year waiting list for infants (is my baby still even an infant after 2 years?!). We did find a few daycares that had availabilities, and when visiting them, within a few minutes I had made up my mind: one place was dirty and kids were unhappy/hitting each other. The other place: cleaner, teachers were on the floor with the toddlers playing while other teachers were feeding the infants.

Of course, there is much more criteria than the above, but hopefully this provides a good starting place for you!

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has a website and information (another reason to ask your pediatrician; s/he may have some materials and "childcare checklists" you can take home with you):
- www.healthychildcare.org (AAP)
- http://www.aap.org/healthtopics/childcare.cfm
- www.acf.hhs.gov (Child Care Bureau: Child Care & Development)

These same online resources also have "babysitter checklists". Do you have a university in your town? If so, they may have many college students who are studying to be in the early education field, a pediatrician or NICU nurse who would love to babysit in the evenings or in-between classes.

I would make sure whomever you choose is also CPR certified and keeps up their certification regularly.

I do not usually recommend online magazines as good resources, but Baby Center, WebMD and Parents (and, probably others!) have numerous pages of suggestions and advice for parents looking into childcare.

Lastly, to find out if your childcare is accredited, you can ask your pediatrician/nurse for a list or directory, or search online (there is a national association for every type of childcare!). The Health and Human Services (HHS) office's Child Care Bureau has a lot of this information by state.

How old is your child? What type of care are you interested in?

August 31, 2008 - 1:57pm
EmpowHER Guest

I think this is the best advise I can give about this subject. Get a background check.

I do not have children, although I have two great nieces. About 3 weeks ago, my sister-in-law called me and was weary about her babysitters new boyfriend. She called me, since I have a background in investigations, and asked me to do a background check. Needless to say, the boyfriend was currently awaiting trial on a charge of child molestation under the age of 11. Of course, she pulled her child out of the care of the woman and also notified the police.

My best advise would be to check your local courts and make sure the person you chose does not have any criminal record, especially any crime against a child.

Every State has their own sexual offender databases that are publicly assessable and I would be more than happy to send you the links necessary to do your own investigating. Just let me know what State you live in.

You should also check any county websites that offer public records to see if there are any deficiencies in the persons background before choosing a sitter. You need nothing more than their name.

I will certainly be happy to help you in any way. Please feel free to message me privately or just post again and I will give you the information necessary to be your own investigator.

August 31, 2008 - 10:38am

Great question. My best advice is to join a local mom's club or organization, as they are the BEST collective resource of information for your local community. Many of them have babysitting co-ops, or have their own children in childcare and can provide recommendations.

If this is not possible, then visiting your local church and other daycare facilities is the next best thing. I'll write back later with safety tips and my experiences.

August 31, 2008 - 7:25am
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