Can you name one thing that’s harder than going back to school or work after having a new baby? I can…. choosing a childcare provider. If you’re one of the lucky ones that have a family member watching over your little one, then that’s great! But, for the moms that don’t have that privilege, handing over your most prized possession to a stranger is probably the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do.
With all of the horror stories you see on the news about caregivers (teachers, doctors, dentists, all of them) either abusing or neglecting the children in their care, it’s almost impossible not to worry about what’s going to happen to your child. How can you be sure that your little one is getting the care he or she deserves? Well that answer is simple….You can’t 🙁 .
However, there are things you can do to see if the provider is a good match for you and your child.
- Take an unplanned tour of the facility. This should always be the first thing you do. All centers prefer you to call and schedule a tour ahead of time. BUT if you just show up unexpectedly they WON’T turn you away. Why? Because they want you as a customer and they know that once you leave, there’s a strong chance you won’t come back. Scheduling a tour gives them a heads-up and time to make sure that everything is in order and everyone’s on their best behavior. Without the advanced notice, you get to see the center in its natural element. Filterless.
- Pay attention to how the teacher interacts with the kids while you’re in the room. Tours typically include a visit to the classroom your child would be in. When strangers walk into a room, children usually go crazy and misbehave. Pay attention to how the teacher responds to them. Most likely she won’t start screaming or anything crazy because that would be reckless. However, if she seems irritated or frazzled, then she may not be the right choice for you. Kids get out of hand from time to time and it’s important that your child’s caregiver knows how to handle the situation. If she’s able to redirect the children’s attention while at the same time seeming unbothered, then she’s a keeper 🙂
- Look up their reviews online. It’s 2015 & Google is your bestfriend. Why wouldn’t you look up the reviews? These are written by other parents so they are usually truthful. This is probably the best tool you have to finding out the good and bad about the facility.
- Ask for a FREE trial day. Many daycares offer a free day, so that the parents can see how the child fits in. Take advantage of this. If a free day isn’t available, ask about letting the child be a “drop in” for just one day to see how it works out.
- Make sure there’s an open door policy. Any facility without an open door policy probably has something to hide. That’s just my theory…But seriously, it’s daycare not elementary school so you should be able to pick up your child whenever you please. You should also be allowed to sit and observe the class. If they’re doing everything accordingly, then what’s the big deal anyway?
- Pop Up Unexpectedly. My final tip is to show up announced. If you decide to place your child in a daycare, then you should pop up one day just to see what’s going on. Hopefully everything is going well, but this let’s the facility know that you are serious about the well being of your child.
Be sure to use these tips if you ever find yourself looking for childcare. Did I miss any key things to look for?
Like what I wrote? You can find me blogging about my parenting successes and failures over at diaperstopotty.com.