The decision about who will take care of your child while you are at work is a very important one. Finding child care that has the quality and convenience you want, at a reasonable cost, will take time and effort.
Tips for selecting a child care provider:
- Ask friends and co-workers for recommendations.
- Conduct telephone interviews to narrow your search.
- Visit at least three caregivers or child care programs. Be prepared to spend at least an hour or longer at each one.
- Bring your child in to observe them in this setting.
- Check references. Ask for at least two parent references.
- Don’t settle. Keep looking until you find the right option.
Questions to ask when selecting home care:
- How long have you provided child care in your home?
- How long has the facility been in business?
- Are you licensed, registered or accredited?
- How many children is the facility licensed to provide for?
- What educational qualifications do you (the staff) have?
- Do you (the staff) have First Aid or CPR training?
- What are the hours of operation?
- What is the maximum number of children you will take?
- What is the staff-child ratio?
- How much do you charge?
- Do you charge for vacations (yours and mine)?
- Do you close during holidays? Am I expected to pay for those holidays?
- Can you describe a typical day at your home/centre?
- Do you provide snacks and meals? How do you plan meals?
- When and how long are children to have rest time?
- How do you handle toilet training?
- What child proofing have you done to prevent accidents?
- How do you handle emergencies?
- What is the policy on sick children?
- What supplies/equipment does the facility provide and what is the parent expected to provide?
- Is parent participation and involvement encouraged?
- Do you have an open door policy for parents to drop in?
What to observe during your first visit:
- Is the center/home well maintained and clean?
- Are toys and furniture suitable and in good shape?
- Are the bathrooms and kitchen areas separated and clean?
- Are there smoke detectors and a fire escape plan?
- Are the electrical outlets covered?
- Are children in high chairs strapped in?
- Is there a comfortable and safe place for sleeping?
- Is the day care well lit and cheerful?
- Does the centre/home have a fenced yard with some shade?
- How does the provider interact with your child?
- Are you happy with the number of children in the day care?
- How do the children interact with one another/with the provider?
- Do you see infants in a playpen or an infant in a swing for longer than a few minutes?
- Are toys developmentally and age-appropriate?
Questions/observations for in-home care:
- What is her/his availability?
- What are her salary expectations?
- What is her work experience and educational qualifications?
- How long a commitment is she prepared to make?
- Is she willing to sign a work agreement?
- Is she experienced working with babies?
- What does being with and caring for children mean to her?
- How does she handle crying? Discipline?
- Does she have a valid driver’s license and a car?
- Would she be willing to undergo a background check (e.g. police record check) at your expense?
- How does she interact with your child?
- Is she warm and friendly?
- Does your child seem to like her?
- Do you have a good feeling about her?
- Child care: Making the best choice for your family. Caring for Kinds: Information for parents from Canada’s paediatricians (2018). https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/child_care.
- Choosing child care. A guide to licensed and approved child care in Alberta. Retrieved October 1, 2018 from: http://www.humanservices.alberta.ca/documents/choosing-child-care.pdf.
- Essential Child care questions. Parents Magazine. Retrieved October 1, 2018 from: https://www.parents.com/baby/childcare/basics/essential-child-care-questions/
- How to choose good quality childcare. Childcare BC. Retrieved from https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/caring-for-young-children/how-to-choose-quality-day-care.
- Tips for Choosing Child Care. Parents Magazine. Retrieved October 1, 2018 from: https://www.parents.com/baby/childcare/basics/8-tips-for-choosing-child-care/
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