Tag Archives: preschool

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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Winter Playtime at Day Care

snow-at-daycareTime spent playing outdoors is very important for children of all ages. However, during extreme heat in the summer and cold in the winter, it can be unhealthy and possibly dangerous to send children to play outside. Here at www.decideondaycare.com, you’ll get some helpful parenting advise to make sure your child is safe and healthy.

It’s a good idea to check your daycare provider’s handbook regarding when a child goes outside to play, and what gear they need in order to be allowed to go outside. If this information isn’t in the handbook, you might want to talk it over with your daycare provider. Be sure to be clear with a babysitter or nanny. Oftentimes they may have different opinions and you want to make sure your expectations are clear.

Cabela's Kids' Waterproof Fleece Mittens
Cabela's Kids' Waterproof Fleece Mittens

As a general rule of thumb, it’s OK for children play outside when the temperature is anywhere above freezing, and below the early nineties. However, the temperature should not be your only consideration, especially when it’s cold outside. You need to know if the wind is blowing, if it is overcast or sunny, and what the forecast is for the day. When kids are outside playing in cold weather, it’s important to be ready to pull the kids inside immediately should the weather turn for the worse.

Even if the temperature is above freezing, you need to consider the wind chill and humidity. These factors can affect your child and make it seem much colder outside. It’s so quick now to check a news or weather website. A widget on your PC, laptop, and phone make it easy to keep track of the weather. These will give you information on temperature and possibly even wind speed. However most of them do not show the wind chill, so use the table below as a quick and handy guide to figure out if it’s OK for your children to be outside.

cold-temp-chart

Make sure they wear the proper clothes for the weather, at any time of year. You need to give your daycare provider extra gloves, a hat, and an extra set of clothes (including socks and possibly shoes). If you have an extra coat, and your day care provider has the room, you might even provide an extra coat for your child. You might want to toss a bag with an extra set of clothes for your child in your car so you are always prepared.

White Sierra Kids' Bilko Pants
White Sierra Kids' Bilko Pants

Keep in mind that children often don’t understand the dangers of cold and windy weather. Kid just want to go outside and play. Be sure to explain the dangers to your child so they can appreciate the dangers of cold weather. It’s easy to overlook the obvious, but they need to learn to handle weather appropriately. Teach your children to look for signs of having been in the cold too long, such as numb and tingling fingers, sniffly nose, and watering eye. If they are able to let someone know they have been in the cold too long, they can come in on their own before frost nip or frostbite sets in.

A great benefit to teaching them to take care of themselves in all weather conditions is that they can tell their daycare provider their needs. If they are visiting a neighbor or relative, or other situations where you might not be readily available, they may be able to correct their own situation or recognize trouble signs in other children.

Just these few extra steps can save a whole lot of pain and trouble, keep your child safe and insure a good and fun winter for everyone!

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Sick Child Parenting and Day Care

Day Care Digital ThermometerSometimes it’s difficult to determine when to keep your sick child home from day care. Decide on Day Care is here to help you with parenting advise about this decision that all parents must make.

Children can go to day care when they have a cold, but they shouldn’t attend with more serious illnesses. Your childcare handbook likely gives you a lot of information regarding unacceptable temperatures, conditions, and sicknesses.

It’s a good idea to have a plan in place for what you’ll do if someone needs to stay home with a sick child—know your workplace’s policies for these types of situations. Other parents truly do appreciate it when you keep a sick child at home, and don’t expose their children to illnesses more serious than a cold. Understanding parents also realize we can’t keep our children home with every sniffle, and honestly, shouldn’t. Getting a cold from another child is an inconvenience, but it happens. Getting the flu or strep throat from a sick playmate that should never have come to day care in the first place is something else entirely.

Children in day care with others do tend to get more illnesses than children who are not enrolled in daycare. Depending on the age of your child, you can teach some basics to help him or her stay healthier:

  • Proper use of a facial tissue—they need to learn how to blow or wipe their nose, capture whatever they get on the inside of the tissue, and throw the tissue away themselves.
  • Covering their mouth and nose with the crook of their elbow when they sneeze or cough, instead of with a hand. If they cough or sneeze into their hand, they need to wash their hands immediately.
  • Washing hands with soap and water, and for a longer time than most children do—it should be long enough to sing happy birthday two times.
  • Keeping their distance from kids who are sick and staying away from others when they themselves are sick.

