Finding the right childcare can be a difficult and stressful task. Many instances of child abuse unfortunately occur in daycare and other childcare settings, where your children are supposed to be safe and protected.
Here are six tips to ensuring you find a safe, friendly, and healthy place to care for your child:
Familiarize yourself with childcare:
Before you even begin looking for childcare, research all the different childcare options. More importantly, familiarize yourself with the basic health and safety requirements for all childcare facilities. This will better prepare you when it comes time to picking a location.
Thoroughly research your options:
Once you have familiarized yourself with childcare types and regulations, it is time to find options in your area. Use trusted sites and resources when doing your search. If you are looking for a daycare, consider going to your states childcare resources site where you can find verified childcare, along with read more about each option listed. If you are looking for a nanny, go to a professional hiring service.
In your research consider the following:
- Are they trained in child safety?
- Have thorough background checks been done on all staff in the childcare facilities?
- What are their protocols surrounding bathroom breaks, adult to child ratios, and discipline?
Remember there are never too many questions when it comes to your child’s safety.
Visit the site/meet with the childcare provider:
After a little background research, it is time to visit your top choices. If you are sending your child to an onsite daycare, tour the site, meet with the staff, and ask questions. If you need help with where to start when asking questions, check out this checklist of your must haves for childcare.
Remember to choose what is best for your family situation:
Your family and children should be your priority when choosing childcare. It is easy to compare your choice to others, but each family has a unique situation and priorities to consider.
Many places offer financial assistance or volunteer opportunities to alienate some of the financial stress of the childcare. If you are in need of financial support talk to each provider to see if they have any assistance available.
Once you find your childcare, it is imperative you stay involved and continue building a strong relationship with your provider. Look for ways to check in with your provider about your child’s development, caregiving, and learning. If your child is old enough, check in with them about their comfortability at the childcare facility. Consider ways you can stay involved in the facility, whether that is weekly meetings, volunteering at events, visiting on lunch breaks, or just checking in with your provider at drop off and pick up.
Most importantly, if anything ever seems off, trust your instincts. Never put your child in a situation where you do not feel fully safe and comfortable.
Take a breath and start early:
We know this can be a stressful decision, so the earlier you start this process the better. Find a trusted support system to talk about your options and remember to breathe, reflect, and take your time to process your decision.