What You Do Matters

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Yet again, parents have taken up sides in the mommy wars as a result of the media’s sound bite reporting on a child care study. “Study ties day care to some behavioral problems” was blasted across the news the other day, with some news broadcasters giving parents a clear choice; either you stay at home which may pose financial risk, or you and leave your child in daycare which could cause future behavior problem.

Are those my only choices?

I believe that what parents do matters more than anything else. Again, I find myself thinking that we’re asking the wrong question. The experts agree that a nurturing, quality day care setting would be beneficial to a child. So let’s provide more access affordable, quality child care. Provide tax incentives for employers to create job sharing, allowing parents to work part-time, which would require less time children were in child care settings.

Good day care is good for kids, while bad day care is bad for kids, but much like the education system, day care cannot bear the burden without including parents in the equation. What parents do really matters. One of the things parents do is to search for good quality day care, by asking the right questions.

Child Care Aware which has wonderful free publications they can send to you, or you can call their toll free number 1-800-424-2246.

The best way to find quality day care is through a recommendation of someone you know and to visit the day care facility yourself and meet with the director. You should also observe the setting. Children should look comfortable and happy in the setting.

Here are some good starter questions to ask. Please add your own.

1. Can I drop in anytime?
2. Are there opportunities for parent (or grandparent) participation such as story time?
3. What are your hours of operation?
4. What are the fees and what do they include? (Some facilities include snacks and lunch). Are there additional fees for music or field trips?
5. What is a typical day like?
6. What is the ratio of teachers to children? This will differ by children’s ages and must meet state standards.
7. What are the teachers’ qualifications? What is your screening/hiring process?
8. Do the caregivers receive benefits? (This question may seem odd, but if the caregivers have a good benefit package, there will be lower turnover, which is important to giving your child a more stable environment.)
9. What are your procedures if a child is hurt?
10. How do you work with children on behavior issues?

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1 Comment »

  1. Debbie Talavera said

    Some other questions could be, “Is there a nurse on duty?”, “Is the staff trained in infant and child CPR and first aid?”, “Is someone on the staff a licensed teacher?”, “Can I see the latest report from the department of health and/or updated license to run a daycare?”, “How often to you practice fire drills?”. If your child is a toddler or older, befriend the person they have become attached to. Talking to staff rather than ‘owners’ you find out more about the daycare, especially in a ‘for-profit’ center. Most workers in daycares are mothers themselves OR college age women who are working toward their degree in education. And one more thing — call the center as often as you like to see how your child is doing. Your child is the most precious thing in your life and you have every right to know how their day is going. 🙂

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