Category Archives: Infant

Situations with Other Children in Daycare or Preschool

Biting and Hiting

daycare_bullySome children may bite or hit. Their parents are generally just as horrified by it as you are.  As they and your child’s daycare provider or preschool teacher are working on the problem, it may help to realize that for children under 3, it is a way to communicate their frustration or wanting a toy from another child. It may take a little while for the parent and daycare provider to work through the issue with the child. If the child seems overly aggressive you will need to make a decision for the welfare of your child. Whatever you decide, handling the situation with grace and compassion will go a long way in the eyes of the other child’s parents.

ceep.crc.illinois.edu/poptopics/biting.html

Some situations require that parents of children in the same daycare discuss the issue.  This may seem awkward, but if the provider can help both sets of parents, as well as the children involved, come to a solution, it may lead to a better environment for all.

Bullying

We know bullying occurs in school-age children, but it may also appear in daycare and preschools.  It may not be constant, and it may not be to the degree that older children bully, but be sure to take your child seriously if he or she talks about experiencing this kind of behavior from another child. The first thing to do is listen and show love and support to your child. When you speak to your child, find out if there are certain times or circumstances during which the offending child begins bullying your child. Ask your child how he or she responds to the behavior. Perhaps you can offer some suggestions for your child to deal with the situation. It’s a good idea to talk to the provider about the situation. Perhaps he or she can offer some suggestions or let you know what the daycare is doing about the child if they already know about it.

Keep in mind; bullying shouldn’t be trivialized as “kids being kids”. This type of situation can be very harmful to the victim. Also, a child who is emerging as a bully can perhaps be more easily set back on track than a child who has been displaying the behavior for years. Early intervention for all children involved may save a lot of heartache in the future and is very important for child development.

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What to Look For in an In-Home Daycare

kid_blocksYou may not even realize what questions you’ll have when you set out to get daycare for your child. An experienced in-home daycare provider will be able to give the basic information that every parent needs.  The first question to ask is if they have any openings for your child’s age.  Even though they may be listed on a website or have been recommended by someone, there’s no guarantee the provider has an opening.  Just getting through this part may take awhile, but don’t get discouraged.  If the provider cannot take any more children herself, ask if she knows of anyone else who may be able to. Daycare providers are often members of local associations, so they tend to know the other daycare providers in the area.

After availability, you’ll need to know:

  • Hours (does that schedule work with your schedule?)
  • Weekly rate (do you pay the same amount regardless of if the child attends or not?)
  • When is the payment due?
  • Location
  • Is the provider licensed?
  • If you have a school-age child, is transportation to and from school available?

If the provider’s information is fitting your needs so far, you can get more specific:

  • Pets in the home
  • Does anyone smoke in the home?
  • Who else lives there, and are they involved with the daycare?
  • Will anyone else be helping the provider?
  • If the provider has an emergency, is someone else available to watch the children (even just until parents can arrive to pick up kids).
  • Is the provider trained in CPR?
  • How many children are currently in the daycare?
  • Discipline philosophy
  • Are there any preschool activities?
  • What activities do the kids do?
  • Do the children play outside?
  • Do the children go on field trips?
  • Are babies fed on demand or on a schedule?
  • Can the parents visit at any time?
  • If you have a baby or toddler, do they potty train? What method is used (does it match your own plan for your child?)

There are other subjects to consider, that are a bit more delicate, and are really more personal preference items:

  • Religion – how does the provider handle Christmas and Easter, for example?
  • Does the provider feel comfortable talking with you about your child, or other things going on in the home that may impact your child?
  • What does the provider expect from you as a parent?
  • What kind of food is served? What is a typical meal?
  • How often do they receive sweets or candy?
  • How much time will they typically spend watching T.V. or movies? What kind of programming will they watch when they do watch something?
  • Keep in mind, anybody who lives in the home or visits on a regular basis will be around your child.
  • Does the provider try to stay on a semi-consistent schedule?
  • What role does music/art/science play in the daycare?

If the provider has children of her own, you may want to find out of the provider takes the child to and from school or activities, and what she does with the daycare kids during this time. She may also have another family member that she takes care of, like a parent. It may be your child is in the car quite a bit. It is up to you if this is OK or not.

