Are you or a co-worker getting ready to return from maternity or paternity leave and need to start thinking about childcare? This article can be used as a resource for helping parents successfully make the transition by knowing how to find a high quality day care or caregiver. We cover the fundamental qualities parents should look for when they go day care hunting and what to avoid. Equipped with this information your employees will be able to judge a quality child care provider!
Qualifications: Research the level of education and experience the child care center director and the employees have. A high quality baby day care should have early childhood training and hire employees with certifications in early childhood.
Here are some qualifications to look for: 1) High school diploma 2) Child Development Associate credential 3) Degree in Childhood Education or Psychology 4) Courses or training in Early Childhood Education 5) Center accredited by National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Interaction: When you are visiting a prospective care facility look for these key elements. Observe how the staff interacts with the children. Are caregivers interacting with the children by playing, holding, or talking to the children? You want the caregiver to be as loving, attentive and interactive as you are as a parent.
Dedication: A reliable day care has committed caregiver staff. Find out how long the caregiver has been working at the day care and how often caregivers are hired and fired. A consistent caregiver or team will learn strategies tailored to your baby’s unique behavioral and growth patterns. It is also important for parents to share their successful childcare tips with their caregivers.
Policy Check: Does your parenting philosophy compliment or collide with the day care? Learn about the day care's parenting values, disciplinary techniques, and supervision protocols. Your parenting values should align with the day care's. A day care with fair, positive, and consistent discipline action is highly valued, so your child has consistency. Seek day cares that promote consistent attention and focused responsibility on each child. A caregiver that has multiple responsibilities tends to distribute time unequally and can have a hard time developing a relationship with the baby. For day care centers the minimum adult to infant (2 years or under) ratio is 1 adult for every 4 infants. In addition, review the feeding, potty training, sick child, and emergency policies.
Communication: Find a day care that provides regular meetings about the caregiver's performance, the baby's behavior, and useful updates and information. Updates, feedback, and friendly discussions promote productivity and understanding about the baby's development and challenges. Also, it is important to talk about the methods that are working and are not working. Developing a friendly and respectful relationship with your caregiver is a great way to develop trust. Keep your caregiver updated and have the caregiver keep you informed about the baby's daily events and activities.
Appreciation: Recognize the caregiver's time and devotion to your baby. Caregivers will continue to practice good behaviors when you - the parent - praise the right behaviors. Positive reinforcement creates a healthy environment for the baby, the caregiver, and the parent.
Healthy and Safety: Find a day care that requires all care givers to have the pediatric first aid and CPR! The day care should also have an implemented emergency plan and consistent drills. Lastly make sure there are safety policies implemented that cover proper hand washing, safe furniture arrangement, proper exits, and sick child policy. And the facility is licensed to practice.
Specialty Day Care: There are also day care options that promote a skill or value important to parents. Don't forget to look into bilingual or language specific programs, like Chinese Language Day Care or Spanish Immersion Day Cares. Some religious organizations offer day care such as Temples or Churches. Your local community or recreation center may offer care, and can be a great way to meet local parents.
1. Child Care Licensing Programs through your state, here is California's: http://ccld.ca.gov/PG411.htm
2. Child Care Resource Center (CCRC): CCRC offers online child care search and helpful Quality Child Care Checklist. www.ccrcca.org/parents/finding-child-care
3. Administration for Children & Families (ACF): ACF provides child care resources, child care financial assistance resources, and a Head Start program in your community.http://www.acf.hhs.gov/occ/parents
4. Find Child Care in California: http://www.rrnetwork.org/find_child_care
Top Child Care Apps:
1. HiMama: https://www.himama.com/
2. Daily Connect: http://www.dailyconnect.com/
3. Child Care: https://www.care.com/child-care