If your child has vomiting, diarrhea, an unexplained rash, or a fever (usually above 100), your daycare provider will want him or her to stay home. Also, if your child is lethargic or is crying because of the sickness, he or she is better off at home. If you are concerned about your child’s well being you should also be sure to at least call your doctor’s nurse help line. Ask them if any further treatment is needed.  They can be very helpful to let you know what you should do for your child and if what your child has is contagious.  Remember it is always better to error on the side of caution when your child’s health is at stake.

Sometimes you will be called at work to come pick up a sick child. If this happens, understand the provider cannot keep your child at the daycare without risk of infecting the other children. It is best to try to get to the day care as soon as possible. Make sure you have let your employer know with as much warning as possible.

There was recently a very interesting study that came out regarding day care and illness. It is related to this subject and a very interesting article.

All of these things should help you as a parent get through these strange and often frustrating experiences with your child when they are sick in day care.  You will find a wide range of policies but they should fit somewhere close to this.  If you find that your day care has either too lenient or too restrictive policies regarding sick children you may look into another provider.  Too lenient and you can find you and your family being sick often when it otherwise could have been prevented.  Too strict and you may be forced to pick up your child with something as simple as the sniffles. This can be just as big of a problem possibly putting your job or other things at risk.

Use this parenting advice to gauge your own day care’s policies and what you think is best for you and your family. Ultimately, as so many other things, you must agree and be comfortable  with your own day care’s sick child policies.

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Daycare Research Spreadsheet

daycare-spreadsheet

When I first tried to find daycare for my children, I realized how difficult it was to keep track of my findings about each of the daycare providers, and it wasn’t easy to compare the different providers.

I learned so much information as I interviewed them over the phone. There were many questions I asked the daycare providers as I interviewed them on the phone: Does that daycare have a preschool curriculum? Did that daycare have any pets? What was the childcare provider’s discipline style?  Were there any smokers in the house?  What were their hours?  So I created a spreadsheet to track all this information I collected during the phone interviews.  I also collected information from the local United Way and other organizations that had information on daycare providers specific to my area.

Ecosystem Grid Journal
Ecosystem Grid Journal

This tool became invaluable. I realized I could look at different daycare providers at a glance and see which ones fit our needs better.  When I became tired of calling providers, my wife could see where I had left off, call more providers on the list, and fill in the information we needed. It was such a helpful tool for us, I hope that it can help you in your own search for daycare. The spreadsheet includes costs, extra fees, and some of the more common questions you’ll ask. There are also several places for miscellaneous daycare information for any specific questions you may have.

Download the spreadsheet and save it to your computer. Fill out as much detail as you’d like…I would suggest being very detailed.  You need to have enough information on the sheet to make a decision between many daycare providers.  If your notes are too generic it will be difficult to see differences between providers. Specific references to the conversation may jog your memory about the provider.  It is possible that you may need to return to your daycare search sooner than expected. If it hasn’t been long since you started, your spreadsheet will be very helpful to you, and providers who didn’t have openings when you began looking may have an opening six months later.

Make sure to have this spreadsheet open and ready when you start making your phone calls and start investigating the specifics of each daycare provider.  This spreadsheet can be used for preschools, daycare centers, nannies and even babysitters.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.  We would also love to hear any feedback you may have, including suggestions about items that we could add or change to make it more useful.

Good luck tracking down your perfect daycare! This extra effort will be well worth the reward of finding the perfect daycare or preschool for you!

Click here to download the spreadsheet. (This does not have any macros in it.)

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Daycare & Preschool Supplies You May Need

daycare-crayon-scatterWhether your child will be attending a daycare center or an in-home childcare provider, you will need to furnish some initial supplies.

