How to Find a Good Childcare Provider
Looking for a childcare provider for your little bundle of joy can be a daunting task. Your child will be spending a lot of time, sometimes most of their waking hours, in their daycare.There are many wonderful women out there who provide childcare, either in their home or yours.
But your children are special. You need a good fit. You need someone your whole family likes. Someone whose parenting philosophies are similar to yours.
Here are a few things to think about on your search for that perfect daycare person.
First things first
Whether you are looking for an in-home nanny, a dayhome or a larger childcare centre, you will need a list of childcare provider's names so you can start interviewing.
If your city has a childcare referral service, that is a good place to begin. You can just give them a call and they will give you a list of childcare providers who have registered with them. The rules are different everywhere, but here in British Columbia, anyone registered with a Childcare Society has gone through a criminal background check, a home safety visit and a first aid course.
There are also some fabulous women who provide care in their homes, but are not affiliated with any childcare society. They may put ads in the paper, put up flyer's or get clients by word of mouth. Check references if you don't know them, of course. You can never be too careful.
Questions to ask
I have been doing daycare in my home for about 10 years. I know how important the interview process is when searching for a daycare provider. Here are the most common questions I get asked:
Do you have space? If she is a licensed daycare, she can only take in so many kids of certain ages. You need to tell her the ages of your children and also how much space you need.
If she thinks she can accommodate you, you may want to set up a meeting with her. You can see how she relates to your children and if your children seem comfortable there.
Or you could just ask when they can start. I have had a few moms just bring their kids to me without meeting me in person first. Usually it works out just fine. I'm in a small town, though. Perhaps they had heard of me. And they got my name from the Childcare Society. Anyway, if you are comfortable with this it is the quickest way to find childcare.
On to more questions:
What about discipline? You may want to know what happens if your child misbehaves and what kinds of behaviors are considered unacceptable. Hopefully whoever you hire has a written child care policy outlining their behavior and discipline policies.
How much? Do you get charged per hour, per day or per half day? This is especially important if you do shift work. If she charges per day and you only need care for a few hours, you will be paying for a lot more care than you are getting. You also need to know if she charges for missed days, sick days or holidays.
Is food provided? Lunches or just snacks? What's on the menu?
Are there outings? Will your child get to go to parks or playgroups during the day? Are there field trips planned? Is there any extra fees for this? Outside play is important for your child's health and development so you should ensure that it is incorporated into the daily program.
Who else is there? You want to know if there are any other adults in the home while your kids are there. You may also want to know if there are pets. You can also find out how many other kids your kids will be playing with.
I would recommend visiting at least three different daycares if possible. Bring your children along too. If your kids are old enough to have a say, ask them what they think. Find out which place they liked best and why.Then narrow it down and give one a try.
Remember, nothing is set in stone here. You can try someone out, and if it doesn't work out, just try someone else.
To make those first day of daycare run smoothly, check out this hub:
And now that you've found her...
How to KEEP the Childcare Provider of Your Dreams
So you have found that perfect childcare provider. She's reliable, responsible, great with your kids and your kids love her. But child care is a career with a high turnover rate. Low pay combined with high stress and low respect are all reasons I have heard from ladies who did not last long doing home daycare.
So how do you keep Miss Wonderful happy so that she provides care to your kids for years to come? Read on...
Pay on time and in full. Keep in mind that it may be a major expense for you, but it really isn't that much to make. Many daycare workers quit to find higher paying jobs. Or even low paying jobs with way less stress.
Call if you have a change in schedule. Realize that her place of business is also her home. If you show up early, she may still be in her pajamas when you arrive. And yes, this has happened to me.
Also call if your child is not going to daycare that day. Don't make her wait around all day for a child who is not showing up.
Pack appropriate attire for the weather. If she has planned an outside trip to the snow hill and your child doesn't have boots or snow pants, it kind of ruins it for everyone.
Send a fully packed bag. It's not your provider's responsibility to have extra diapers, wipes or clothes for your child.
Show your appreciation. Thank her and thank her often. She works hard for you, harder than you can ever imagine. Treat her kindly and keep her stress levels down by following the tips above. She will reward you with excellent care for your little ones.