What To Look For In Quality Childcare
In my daughter's four years of life, she's been in four different childcare centers. We've moved her because our guts told us it wasn't a good fit. We've moved her because of safety concerns. And we've moved her because we felt we just settled. Through all of these experiences, I've gleaned a lot of knowledge on what's important for my family when it comes to finding quality childcare. Here is what I look for in a quality childcare giver, plus some other working moms are weighing in on what's important for them when it comes to finding excellent care for their children.
It Takes A Villiage
I appreciate a caregiver who listens to our needs and implements change when needed. Like if we noticed on daily sheets that too much time elapsed between diaper changes when our daughter was younger, or working on making the toddler room more conducive for nap time.
PRO TIP: Teachers appreciate it if you chat with them first before speaking to the Director when it comes to less serious matters.
If you walk in on different days at different times, you want to see the same type of things happening from teacher to teacher. In fact, I recommend coming to pick up your child at a different time than you normally do. This will help you to see that the care you are promised happens no matter what time of day and if a parent is there or not.
A Big Heart
Children need affection and attention. It’s important for me to see teachers showing their hearts to my daughter. To me this means being sensitive to your child’s feelings. This means showing interest in the random things your child has to say. This ultimately means being a stand in for parents as role models in social and emotional health.
I’ve toured several childcare centers and I could tell right away, based on its appearance, if it was a good fit or not. A center that takes pride in how they appear shows they take pride in their work. Plus, with all those germs, you want to know the childcare center is doing all they can to help quell the spread of sickness.
I once toured a childcare center that had an unlocked front door and nobody manning a front desk. We still went on the tour because we made an appointment. We were told that if our child came before a certain time that we’d drop her off through a different door, which was also unlocked. We asked a question about safety and the director proceeded to tell us there has only been one instance of a random person walking in off the street. There was no way we were trusting this center to take care of our daughter. What other safety precautions were being looked over?
A locked front door with a secret code to have to enter to open the door is of utmost importance. Plus, making sure that other outside doors are locked is also a high priority.
“(I’m looking for) someone with the same values as my family. I want to know for sure that my daughter is continuing to be taught the same things we value.” —Jessi W. mom of one from Tennessee.
“I look for someone who approaches care with a teaching attitude. Every life experience is an opportunity for a lesson.” —Abby Drago-Berg, mom of one from Oregon.
Trust Your Gut
“For me, it’s a feel. My husband and I try very hard to parent consistently and keep our energy positive, so that’s very important to me.” —Jenn P. mom of one from Oregon.
“For me, a childcare provider should have respect for parent’s rules and desires for their child.” —Lindsy R. mom of one from Tennessee.
Firm and Gentle Interest
“I look for an honest interest in my child—her age, her abilities, her dreams, what makes her happy and sad. I want someone who can be firm but with a gentle spirit behind that.” —Diana Stone, mom of one and three angels.
Whether it's a nanny, a day care center, or home-based provider, aren't you curious to know what other working moms pay for day care costs...and whether they're happy with their child care arrangements? From paying a lot to paying very little, I found seven moms willing to spill the beans. You may be surprised to find out how much some moms are willing to shell out for quality care!view gallery
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