These are just some of the things that should be considered and discussed with potential daycare providers over the phone. If they match up to your needs it is time to schedule an in person interview with the provider.

Check www.decideondaycare.com for more information on what to look for an how to go about an in person interview.

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Finding Quality Daycare is Possible!

daycare_teetertotterOur daycare search was so extensive my husband built a spreadsheet for information regarding who had a spot for our child, how much they charged, their hours, and if they had preschool activities. After visiting or talking to someone, we filled out the “comments” section. This became full of comments such as “5 dogs-very noisy and smelly”; “lit candle within reach of children”; “seems nice, mentions Jesus A LOT”.

Before finding our very close to perfect provider, we had some interesting daycare interviews. One caregiver told us the kids mostly stay in one room in the basement of a bi-level home. She said they watched a movie every day and then cartoons when she was preparing meals or a snack on the upper level. I saw a spacious, railed deck and asked if the kids liked playing on it. She said, “The kids don’t go outside. They’ll stay in the basement”.  One house had an open basement stairway, with no baby gate or door, straight off the playroom area.  I tried to ask her about the stairs, but her teenage son’s music was so loud she didn’t hear my question. My husband called a provider to ask if she had an opening and how much she charged. She assured him over and over again that she didn’t drink very much. Of course, he never asked her about her drinking habits.

Needless to say our children never went to these providers.  We did sign up with a woman who seemed so perfect she seemed too good to be true. We were relieved and happy, and so discouraged from the previous interviews that we ignored many things that were going wrong.  When we couldn’t take any more, we realized we should have started the search again right away, no matter how painful it was. We learned that  you won’t know if the philosophy you discuss in the interview is actually practiced every day until you’ve started. The best way to approach a new daycare situation is in a “probationary” style. Give it a month or two…if you or the children are not comfortable with the new provider, start looking again. Even if your concerns seem vague or petty, listen to your instincts. An open line of communication with your child’s daycare caregiver is a must. If the problems are not resolved, remember that this is a business arrangement, and you have the right to do business with someone else. Also remember that there is someone out there who will be a good match for your family…you just have to keep looking.When we took our children out of that unsatisfactory daycare, we spread the word that we were desperate for a provider, and got a reference for a wonderful, experienced, and loving woman, whose rates were much more reasonable.

Remember, you are the advocate for your child.

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Interview with a Daycare Center or Preschool

magic_tree_2_smallAfter getting some information from the initial contact with the daycare center or preschool (see What to Look for in a Daycare Center or Preschool), you’ll want to visit the location. Remember that a lot of what they do is probably heavily regulated by the State: how they clean, how often, and even what cleaning solution they must use. The caregiver-to-child ratio is also regulated. So when you visit, try to pay attention to the teachers. Do they seem happy and engaged when they are with the children? If you are touring with the director, does the director treat the teachers respectfully? If the daycare center treats their teachers well, the chances are better they will have more patience with the children and the staff turnover will be less. After this initial impression, look around to determine the following:

  • Is the center clean and bright?
  • Are the toys mostly educational?
  • Does the environment seem warm and inviting?
  • Do you see normal safety equipment (fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, baby gates, outlet covers, etc.)?
  • Is the bathroom child-friendly? Are there stools for reaching the sink, is the soap easy to use, and are there potty chairs for potty trainers?
  • Is there an area outdoors for running, jumping, playing? Is there playground equipment?
  • Do the children have naptime? Is the area for naps quiet and dark?
  • Can the provider give you the names and numbers of some parents for referrals?

Most daycare centers and preschools alike will have take home packets with detailed information on the daycare center.  Make sure to scrub through everything they provide and write down any questions you have as you go through the preschool material.  Make sure to follow up with the daycare center about your questions on their documentation.

After you have visited, and feel comfortable, be sure to bring your child to visit.  Pay close attention to their reaction to the visit.  This can be a great indicator of how well your child will do at this daycare center.