You’ll need to provide at least one set of clothes. It’s a good idea to give your provider one “summer” outfit and one “winter” outfit, and an extra pair of shoes. Make sure the clothes can be stored with the daycare provider or at the preschool until they’re needed, and that you won’t miss them if you don’t get them back for awhile (or at all) .  Kids are very active and get dirty at daycare. Depending on the specific activities your daycare offers, you may need to provide a few other things such as a swimsuit, sportswear or winter weather gear such as heavy coats, gloves, and a set of winter boots.  If your child comes home in the extra clothes, be sure to wash them right away and return them to the daycare provider. You don’t want to leave your child without an extra set of clean and warm clothes.

Diapers

Luvs Diapers
Luvs Diapers

If your child is still in diapers you’ll need to make sure that the daycare provider remains well stocked with diapers and everything else you need for a diaper change:

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Diaper rash cream (many providers will require you to sign a permission slip)
  • An extra set of clothes (your baby or toddler should ideally have two sets of clothes there)
  • Plastic tub to keep everything in (if the provider wants one)

For babies, you’ll need to provide expressed breast milk each day, or provide the baby’s formula. It’s a good idea to provide some formula even if you are pumping—babies enter growth spurts without warning and the provider may use up your entire day’s milk supply before the day is over!

The daycare may keep track of feeding and diaper changes for infants. It’s helpful to see how much food your child is consuming, and when, and if they are being changed at regular intervals and having regular bowel movements. They should also note the time they go down for a nap and what time they wake up.   It’s also helpful to know about the basic mood of the child for the day, what kind of activities they did, if the provider noticed any progress with milestone activities (lifting head, rolling over, crawling, etc). It’s difficult to remember to tell the parent everything that happened in the day when the child is picked up, and many states require that the provider keep track of this information each day.  It’s especially helpful to have this information when you get home and realize you have absolutely no idea when your child will need to eat again.

Medications and Special Needs

Millions of parents have a child with some kind of special need.  You may need to provide medication or equipment and instructions on how to use it.  If you’ve contracted with a provider, you will have already discussed their willingness to work with your child’s needs. If your provider seems to be hesitant or having second thoughts when they begin working with your child, you may need to reevaluate whether your child should really be attending this particular daycare. Childcare providers today should be experienced with handling the more prevalent special needs, such as food allergies and ADHD. For less prevalent and more intensive needs, it may be a more difficult search. Regardless, after evaluating their own capacity and agreeing to take your child, they should be ready and willing to work with you, and keep you updated on how everything is going.

Almost all daycare providers will require you to fill out a permission form for any medications or treatments they will need to give during the day.   When you return the permission slip and the medication or treatment information, you may also want to provide a simple, typed explanation of the dosage or steps of the treatment. It’s good to have a reference to verify they are doing the right thing. In a daycare center, you don’t always know which teacher will be working with your child, so it would be nice for all the teachers to have access to the instructions.  Your providers should already be certified in first aid and should know how to handle allergic reactions, minor injuries or other common ailments with children.

It’s up to you to be clear with the provider regarding your needs as well as your child’s needs.  Tell them under what circumstances they should contact you.  Whether your child has allergies, asthma or another condition, be sure to cover the warning signs and what the provider’s course of action needs to be.  When you are contacted by the daycare provider during one of these times, keep a level head.  The daycare provider needs to know that you appreciate the honesty up front and contacting you right away.  Give them advice if they need it and thank them for letting you know what happened and for taking care of it.

Other Supplies

Sometimes daycare providers will have special projects and may ask the parents to bring something special to daycare.  For a fall project, you might need to have your child collect colorful leaves from your yard, or you might need to provide some pictures of the family for a Father’s Day present.  If the daycare provider has a rich preschool program, you may need to help keep the kids supplied with school supplies.

These things, like so many others, never seem to come up until you are expected to handle them immediately.  Hopefully this article will give you some insight into what is expected from you as a parent. Should your daycare provider ask for much more support, such as asking you to provide all a child’s food for child with a few food allergies, I would suggest looking for other daycare.  There are many quality providers who can accommodate your child’s needs.

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Daycare Features at a Glance

daycare_kid_mousingMaking the decision between a day care center, at-home daycare, and a nanny is difficult work. This chart shows some of the main features of different types of childcare. If you would like further information regarding specific items, please check the articles under Types of Daycare.

