Monthly Archives: March 2011

Daycare and Emergency Disasters

Daycare Art HouseIt is always important to have a disaster plan, and it is even more important to know your daycare’s disaster plan. At Decide on Daycare, we will help you talk to your daycare provider to be sure they have a safe and effective disaster plan in place. More important is that you know what this disaster plan is and can help them with it.

Why have a disaster plan for daycare?

Natural disasters are few and far between but that doesn’t mean that you should not be prepared for them. It can be devastating to be stuck in the middle of a natural disaster, separated from your children, with no idea or plan in place to make contact and assure they are safe.

As the recent earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan have demonstrated, natural disasters can strike at anytime and anywhere. Even if the disaster happens thousands of miles away, it can still affect you.

Make sure you speak to your daycare provider about their disaster plan. If they don’t have one, work with your daycare provider to create one for use in case the unthinkable should happen.

Daycare’s Disaster Plan

How to Prepare for Disaster
How to Prepare for Disaster

Where you live and when you use daycare will determine what kinds of disasters you may encounter. Some of the major ones you should think about are listed below.

Natural Disasters

  • Blizzards
  • Earthquakes
  • Fire
  • Flooding
  • Hurricanes
  • Ice Storms
  • Power Outages
  • Rock and Mud Slides
  • Tornados
  • Tsunamis
  • Typhoons

You should also consider a general disaster plan which will be the fall back plan should any of the ones listed not apply. Your general disaster plan should cover events that may not be natural or expected.

Though the possibility exists for different disasters in your area, it does not automatically mean that you should have a different plan for each one. Many of the major details of the disaster plan should be the same but you need to be ready for and prepare for each disaster that can happen in your area.

Some things that must be considered for all disaster plans are:

  • Contact Numbers – Each member of the immediate family should have contact numbers for each other. You should also pick one family member who lives out of state that your family can contact if your household is not together when an emergency situation occurs.
  • Emergency Information – Each member of the family should carry a card showing their doctors, what medication the person takes on a regular basis, chronic conditions, and any allergies they have.
  • Common Meeting Place – Designate an area to meet. If you have a child at daycare, decide who will pick up the child or if you plan to meet at the daycare. If you have children in different locations, such as one in school and one in daycare, decide which parent will pick up which child or if you will meet the other parent and pick children up together.

Reinforce the Disaster Plan with your Children

Lifeline Disaster Kit
Lifeline Disaster Kit

If you work with your daycare and their disaster plan you can modify your own home and family disaster plan to be similar to your daycare’s. This will help the children remember what to do in case of a disaster. There are many things that the disaster plans can include, but remember to keep what your child needs to know to the basics. You do not want them being confused in a scary disaster situation. You want them to act decisively off of simple directions. This could help to save their life and even the lives of those around them.

Be sure to rehearse these with your whole family and try to make sure that your daycare rehearses their daycare disaster plan as well. It might seem silly to have fire drills like they do at school and some work places. The fact is these drills save lives. So be sure to run through your disaster emergency plan at least twice a year. As soon as your children can walk on their own they can learn how to escape a burning house.

Make sure you have a disaster plan for your own home.

First Alert Household Fire Extinguisher
First Alert Household Fire Extinguisher

We have focused specifically on your daycare disaster plan here at Decide on Daycare but it is also very important to have a detailed and prepared disaster plan for you and your family at home. You should go into a few more specifics and make sure you are prepared for emergencies.

Make sure you show your children how to escape the house. Make sure they know how to escape their own rooms if they need to in case of a fire. Talk to a trusted neighbor and explain to your children that this is the neighbor they need to immediately go to if they can’t find their parents. Make sure that you have first aid kits, a fire extinguisher on every floor, and other emergency equipment on hand. Show your children how to use this various equipment as they grow up.

It may be hard to fit daycare disaster planning into your busy schedule, but as a responsible parent you need to find the time. With a little bit of planning you can save your child’s life and even you own. Be ready should the unthinkable happen. Hopefully you will never have to use your daycare disaster plan but you will be very thankful if you are prepared.

 

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Can You Be Your Own Daycare

daycare_chalkboardThere is so much thought and effort that goes into figuring out all the particulars of daycare that I think many parents skip right over the simplest question of all, “Is daycare right for our family?” Decide on Daycare will help you evaluate if daycare is right for you. It may be surprising how much of your income goes into paying for daycare while you are at work. More importantly, you may be missing the most crucial time in your child’s life.

Perhaps it’s time to take a step back and examine the situation from a whole new perspective.

The Social Cost of Daycare

Other People Raising Your Children

Daddy, Do My Socks Match?
Daddy, Do My Socks Match?

One major factor to consider is that your daycare provider will become a very influential and powerful force in your child’s life. This can be both good and bad but the fact of the matter is that this daycare provider will be a huge influence on your child’s life, and will aid in the raising of your child. Your child will spend 1/2 to 3/4 or more of their waking hours with this daycare provider. This means they will be learning, growing and developing under this daycare provider’s guidance. Do you have the confidence that the daycare provider will do a good job in this very important role? Do you think that as a parent, you have the confidence and knowledge to provide the proper care for your child in this fashion? These might be tougher questions to ask and even tougher to answer. However, no question should be off limits when your child’s well being is at stake.

