Most women have to return to work shortly after the birth of their child or when their maternity leave ends. Finding a trusted, quality daycare center can be a daunting task, but it does not have to be. There are many options for finding quality child care. Licensed day care centers, home centers, a nanny or a family member/friend are some of the most common options. Most childcare centers will accept newborns at the age of 6 weeks, but some will accept them earlier. Typically, home centers that are not licensed will be more flexible about the ages of the children they accept. A nanny, friend or family member can come in from day one to get to know your baby and their routine.
Because you will be trusting your child's life with this person, it is important to research your options and give yourself plenty of time to find the perfect caregiver for your child. Ask friends and family members for recommendations on daycare centers, home centers or nannies. Call your local social services and ask if they can recommend a quality child care provider. Contact your state or province ask them about centers in your area. They will have a report on the compliance history of the center, sanitation records and any other information that is helpful regarding the center.
If you are looking for a child care center or home day care, call and make an appointment to see the facility, meet the teachers and see what a typical day is like. It is usually best to visit the center during a time in the day when the children are awake and you can see how the caregivers interact with the children. Take a checklist and ask alot of questions. Some of the things you will want to look around the room and check for are:
*Is the center clean and safe? Are outlets covered?
*Is the room bright, welcoming and stimulating?
*Are there age-appropriate toys for the children?
*Do the children seem happy in the classroom?
*Do the teachers respect the children and meet their needs adequately?
*Do the teachers seem to enjoy being with the children?
*How do the teachers interact with the kids?
*What are the outside toys like?
*What are the ages of the other children in the classroom?
You might want to consider asking the following questions:
*What is the cost of daycare?
*What is the education or training of the caregivers?
*Do the teachers have CPR certification?
*What is provided by the center and what do the parents provide?
*What time is the center open each day?
*In the event of an emergency, what will occur?
*Ask about prior history of the center. Has there ever been any noted abuse or neglect?
*What is the sanitation score?
*How will the teachers communicate your child's day with you?
If you are considering hiring a nanny, you must really do your homework. You should ask may of the same questions, but you should also do a thorough background check, criminal history, driving record check and check references. Many cities have nanny agencies that do this work for you, but you should also do your own checking. Interview several candidates and have them interact with your child for an hour, so that you can see how the nanny interacts with your child. Many parents are often surprised to see how quickly their child warms up to someone. Consider asking your nanny the following questions to get to know her better:
*What days/hours is she available?
*What is her experience with young children?
*Does she have any professional certifications?
*What are her salary requirements?
*Does she smoke or drink?
*Does she feel comfortable caring for a baby (or whatever age your child is)?
*Can she cook?
*What would she do in an emergency situation?
It can be very hard for a child to adapt to being left in the hands of another caregiver. Do not be alarmed if your child experiences some degree of separation anxiety when you leave. It is not uncommon for the child to cry when you leave them with a caregiver. Usually the child will warm up to the caregiver as he gets to know her and begins to feel comfortable while you are away. Of course, if you have any doubts in your caregiver or the way they are caring for your child, you should always bring that to their attention.
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