Child care Features

Daycare Center

In-Home Daycare

Nanny

Government regulations Yes Yes No
One-on-one attention No No Yes
Chance to interact with children of own age Yes Yes No
Multiple teachers Yes No No
Frequency of infectious illness Yes Yes No
Caregiver turnover Yes No Yes
Individual focus on special needs (food allergy, etc.) No No Yes
Flexibility in the child’s routine No No Yes
Extended hours of operation Yes No No
Backup care if a provider can’t work (vacation, illness, etc.) Yes No No
Personal relationship between parent and provider No Yes Yes
Possibility of preschool curriculum Yes Yes Yes
Budget-minded Yes Yes No
Supervision of provider Yes No No
Family privacy Yes Yes No
Socializing with other children Yes Yes No
Convenience No No Yes
Home-like environment No Yes Yes
Control over rules and values No No Yes
Employee taxes and benefits, living arrangements, etc. No No Yes
Chance to meet other parents Yes Yes No
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Assessing Needs For Daycare Center

daycare-kids-in-playgroundThere’s a wide range of things that you need to consider when thinking about taking your child to a daycare center.  Not only should you consider the needs of your child but you should also consider your own needs.  Make sure to keep in mind your budget, your work schedule and the kind of experience that you’re hoping to give your child.  Remember this is always a partnership between you, your child and your daycare provider.

One advantage that draws many people to a daycare center is their availability.  Most daycare centers are open Monday through Friday, 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM, year round.  Some even have longer hours during the week. They also can offer things like a once a month “Parents’ Night Out”, when they keep the children longer into the evening, giving them dinner and a movie.   A Something you may not even consider when comparing daycare types is that centers are usually only closed during the major holidays. In-home daycare providers or nannies will generally be closed or unavailable around major holidays, but also will have vacations during the year, sick days, appointments, and other scheduling conflicts, when you will need to find backup care for your child.

Daycare centers offer the closest facsimile of school which will make that eventual transition much easier for child.  Daycare centers also offer a myriad of other services.  So if you are looking for more than just daycare for child a center may be the choice that you want.  They often have sports activities, field trips and optional classes.

Choosing Childcare
Choosing Childcare

Daycare preschool centers are often more structured than in-home daycares.  If your child, like many, thrives on a very structured day, a daycare center could be the right choice.  They generally have a day to day routine that remains similar.  They will also have a daily routine that remains consistent.  Oftentimes reading time, craft time, lunchtime and nap time are usually started and completed at around the same time every day.  When your child has a structured routine this helps them feel more confident during their day and comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings with unfamiliar people.

If this sounds like what you’re for in a childcare provider, is likely that a daycare center would be right for you.  Daycare centers may seem the same but they often vary greatly on the specifics of what they offer or what their focus may be.  Some are religion-based, some academic-based, and some are activity-based. Make sure that you ask them the details of their day and what they focus on with the children.  If the focus of the center aligns with your primary goals for your child in daycare, you may have found the right place.

You’ll want to prioritize what you find most important in the daycare center.  Then when you are calling, and then later interviewing these daycare centers, you can compare them with your priorities.  This should give you the knowledge and information that you need to make best informed choice for you and your child.

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In-Care with a Daycare Center

daycare-kids-in-classIn our busy lives it is easy to forget the importance of staying vigilant after you’ve chosen a daycare center for child.  This vital and often overlooked step is very important in making sure you have quality daycare for child.  You’ll want to monitor the situation to ensure that the daycare center and your child are working out well together.

You definitely don’t want to question the teachers on a daily basis, spend an extra half an hour with them every time you drop them off, or be overly critical about the day-to-day activities.  But you do want  to stay vigilant and watchful for signs of trouble or turmoil within the daycare center.  Often if issues are spotted early they can be resolved easily and quickly.  Make sure to address them as soon as you see them and not to let any issues get out of hand.

