Tag Archives: babysitter

Needs That Match an In-Home Daycare

daycare_girl_reading_floorWhen considering daycare for your child, it’s important to keep in mind what you want in daycare.  You may find that in-home daycare is the best solution to meet your needs.  These daycares range widely in the type of care they offer.  Some are little more than a playroom in the basement or the kids are cooped up all day.  Others are highly structured with daily itineraries that plot out what your child will be doing.  Some include religious curriculum, and some often take the kids out during the day on various trips.  It’s good to have a clear understanding of what you need in the daycare and remember your priorities when seeking one out.

In-home daycare is often less expensive than a daycare center or a nanny.  This is often a driving factor in parents choosing in-home daycare.  However, being less expensive doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice the quality of child care.  Keep this in mind when you are searching for a daycare because the quality care of the care is very important.

Quality in-home daycares rarely have openings when you need them!  Therefore, it’s very important to get a good lead on enrolling your child in the in-home daycare of your choice.  Looking for a daycare really should be considered six months or more out from the time you’d like to enroll your child. If this isn’t possible, you should still be able to find someone, but you will definitely need to contact a lot of people.

In-home daycare providers offer personalized care for children that they wouldn’t get in a daycare center.  Most in-home daycares will have six or maybe eight children total.  The ratio for this is almost always better than the child to teacher ratio you’ll find at a daycare center.  Much stronger bonds between the daycare provider and your child will form. Many childcare professionals see this is a valuable and a source of happy and healthy child development.  This is a very important time in your child’s life and being able to forge strong bonds with those around them can help them considerably in the future.  This often helps children feel much more comfortable in this type of daycare.

Choosing Childcare For Dummies
Choosing Childcare For Dummies

In-home daycares often offer a kind of customizable care.  Having such a small group of children to look after, they can easily make arrangements to suit your needs.  They’re definitely an excellent choice for children with special needs.  Be sure to discuss any special needs and the combinations required with the daycare provider.  With the marked increase in child allergies in recent years, in-home daycare providers may offer a certain peace of mind.  This is because the provider is able to modify her menu, in-home snacks and be acutely aware of your child’s  allergies, which allows them to screen any snacks that might come in and to make other parents of the daycare aware of this.

Being less expensive than other forms of daycare, in-home daycare providers are the preferred choice for many parents.  Not only are they less expensive, they offer a type of customizable care that allows the parents and the children to feel more comfortable.  They offer custom care and often quality preschool so important in child development. The best ones are incredibly difficult to get into, but being a proactive, educated and well-meaning parent you too will be able to get your child into the care of your choice.

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How is the Nanny Doing?

daycare_center_teacherOnce your nanny is in place, you want to know she is doing a good job. But how do you know when you are away from the house all day? Some families turn to a “nanny cam”—a hidden camera designed to show you what goes on in your house while you are away.  Using a hidden camera with no sound is legal, but you’ll want to check the laws in your state regarding recording a person’s speech without their consent.

If you are considering a nanny cam, consider advising your nanny about it. Most providers understand the desire to know what goes on with their children when they are not around, they just want to know about it.

But you don’t necessarily need a hidden camera to determine how things are going. If your child is happy to see the nanny and is excited to tell you about the fun things they did during the day, and the nanny seems engaged and happy, it’s a good sign things are working out.  If she seems overwhelmed, exhausted, and unhappy, be sure to talk with her about it.

Here are some warning signs to watch for:

  • Your child seems anxious or withdrawn around the nanny
  • The nanny doesn’t talk about the day or her stories don’t make sense
  • Your childrearing requests aren’t honored
  • Change in your child’s behavior—any sort of dramatic behavioral change.
  • Your child starts using inappropriate words.
  • Your child starts showing an unusual interest in people’s private parts.
  • Any talk of secrets or keeping anything from anyone.
  • An excessive amount of scrapes, cuts, and bruises.

Listen to your intuition—if things don’t seem right, and a conversation with the nanny doesn’t seem to help, it may be time to look for someone else.

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Would a Nanny Be Best for My Family?

nanny_lakeOne option in your search for childcare is hiring a nanny. This option involves the most work—you not only have to find a caregiver for your child, but you are also hiring an employee and opening your home and family to this person.

When considering whether to hire a nanny, you need to determine if this form of childcare is best suited to your family’s needs.  Nannies are generally more expensive than in-home daycares or daycare centers, and nannies have a high turnover rate. But if you need childcare at odd hours, a nanny might be your only option. Parents who have children with special needs may find nannies are the most reasonable option. Parents who work at home may hire a nanny for a portion of the day while they work. A friend of mine had twins and was recovering from complications from the birth. She hired a night nanny two nights a week and said it was a lifesaver, because in those early days she was grateful for a little bit of sleep.  Even if your situation is more “traditional”, you may simply prefer not to take your child to a daycare.  The nanny decision is a tough one, since a nanny is a much more integral part of your life and your household than a daycare.  There are definitely more legal issues involved with hiring an employee to come to your home. You pay her paycheck, pay the payroll taxes, and decide on her benefits.

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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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Warning Signs in Daycare or Preschool

childcare_artOnce your child is enrolled in a home daycare, daycare center, or preschool, you need to be aware of the provider and the children. If the provider always seems unhappy, exhausted and overwhelmed at the end of the day, you might want to ask her about it.

Relationships between daycare providers and parents aren’t always the most comfortable. Sometimes they can get downright frosty. Oftentimes this is because the provider and the parent have different ideas about childcare. Hopefully it is something that can be resolved. The parent’s relationship with the daycare provider is important. If you don’t have an honest relationship with the person who is taking care of your child, you can’t trust that person to work with you when something goes wrong.

You must take action promptly when you suspect abuse or neglect. It’s something none of us wants to even consider, but you need to be on the lookout for red flags.

Here are some signs of trouble:

  • The provider never has time to talk to you.
  • Child is shuffled out the door when you drive up.  You should always pick them up inside.
  • You should be allowed to visit your child at any time. You should not be discouraged from seeing your child.
  • Change in your child’s behavior—any sort of dramatic behavioral change.
  • Your child starts using inappropriate words.
  • Showing an unusual interest in people’s private parts.
  • Any talk of secrets or keeping anything from anyone.
  • An excessive fear of going to daycare.
  • An excessive amount of scrapes, cuts, and bruises.

Talk to other parents, they may be stumbling onto something you do not know about yet.

Parenting is hard enough without having to worry about your child while you are at work. But no matter the great references or reputation, if you feel that something is not right, listen to your gut. It’s better that you be an overprotective parent than to have a bad situation continue.

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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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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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