Our 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.