Childcare providers won't take the place of mom or dad, but they can provide a nurturing environment for your child. Choosing the right childcare for your child, however, is very important. Keep reading for some excellent information and advice on childcare, and as always, don't forget to leave your comments. We'd love to know what you think!
Types of Childcare Providers
There are many different types of childcare providers. While some may be more expensive than others, you can find good care for your child when he or she is away from you.
A baby sitter is usually someone who will care for your child on an as-needed basis. In other words, your sitter may not have a specific time every day or week that she cares for your child. For some, a baby sitter may only be used on an occasional night or afternoon. Some families rely on the same person to fulfill their babysitting needs. That baby sitter may be teenager or college student trying to earn some extra money. There are many new online services that now make finding a babysitter even easier. A good example of this new type of service is BabysitEase. They can find, qualify, pre-screen, and schedule babysitters. You can access their website at www.babysitease.com
Some people can't really tell the difference between a baby sitter and a nanny. However, a nanny typically has certain hours on a daily or weekly basis in which she is expected to care for the children. You can find a nanny by word of mouth or through an agency.
A daycare typically cares for children ages newborn to kindergarten. These childcare centers often care for a large number of children, so their staff should be sufficient in number to provide individual attention throughout the day. The daycare that you choose should follow your state's guidelines regarding the management and operation of a childcare facility.
In come cases, individuals provide childcare in their homes. In order to run a home daycare, certain state guidelines must be followed. The home daycare provider will only be allowed to care for a specific amount of children in her home. Be sure that your home daycare provider is adhering to any rules and regulations that have been set forth by the state.
While preschools may appear similar to daycares, they typically differ in a couple of aspects. Preschools generally won't accept children under the age of two. In many cases, a child must also be potty trained before he or she will be allowed to attend.
Preschools focus on education, introducing children to the alphabet, numbers, and colors. The day's schedule is usually structured around instructional time, playtime, lunch and snacks, and naptime.
Finding a Caregiver
Finding a reliable and trustworthy childcare provider isn't as simple as searching through your local phone book. Although you can start by looking at the various childcare options listed, there may be other avenues that you should investigate as well.
- Decide on the type of childcare you want for your child.
- Determine how much money you can afford to spend.
- Ask friends and family for recommendations regarding good childcare.
- Visit local daycare centers and preschools.
- Talk to your pediatrician.
- Check your state's listing of approved childcare providers in your area.
You wouldn't drop your car off at just any place to have the transmission repaired. Of course, you'll want to check out the qualifications of your child's caregiver.
While it isn't always necessary for the caregiver of your choice to have a college degree, you should expect her to have had some training in early childhood development, including first aid and emergency management skills. For preschools, however, the majority of the staff should have some type of early childhood degree or similar training. Don't forget to inquire about the experience of the childcare giver and/or staff as well.
Use the following checklist to help you in your search for the perfect childcare provider:
- Are the providers trained and experienced in working with children?
- Do the teachers/caregivers participate in continuing education training courses?
- Have they had CPR/first aid training?
- What do the facilities look like, both inside and out?
- Are the toys clean, in good shape, and age appropriate?
- How do the teachers greet the children?
- Do the caregivers seem happy to speak with or address parents' questions and concerns?
- Are parents encouraged to become involved?
- What is the teacher/student ratio?
- What type of daily schedule/structure will your child have?
- How are emergencies, illnesses, and behavior handled?
- How quickly are the children's needs met?