There are few decisions that a parent must make that are as important as choosing the right child care solution. Whether that solution is a nanny or a day care center, it is essential that the child be placed in a safe and nurturing environment. The right choice will make both the parent and the child happy.
Here are some suggestions for evaluating child care options:
• Once parents have come up with a list of desired qualities, they should ask for recommendations from friends and family with young children. A local nanny agency is the next best bet if the parent gets no recommendations.
• Parents should be clear about what they expect their nanny to do when they start interviewing. If they expect the nanny to handle tasks such as cleaning the home, and laundry then they will need to keep this in mind as they go through the selection process. They should also consider factors such as whether the nanny will be expected to drive and whether they will be caring for a child with special needs. Naturally, they will want a caregiver who has experience with those tasks.
• Parents should interview the nanny in person. They should find out about their ideas on child care; for example, do they believe in reading to and playing with children? Once they have selected a few candidates, they should have the nanny interact with the child. There is no better way to evaluate their child care skills than to watch them interact with the child.
Choosing Day Care, Pre-School and Out-of-School Programs
• The first indication of a daycare’s quality is the ratio of adults to children. The lower the number of children in relation to adults, the better. They should ensure that their child gets a lot of attention.
• The caregivers’ qualifications are also important. Caregivers with certifications or degrees that relate to early childhood education may do a better job of helping children to learn.
• Facilities with high staff turnover may be stressful for a child. It is important to find out how long the staff have been working at the facility and whether they plan on leaving soon.
Parents should note that finding the right child care solution will take time. They should start looking early so that they have time to assess the different options available in their area. They should also stay involved once they have chosen a good child care solution; they will be working with caregivers to ensure that their child receives the best care possible.