Searching for a Child Care Provider: How Should Parents Prepare
Finding a child care provider for your child can feel like a daunting task as a parent. Not only do you have to be assured that these child care professionals have been adequately trained, but you also have to be able to trust them. After all, they will be put in charge of watching over your child’s wellbeing while you are at work so it is normal to feel anxious.
Whether it is for your first child or third, as a parent the prospect of leaving your child under the care of someone else never gets easier. Having said that, it is important that when that time comes you are fully prepared. Once you have narrowed down a list of potential child care providers and have organized a tour of their facilities, make sure that you have a list of questions prepared to ensure they are the right fit for you and your child.
Top Questions You Should be Asking Before Signing Your Kid Up
There are seven considerations that all parents should keep in mind when choosing which child care providers they would like to send their children to, including school environment, program and curriculum, day to day activities, teacher to child interaction, and facilities.
Make sure that when you are preparing a list of questions that they all hit on the areas mentioned above. Unsure which questions are a high priority? Don’t worry. We have compiled a list of the top questions all child care experts advise parents to answer.
And remember, there’s no such thing as too many questions when picking a child care provider. In fact, we expect them!
What is the Daily Schedule Like?
As a family, you have a set daily routine and schedule that you have been following since your child was born. Now that they will be starting at a new child care provider, it is normal to be inquisitive as to what your child’s day will look like.
In most situations when you are viewing potential child care agencies, the educators and minders will walk you through a typical day of a child at their campuses. Depending on the age of your child, the conversation may be around when they take their naps, eat their meals or what kind of activities they will do. This is also the perfect opportunity for you to discuss any specific instructions or details that need to be known by the educators such as your child’s sleeping habits, or whether they can provide a daily report listing what your child’s activities were during the day.
How are Staff Vetted?
Knowing exactly how the child care provider vets their staff is another question that should be on top of a parent’s list when searching for a child care provider.
Safety will be one thing that will obviously be weighing on your mind and understanding the processes that the child care provider uses when employing new hires can leave you feeling assured that your child will be looked after by a highly trained and experienced professional.
Make sure to ask whether caregivers are certified in CPR and first-aid and whether they have a certificate in early childhood development or teaching.
What is the Approach to Discipline?
Each parent has their own rules and philosophies when it comes to disciplining their child. Some parents often can take it for granted that child care providers will be on the same page as them when it comes to discipline and forget to check what the discipline policy is.
Make sure to offer up hypothetical situations such as what would happen if your child was to hit or be hit by another child? Or ask questions like, “If our child throws a tantrum, what are your approaches to dealing with that?”. Sometimes, you may be able to tour the campus during working hours and observe how a teacher interacts with a child that is misbehaving.
What is the Teacher-to-Child Ratio?
Understanding classroom size and caregiver turnover can help you when determining whether a child care provider is the right fit for your family and will lead your child to feel happy.
Perhaps you already know that your child would benefit more from having one on one attention or would prefer to be part of a smaller group because they are shy. In most cases, you will find that the teacher-to-child ratio will be around 1:4 for infants and 1:6 for preschoolers. But it is always good to check in advance before you decide to enroll your child.
How Do You Comfort Children That are Upset?
No parent enjoys finding out that their child was upset especially when they aren’t close to comfort them. That’s why it is essential to enquire about how caregivers and educators interact with a child when they are sad.
As you know, most children instinctively ask for their parents when they are hurt or crying. Hearing what procedures a child care provider takes to soothe a child when they are sad will put you at ease that your child won’t be feeling distressed.
Are Meals Provided?
Not all child care providers will provide meals to your child. While most will offer snacks and refreshments to your children at certain times during the day, it may be expected that parents send their child to a provider with meals such as breakfast or dinner, depending on when you will be able to collect them.
Make sure that this is specified to you during your visit and ask them what their procedures are for meal times. Another few follow up questions you could ask here would be what kind of snacks do they provide and whether they accommodate for any food allergies or intolerances.
Are They Licensed?
If you only ask one question, may sure that it is this one. Any child care provider that you are considering must be able to prove to you that they can operate legally and have the proper documentation in order to prove it.
Most traditional ones will be licensed but it is good to make it the required first step when communicating with potential child care providers. Don’t worry about putting the provider on the spot either – this information should be readily available. If it isn’t, this is a big red flag!
Finding a Child Care Professional: Why You Should Always Schedule An Onsite Tour
Many parents will tell you that there is one thing that will make you choose one child care provider over another – first impressions. While dealing with potential child care providers over the phone may not give you the full picture, scheduling an onsite tour certainly will.
We always recommend that potential parents who are considering sending their children to Vivvi schedule a tour of our campuses or comes to an open house. We know that it can be hard to visualize exactly where your children will be and what routine they can expect without seeing the campus for yourself.
At Vivvi, we encourage all parents to come and see the Vivvi experience for themselves. You’re welcome to visit during working hours so that you can meet our educators and see exactly how we engage, inspire, and care for a Vivvi kid.