Don’t Leave Your Child With Just Anyone

May 30, 2010  |  

Day care can be a stressful place. Janet Overbrook, 29, found that out the hard way when she put her one-year-old son Joshua in a local day care center that came highly recommended by a friend. “I figured if she had her kids there, then it was a great choice,” she said.

Wrong.

The center was run by one woman who had no regularly scheduled assistants on hand, and on any given day she was responsible for anywhere from five to 10 children. Joshua, it turned out was the youngest child attending the day care center. “It was alot for him,” Overbrook recalls. “He was used to being solo at home with me and I always gave him 100%. It’s expected that he’d have to fend for himself a bit more, but I got the feeling that there was little or no adult interaction. It was wearing him out to have to fend for himself so much.”

A few weeks later, Overbrook thought things had hit a good stride until one day she went to pick Joshua up from day care and he had a black eye. Overbrook decided enough was enough and found someone better suited to care for her son. “Knowing that your child is happy and safe while you work or run errands is priceless.”

Day care is one of the most important steps in your child’s life, so here are some things to keep in mind when looking for a the best place for your little one:

  1. Do a background check on your new child care provider. Is the center licensed? What are the training and education requirements for the caregivers? What is the child to caregiver ratio?
  2. What are the emergency procedures if my child is sick?
  3. Before signing up with a care center, make a visit to see what a typical day entails. Are the kids generally having fun? Is there order or chaos? Is the facility clean?
  4. If your child has special needs–dietary, physical, emotional–will this center be able to accommodate your child?
  5. What kind of educational curriculum does the day care provide?
  6. What are the procedures for planned outdoor play or trips?
  7. What are the drop-off and pick up rules? Can I have a designated friend or relative pick up my child? What are the legal and financial consequences if I am late to pick up?

Other resources:
ChildCare. Find suitable child care and early learning information.
The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies. Locate local child care resources and agencies.
Head Start and Early Head Start. Early childhood development programs for children from birth to 5.

YMCA ChildCare. Day care and after-school programs.


Agencies that asses the quality of licensed centers:

National Association for the Education of Young Children
National Association for Family Child Care

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