It’s important to let your child feel empowered by letting him or her have control of some part of the daily routine. Don’t push them into anything they’re not ready for, but giving them decisions to make will help them feel like a part of the process.  It will really help the transition between home and daycare if your child feels that it is (at least partially) his or her idea. It’s a good idea to to stick to their routine as much as possible. Children like to know what to expect.

Ask the Teacher Specific Questions About the Week

Games for Children

It is probably too much to ask the teacher every single day for a summary of the day. However, you can definitely ask the teacher at least once a week how things are going.  Asking specifics and looking at examples of what they are doing will help to give you get a better idea of your child’s day at daycare.  Note your discussions and compare them with your priorities and what you’re looking for in a daycare.  Make sure that these are matching up. If they aren’t, raise the concerns you have with the teacher.  Most daycare centers generally have a daily plan for what the children will do, but they are generally unable to accommodate the individual needs of specific children.

Ask Your Child About the Specifics of Their Day

It is important, to ask your child each evening about their day. Ask them specific questions about the activities they were involved in during the day, about teachers, about other kids.  Sometimes it’s hard to get details but if they mention something, ask them more questions about it. This is very good and healthy for your child.  It makes them think about their day and what they liked about it.  This is a very important part of early childhood development.

Talking to your child about the day can also give you a good and accurate idea of what they’re doing at the daycare center.  Should your child mention something that sounds little suspicious, such as hitting, biting, coarse language, or any other strange behavior make sure to remain calm and neutral.  If you overreact, show surprise or anger toward your child when talking you’ll just cripple you ability to find out about their day.  You want to make sure that your child is always 100% comfortable with talking to you about anything.  Should something stand out ask more details about it, being careful not to plant any words, suggestions, or hints of the behavior you’re trying to isolate.  Once you have an idea of what might have happened in the center and the teacher didn’t discuss it with you, make sure to bring it up with the teachers, then the administrators if you need to.  Most daycare centers are highly regulated and required to report to you even the most minor incidents.

The “Drop In”

Any daycare center should allow you to “drop in” anytime.  I find this to be one of the most effective ways to get a true gauge of how the daycare center is run.  During interviews, drop offs, and pickups, the daycare center and its employees will be on their best behavior.  As a responsible parent for the well being of your child, you also need to be sure that these best practices and best behaviors are carried on throughout the day.

It’s best to give your child a few weeks before you have your first drop in visit.  You don’t want to drop in until your child is more comfortable in daycare.  If they’re still nervous or about daycare, your visit could cause quite the scene.  That is definitely something you do not want to happen.  The best scenario is if you are able to observe your child without your child seeing you.  This gives you the opportunity to see how your child interacts with the other kids, how they interact with the teachers and aides, and what a normal day might be like in the center.

I would recommend three or four drop-in visits spaced out about a month apart when you first start a daycare center.  This should help you to get a very accurate idea of how this daycare center runs and how well your child is doing within it.  You can keep up the pattern of visits but the first two or three are most important.  If you can avoid it don’t come in on the same day at the same time every month.  You don’t want them to get used to when you’ll arrive and prepare for your visit.  The whole idea of the drop-in is that they’re not prepared so you get a truer of the daycare center.

Drop-in visits are also a very useful tool should you suspect something is happening at the daycare center and you want to try to catch it happening.  The effectiveness of this visit will depend greatly on the amount of information you can get from your child.  You’ll need to find out if there’s a specific time, a specific child, or specific teacher that your issue might be with and make sure to coordinate your visit with that information.

The Virtual Drop In

Many daycare centers are employing technology to ease parents’ concerns in this area, by using video cameras in the classroom that the front desk or administrators can watch. Some daycare centers even give you the opportunity to watch streaming video of your child’s classroom over the internet, so you can keep track of your children at work.

Daycare preschool centers can be a great experience for you and your child.  They offer a wide variety of services and education, and grant you one of the most flexible daycare options.  It also gives your child good preparation for entering school. The larger classes and the more organized daily routines are the most like a school environment.

The quality of daycare centers can vary widely so be sure to stay vigilant.  They usually have a high turnover rate which means you may see a lot of different teachers for the children. Make an effort to welcome new teachers and pay attention to how your child is reacting to them.

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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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