Every aspect and decision you make will determine how well your child is cared for outside of your own care. One of the most personal and important decisions a parent has to make is whether, when and where to seek childcare (Phillips & Adams). On average about 70% of parents require some kind of childcare for their children (Paneled, 2014). It is important to think long and hard about the qualities you want in a childcare setting, such as nutrition, proximity, cost, reliability, etc.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that one adult should have the primary care of no more than one child under the age of 2 months in any childcare setting (Paneled, 2014). It is important to make sure that your child is getting the right amount of supervision, too many children verses not enough adults would not be a good childcare setting. Look for childcare providers that have a stimulating curriculum. The best curriculum would consist of structured schedules that include plenty of time for physical activity, quiet time, group programs, individual activities, meals, snacks, and free time (Signs of a good daycare center).
Your child needs a place that offers a regular curriculum and offers a range of age appropriate activities (Signs of a DOD daycare center). If videos are a part of the curriculum make sure they are age appropriate and education (Signs of a good daycare center). Make sure there are age appropriate toys available that will encourage your child’s development, as well as stimulate their creative, and imaginative play as they get older (Signs of a good daycare center). Health, hygiene, and safety are important aspects in all childcare settings.
All children and childcare providers should be up to date with immunization; the childcare providers should also have a complete criminal background check (Paneled, 2014). Floors, walks, walls, and the kitchen area should always be clean, food preparations should be away from bathrooms and diaper change areas, trash should not be emptied, and the building should be well heated, lit and ventilated (Signs of a good daycare center). The place where the childcare will take place should be child proofed and toys should be disinfected every day (Paneled, 2014).
All windows should have screens on them, all medicines and hazardous materials should be out of reach, and all bedding should be fresh and firm to prevent KIDS (Signs of a good daycare center). Childcare providers should practice good hygiene by washing their hands regularly and helping the children to wash their hands also (Paneled, 2014). It would also be a good idea if the childcare provider was knowledgeable in infant CPRM. Bottom line is if you spot a safety hazard or even a missed hand wash, keep looking for the right childcare provider (Signs of a good daycare center).
Nutrition is also a very important thing to think about when choosing a childcare setting. Healthy food choices start early (Signs of a good daycare center). Children have certain nutritional needs and different nutritional oratories than adults (Pollard, Lewis, & Miller, 1999). Childcare providers should give children food and drinks that help support their nutritional needs as well as being culturally acceptable or age appropriate (Pollard, Lewis, & Miller, 1999). It is necessary to take into account your own child’s likes and dislikes when comparing to what the childcare provider serves.
It would also be a good idea to talk about the nutritional needs of your child with the childcare provider to ensure both home and childcare nutrition is the same. Childcare providers should allow children an adequate amount of opportunities to get a variety ND amount of foods that satisfy their appetite and contribute to their nutrient intake (Pollard, Lewis, & Miller, 1999). The timing in meals and snacks is also an important factor in meeting the children’s nutritional requirements (Pollard, Lewis, & Miller, 1999).
If the center does not offer a variety of nutritious foods then look elsewhere for your childcare provider (Signs of a good daycare center). It is important to choose a childcare provider that you feel comfortable with yourself. Look for a childcare provider that shares your views on sleep, discipline, feeding, and other care issues (Signs of a good daycare center). The quality of care that young children receive is linked to their well-being, developing skills, and subsequent adjustment (Phillips & Adams). It is also important to choose a childcare provider that is warm and caring.
There is a better outcome when the childcare provider is responsive, warm, and sensitive to the child’s needs (Phillips & Adams). Good childcare settings should have a welcoming, friendly atmosphere and be known for its nurturing environment (Signs of a good daycare center). Childcare providers should be responsible, enthusiastic, and well prepared (Signs of a good daycare center). If the childcare provider seems overworked or does not stick around long enough then they may not be right for you (Signs of a good daycare center). Proximity would of course be something to think about for most parents.
Naturally the first choice a parent would make for childcare would be a relative or close friend, however are they always reliable? 27% of infants are cared for by relatives (Phillips & Adams). When a relative or close friend is not available or the most reliable choice a parent must look elsewhere for childcare. No parent wants to drive miles away for their childcare. The place where the childcare will be provided should be close to home or work or at least somewhere in between the two, unless of course you are okay with driving out of the way for the best childcare available.
Cost of childcare is always a big issue with most parents and should not be overlooked as childcare could get very expensive. Childcare is a major expense in a family’s budget, often exceeding the cost of housing, tuition, and even food (Wilkes, 2013). Childcare costs vary from state to state, ranging from $4,863 per year to $16,430 per year (Wilkes, 2013). It is important to pick a childcare provider that fits into your edged. The average monthly fee for an infant in childcare is more expensive than food for a month for a family of four (Wilkes, 2013).
Out of everything cost is probably one of the first decisions to be made in childcare, because if you cannot afford it then there is no reason to look into the benefits of that provider. In conclusion, there are several aspects to look into when choosing the right childcare provider. If you have relatives or close friends that are reliable by all means let them help you. However if you must chose a different childcare provider please weigh all of the pros and cons as your child’s development upends on it.
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