If you are looking for child care for your kids, you don’t just want a good one – you want an excellent one. In order to pick out the cream of the crop, it’s a good idea to make a list of what to look for. Here is a checklist for your child care program search.
The First Phone Call
When you call a child care facility, program, provider, or whatever, here are some things to watch/listen for.
* What is the receptionist’s demeanor like? The person who answers the phone should be friendly, welcoming, and competent. If he or she is new, then the receptionist should be able to direct you to someone who has answers efficiently.
* Was the response to your call organized? A facility should have a plan in place for how new clients and visitors are treated. Did they offer to send you a packet of information? Did they invite you to take a tour of their home/facility? Maybe it’s as simple as taking down your name. The point is an efficient response.
As you make that first call, here is a checklist of things to mention/discuss.
* Find out the cost of child care, and whether or not there is any financial assistance available and if you qualify.
* How flexible are they? Is the child care they offer an all-day, every-day thing, or can you pick and choose when to drop your child off? If you are running late, what happens?
* How many adults are there per child?
* Ask if they have any accreditations at the state and/or federal level. Federal accreditations adhere to national standards that might be higher than local ones.
Your Initial Visit
As you visit (unannounced) the prospective child care facility, whether it’s a home, church, school, or elsewhere, consider the following.
* Cleanliness is important. Of course, no place can be neat all the time; but cleanliness is discernible even if there are toys on the tables and floor. You can see if there is dust, dirt, or areas that look like they haven’t been cleaned in a long time. If there is a kitchen, look in the refrigerator and at the appliances to make sure they are clean. There should be a dishwasher for sterilizing dishes.
* Are the kids happy and content? While it’s rare that every member of a group of kids is happy at the same time, you can get a sense of the overall attitude of the kids.
* What method of discipline method is used? Are you comfortable with it?
As you consider child care for your kids, you will probably come up with more things to think and ask about. Make your own list and don’t hesitate to bring it with you on a visit and keep it by the phone.