Child care centers seem to be popping up everywhere, but not all are quality places to leave your child. So, how can you tell if a place is right?
Ashley Wiley is expecting a baby girl this October and she’s already started the search for a child care provider.
You need to start your search for child care much earlier than you probably even imagine. About the time that you’re telling all your family members that you are expecting is really when you should start looking for child care because there’s likely going to be a wait list. You also need to be prepared that you’re probably going to have to give a deposit as well so just know exactly what you have to do, but starting early is going to alleviate the stress down the road.
Angie Hicks advises, "Before you start your search you want to make a list of what’s important to you in a child care provider because there are lots of options. You can be at a center, you can be in-home, you can have a nanny coming in to take care of your child. Make a list of what’s important to you and then start looking for locations that can provide that. Also, be sure to go visit the daycare center, see them interacting with the children and don’t be afraid to have all your questions answered and make multiple visits if necessary because you want to be comfortable with your final decision."
Ashley says, “We have started searching for daycare options and it is quite stressful. I’ve looked at in-home daycares, I’ve looked at church facilities, I’ve looked at daycare facilities. Not really knowing yet what we are going to do. I’ve gotten quotes from all three, so we are still trying to make a decision.”
“We’re working for a combination of three things for a daycare: price being one of the things as well as safety for our child and also location," Ashley continued.
Finding someone to car for your child is probably one of the most difficult decisions that a parent makes. You want to make sure that you’ve got your child in a loving, safe environment. But in a recent Angie’s List poll, 20 percent of the respondents didn’t even check whether their child care provider was licensed or had the proper credentials and that is something you must do.
According to a recent Angie’s List nationwide poll:
- 19 percent of respondents said they used child care more than three days a week
Of those respondents:
- 36 percent said they used a day care center
- 12 percent who used in-home day care
- 5 percent who used a nanny or au pair
- Nearly 65 percent of the respondents who said they used child care also said they checked licensing and accreditation before hiring their provider.
Common choices for child care
- Day care centers: There are many choices for day care centers, including privately owned for-profit centers, church-supported programs and nonprofit community centers. Each type is unique in its own way. Parents must determine what works best for their family when deciding on care.
- In-home care: Many individuals offer day care in their homes. Some parents prefer the casual setting and the fact that home care often features fewer children.
- Nannies and au pairs: If they can afford it, parents may prefer having caregivers come to their own home. Nannies generally arrive at work daily, while au pairs live with the family. Au pairs usually provide child care and light housekeeping in exchange for room, board and a cultural experience.
Before you start calling around, create a list of qualifications – sort of like a job description.
Decide what qualities are important, the skills you want the caregivers to have, their level of education and how many years of experience they have?
Once you start the interview process, have your children there to see how the applicant interacts with them and watch how your children react, too.
With so much to consider, Angie’s List has compiled 10 tips to help streamline your child care decision-making:
1. Start early. Some of the best child care providers also have the longest waiting lists. It's best to begin your search well ahead of time.
2. Weigh your options. The type of child care you want should be the first decision you make. Child care centers, in-home providers and family care providers offer a range of services. It's important to determine what will work best for you and your child.
3. Make a wish list. Before you begin your search, list your expectations and preferences. Update or delete from this list as your perceptions change.
4. Know your budget and what value and benefit your child will receive from the care selected. Child care costs can be staggering, so consider your options and your budget carefully.
5. Visit the facility. Consider bringing your child with you to observe his or her interaction with the provider.
6. License, please. Know your state's licensing regulations and check that the provider qualifies with no history of violations. Find out whether the provider has accreditation from a respected authority. Providers