Your Child’s Formative Years

Most child psychologists agree that the first few years of our lives is the most important to forge who we are and our attitudes, ideas and morals throughout adulthood. This can be so important and it is your responsibility as a parent to make sure these years are done right. Whether you choose daycare or not you must be sure that whatever your choice is, you are secure in the fact that whoever it is that takes care of your children do so in some sort of accordance with your own wishes. This is something that all parents must take on a bit of faith should they have daycare for their children. It is something that parents that take care of their children don’t have to worry about.

Forging Bonds That Last a Lifetime

Parent Handbook on Getting Children Ready for Learning
Parent Handbook on Getting Children Ready for Learning

The first few years of your child’s life will set them on their path throughout their life. These few years are also when they will cement their bonds with those around them. Many mothers and fathers choose to stay home during the early years of the children’s lives to make sure their focus is on their children. Time does go by quickly, and in only a few short years your baby will be attending school all day. Most parents have about a six-year window with their children and choose to focus on that, while putting a career on hold.

The Cost of Daycare to your Sanity

Can you be a stay at home parent?

If you’ve thought through the financials of this question it is now time to consider if staying at home with your children truly interests you. It is now time to ask one of the hardest questions that I think parents have a hard time answering honestly, “Can I be a stay at home parent?”

This can be a very tricky one to answer but you must look at it from every angle before you make the decision.

  • Can you be around your children 24/7 or do you need and enjoy a break?
  • Are you a parent that can have little adult interaction?
  • Do you have the ambition to stay at home with them?
  • Do you have the knowledge or can you educate yourself on all of the up to date parenting techniques and philosophies?
  • Can you become not only your child’s parent but their teacher too?
  • Will you be willing to have play dates with other parents and children?
  • Are you willing to put your career on hold until they are in school full time?
  • Can you put your career on hold?
  • Will your family have health insurance if you are not working for a company that provides it?
  • Will you resent your children if your choice to stay at home with them ends up impacting your chances if you decide to work outside the home again?

Being a stay at home parent is not easy, but it is rewarding.

School Starts at Home
School Starts at Home

These are just a few of the questions a parent needs to answer before the decision to stay at home can be made. It will be a huge change, but it can be a good one. There is something satisfying about having a career and leaving your children with qualified daycare providers to take care of them and prepare them for school.

However, there is also the option of being a stay at home parent. There is something special about being the one to see them through all of their early life’s milestones. There is a pride that comes with teaching your own child to read, to write, and to count. There is a bond that is formed with your children when you are their parent and their teacher. And there is also the peace that comes with knowing they are with the person you trust the most. Yourself.

It is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly but one alternative to daycare that many parents find rewarding not only when they do stay at home but are rewarded throughout their lives. You will probably work harder, longer hours as a stay at home parent. You will not get breaks or raises. You will not get any vacations. You will, however get a chance to bond with your children in a way few parents do.

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Is Daycare Right For You?

girl_in_grass_2There is so much thought and effort that goes into figuring out all the particulars of daycare that I think many parents skip right over the simplest question of all, “Is daycare right for our family?” Decide on Daycare will help you evaluate if daycare is right for you.

It might seem like a no-brainer but the fact of the matter is, with the cost of daycare, the decline in wages, and the expansion of urban sprawl it may very well be that you are only working to pay for daycare. Some new stay-at-home parents have found themselves looking at this option in a new light after finding themselves unexpectedly unemployed in a bad job market.

Perhaps it’s time to take a step back and examine the situation from a whole new perspective.

Financial Cost of Daycare

The Cost of Daycare Itself

You may be spending more on daycare than you think you are. If you’re spending $250 a week for an infant and $200 a week on a toddler, that’s 450 a week. If you calculate your monthly bill, that’s $1,800 a month, which means you’re paying $21,600 a year! So if you or your partner makes less than $22,000 a year, you are losing money by taking your child to daycare.

The Expense of Going to Work

Don’t overlook the cost of actually going to work and what it costs to have a career. You need to consider what it costs in gas and tolls, wear and tear on your car, clothes, shoes, salon costs, and other miscellaneous purchases. You need to also look at your food expenses. Do you buy coffee every morning? Do you go out to eat with co-workers? These can quickly add up to thousands of dollars more you spend a year just to have a job.

The Hidden or Secondary Expenses of Working

Stay-at-Home-Parent's Survival Guide
Stay-at-Home-Parent's Survival Guide

These can vary widely depending on your career. You may incur extra babysitting costs when you have to work late. You have limited time off from your job, so you may end up taking vacations during peak times where airfare, hotels and entertainment prices are at their highest. There can be many more examples of this type of secondary expense but it is important for you to consider these when thinking of the financial effect of daycare.

Take all of these into consideration and you can easily go through the equivalent of an annual salary of $30,000 to $40,000 a year. If you factor in long commutes, premiere preschool academies and a large amount of work expenses, and the cost can go to $50,000 a year or more. Take it all into consideration when calculating the total amount that working actually will cost you. It’s likely that you may be working just to pay for daycare.

This is just the financial aspect of looking at whether or not you should be a stay at home parent. In the next article Decide on Daycare will go into the social aspects and the more difficult questions to ask yourself.

In the meantime visit the Determining Your Needs for Daycare for a more in-depth look at the different daycare types and great parenting advice on what would be best for you.

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