How to Choose the Right Child Care Provider

Picking the right child care provider was so important to me when we were having our daughter. Even before she was born, my husband and I were touring centers and researching our options. With no family nearby, and both of us working full-time jobs, we had to rely on public or private care for our baby. Deciding on the right-center was no easy task. Interviewing directors and eventually coming to our decision was a full-time job. This is where you can click on find information about child care programs to make this process hassle-free. You will get the best ratings along with all the relevant information that you need when it comes to choosing childcare for your toddler.  

I can remember being torn between private care and center care. My pros with private care were that my daughter would receive more one-on-one attention, fewer children and less costly. My cons of private care were, in part, that not as many eyes would see what was going on around my child, I would have a more intimate relationship that could cause conflict if I voiced complaints, and the fact that other adults, I did not know as well, could have access to my child.

I can also remember being torn about center care with my pros being that centers had many more guidelines they had to follow, there were more roaming eyes to see what was going on between center staff and the children and if one teacher was sick it was up to the center to provide additional coverage so time off from work would not have to be taken. Then, the downfalls of center care were that my daughter would have much more germ exposure, much more stimulation, less individualized care, and more rules to follow.

It is very difficult to decide on what setting is the right setting for your child. Making sure you do your research by contacting the Department of Public Health in your state and asking for the licensing department for daycare facilities, speaking to an investigator, and finding out specific details regarding complaints at various centers is always a must. This helps you decide, as a parent, what complaints are worthy of your concern and which can be dismissed.

I can remember calling regarding our first center and finding out that a complaint was filed that a mother had not been informed ahead of time of the center closing. The center put a modification plan in place and more strict documentation was enforced to ensure compliance. This was not a complaint that was a worry to me. On the other hand, I contacted the Department of Public Health about another facility and learned that the infant room had been cited for improper sanitation procedures. Again, a plan had been put into place by the center working toward ensuring better sanitation practices. However, coupled with the fact that when I toured the facility, the garbage was overflowing and the floors were not the cleanest, I decided that this facility did not put a great emphasis on cleanliness. Now, that was a complaint I could not dismiss. Need-less-to-say, I did not choose that facility for my daughter.

It is always best to tour each center, unannounced, at random times of the day. Watch how staff interact with the children. Are the children supervised? Is play structured? Are procedures followed? Do all children have their own unique areas labeled with their names? Are they easy to discern? If a child is being disciplined, how are they disciplined? Is a child redirected in a positive fashion? Do the teachers appear overwhelmed or in control? Do the children seem happy and content?

As a parent, in the end, you have to trust your instincts. If your gut tells you the center or home is a safe and appropriate environment, then try it out. Visit your child frequently, pick your child up at different times of the day, ask questions and, where appropriate, demand answers. Never take anything for granted and know that, as in any profession, there are good employees and then fair employees. Speak up when you see something concerning and let the director or daycare provider know of your concerns. If appropriate, put your concerns in writing. If the center or daycare does not address your concerns immediately and to your satisfaction, then perhaps this is not the right environment for your child.

Picking the right child care provider involves a little time, effort and research. However, the time you spend upfront will be less time you will spend worrying about your child and beating yourself up about your choices. Picking the right child care provider is important to your child’s health and development. You only get one shot at being a parent and your child is only a child once. Make the best of it!