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What to Look for in a Daycare Center

boys_readingDaycare centers can be as varied as the children they have in them.  Some focus on early child development, some on physical education while others work as a preschool to prepare your children for the years ahead. They can also range greatly in quality and price. In this article we will help you ask the right questions and know what to watch for. At www.decideondaycare.com we will help you with what to look for in a daycare center.

A daycare center is a good option for childcare, especially for parents with jobs that have longer hours or where it is difficult to take time off without much notice.  A teacher can be home sick or on vacation but the center will still be able to take your child. The downside of a daycare center is that different people will be working with your child. Daycare centers tend to have high staff turnover.

When you contact them, you’ll want to know if they have any openings for your child’s age.  If they don’t have a spot immediately, ask if your child can be put on a waiting list. After availability, you’ll need to know:

  • Hours
  • Weekly rate (do you pay the same amount regardless of if the child attends or not?)
  • When is the payment due?
  • What methods of payment are acceptable?
  • Do they offer any discounts (employee discounts for large area companies, discounts for paying a month at a time, sibling discounts)
  • Location
  • Is the provider licensed?
  • If you have a school-age child, is transportation to and from school available?

If the provider’s information is fitting your needs so far, you can get more specific:

  • What kind of security system do they have? Parents should have to check in at the front desk before going to the children’s rooms.
  • What kind of discipline do they use?
  • Are there any preschool activities?
  • What activities do the kids do during the day?
  • Do the children play outside?
  • Do the children go on field trips?
  • Are babies fed on demand or on a schedule?
  • If you have a baby or toddler, do they potty train? What method is used (does it match your own plan for your child?)

There are other subjects to consider, that are a bit more delicate, and are really more personal preference items:

  • Religion – how does the provider handle Christmas and Easter, for example?
  • What kind of food is served? What is a typical meal?
  • How often do they receive sweets or candy?
  • How much time will they typically spend watching T.V. or movies? What kind of programming will they watch when they do watch something?
  • What role does music/art/science play in the daycare?

You may want to search online for the daycare center, to check for news items regarding the center. Also check the Better Business Bureau:  www.bbb.org

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Interviewing with a Daycare Provider

girl_in_grassWhen you visit a potential daycare provider for your child, you don’t necessarily need a checklist. After all, you have already prepared your own home for your baby and you know how to spot the hazards in an environment. When you visit a friend’s house with your child, don’t you automatically move breakables and lit candles out of reach? If you are uncomfortable around someone, trust your parenting instincts. It may take some searching, but you will find someone suitable to take care of your child during the day. Here is some information on what to  look for when you visit the home:

  • Is the house clean?
  • Are the toys mostly educational?
  • What kind of preschool curriculum do they do?
  • Does the environment seem warm and inviting?
  • Do you see normal safety equipment (fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, baby gates, outlet covers, etc.)?
  • Is the bathroom child-friendly? Are there stools for reaching the sink, is the soap easy to use, and are there potty chairs for potty trainers?
  • Is there an area outdoors for running, jumping, playing?
  • If the child will be in the provider’s car, ask about car seats/booster seats
  • Is there enough parking for multiple parents dropping off or picking up children at the same time?
  • Can the provider give you the names and numbers of some parents for referrals?

The daycare should have a handbook. If a daycare seems promising but you’d like to go home and think about it, ask if you can have a copy of the handbook. It should be chock full of specific information including:

  • Fees for picking up the child later than the agreed-upon time
  • When the daycare is closed (holidays and vacations)
  • When the child will be sent home or cannot attend daycare due to sickness (usually a state regulation)
  • How contract termination is handled (how many weeks’ notice is required)

There are other subjects to consider, that are a bit more delicate, and are really more personal preference items:

  • Religion – how does the provider handle Christmas and Easter, for example?
  • What kind of food is served? What is a typical meal?
  • How often do they receive sweets or candy?
  • How much time will they typically spend watching T.V. or movies? What kind of programming will they watch when they do watch something?
  • What role does music/art/science play in the daycare?

Check into your state’s rules and regulations regarding insurance in the case of a car accident. In some states the owner of the car insurance must carry Personal Injury Protection insurance that will pay for your child’s injuries. In some states, your child must be covered under a health insurance plan, but the provider’s liability insurance may pay for the child’s injuries.

Interviewing with a Provider
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