How to Find Quality Daycare (Column Related)


Child Care Written In Kids Letters Stock ImageBy Stuart Miles via

Summertime is vacation time for some families. For others, though, it's the season to search for a great daycare before school starts. 
Quality childcare is not an easy thing to find. And, it's that awful part of parenting that none of us wants to think or talk about until we’re faced with it ourselves. 

Some would like to forgo it altogether.
For one, it's not cheap. 
For two, logistics can be a major issue. 
For three, how do we to tell if the one we choose will be the best?

When my first-born was ready for daycare, she was 6 ½ weeks old. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t ready. However my boss was. I got the call a little early and was dismayed that they needed me back so soon. So, off I was, on a journey to choose a babysitter (stranger).

I took two weeks to shop for the perfect daycare, and I felt grateful to have found it. Though I still wasn’t happy that I would be leaving my new infant all day (with a stranger).

Let me just stop for a moment and tell you that the woman who ran the day care had been doing it for umpteen years, was the mother of four, one child had just entered college, and she homeschooled the other three (she was no novice). Though, as a new mother, none of this helped me get over the thought of leaving my sweet baby all day with someone else.

You might consider daycare to be:
·      A babysitter
·      A Nanny
·      An Establishment, which actually carries the word 'daycare' in it. 
·      An aunt, grandma or older sibling

It could be any of those, but it can also be your neighbor, the teenager across the street, or your school's latchkey program. 

No matter which of these you choose to utilize, here are 11 important things to look for when attempting to find the right daycare (the 1st one is the most important):

#1 Gut instincts. Do you and the caregiver jive? (If you aren't   
     sure, go with your gut and keep looking.)

#2 Are they licensed (and do you care)?

#3 How is their fee system based?

#4 Do they provide meals?

#5 Do they have/teach routines (in my opinion, free play and education
     should be a part of every daycare's routine)

#6 Are they tech savvy? (Do they accept communications via text/email?)

#7 What are their policies on late arrivals, late pick-ups and
     holidays (this last one is important and often overlooked)

#8 Who else lives/stays/visits the household or what else is the
     center attached to?

#9  Do they use TV, computers or game units with the kids (do you
     approve of that and how much time do they spend on them?)

#10 Is the place clean and safe? Look for outlet covers, kitchen separate
      from play area, gated stairways, safe shelving, etc.

#11 Last but not least-does your child like the person/place? Bring them
      on the visits to see if they get along with the staff  and  other children.
       See if there are toys he/she is happy playing with. Watch the body
       language of your child and the staff's reactions to your child. 

Some people just get licensed in their county for the money (sad but true). They can receive easy money while they watch TV all day or surf the net. You are smartest to do your homework. And don’t be afraid to ask questions and request references.

When searching, don't forget that you can utilize 211 on your phone. This is a manned national informational number (just like those old fashioned operators- these people are always there) and they can offer you a variety of daycares in the county, as well as other local resources. But, they can only tell you what is listed in your area, they are not authorized to recommend a specific one for you.

For tips on the after school teenager watching kids and commonsense rules you should set for when Grandma comes over to babysit, visit my blog

Also check out the following websites and articles for more advice on choosing a daycare (my website has the direct links):

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