At some point, the majority of parents need to look for childcare. Whether it’s simply for date nights, a full time nanny, or a daycare center — each comes with a set of questions that need to be asked in the process.
Most of us know to ask for references, do a background check, see what experience they’ve had in the past. We look for a cleaned up, cheerful person who genuinely enjoys being around children and is capable of making important decisions quickly.
But what else? When it gets down to the long term relationship between a caregiver and a parent, it’s the little things that often erode the trust and bond between you and the person who watches your child. Some minor things can turn into major issues if ever presented, and it’s best to try to get them out in the open before they happen. Expectations of a job can be very different if they aren’t communicated up front.
Below are just a few things you may want to ask your caregiver(s) while talking with them about the kind of care you’re looking for. You have a right to know your rules are being followed, your parenting is being respected, and your child being cared for the best way possible – but they have a right to know that they are meeting your expectations from the start. Don’t be shy when voicing concerns or asking about things that worry you. Any good provider will go out of their way to assure you that they job they do is the very best you’ll find. These are some guidelines to keep in mind that have worked for me:
Will you take personal calls while watching my child? 1 of 9Unless they're using your phone, you can't really tell how often your sitter is taking calls or sending texts. Ask references for any clues about this, and be upfront — if she works for you all day, you may have to be flexible with her getting things done during down time. If you adamantly want no phone calls, see if she's agreeable to that.
How many children will be under your care? 2 of 9Using a home or public daycare means there are laws about the amount of children they can have, and the number of workers required to go with that. Be sure to find this out to see how much one on one attention your child will be receiving.
How will you handle discipline? 3 of 9Does the daycare center have a handbook on this? If you have a certain method, it's best to try to keep it fairly consistent. No person or place should ever lay a hand on your child for discipline — and it should be age-appropriate.
What are your safety credentials? 4 of 9Will your daycare go on trips? Does your sitter have a safe driving record, insurance, etc? If you are fine with your child being taken out, then check all these things first. Ask who will be driving and sign a release, or have your sitter drive you both a few times.
What’s your experience with different ages? 5 of 9What ages of children has your sitter watched? Are they all family or other people's kids? Does she seem comfortable with yours? Does the daycare take a wide range of ages or keep it smaller? How comfortable are you with having your child around much differently aged kids or only his own peers?
What kinds of activities would you plan in a day? 6 of 9Ask your sitter to give you examples of things she would do with your child during the day. Outside and inside. Find out what your daycare does for activities and how much free time they have. Check out their outside and inside play areas.
What is the daycare’s policy on sick children? 7 of 9When will they call you to come get them, and what happens if there is an emergency and you can't be reached? Is your sitter comfortable with watching a mildly sick child or will you need to make other arrangements that day to be home?
Are you CPR-certified? 8 of 9Check to see that anyone you hire and anyone that is watching your child for an extended period of time is CPR/First Aid certified. They should have a card to show this with an expiration date. It's a short, simple class if they don't, offered in all areas.
How will you handle a fussy kid? 9 of 9What if other children are around? How long would they let it go before or if they called you? What distraction methods would they use, and if those didn't work, what would the next steps be?
Photo Credits: iStock
Diana blogs on raising a toddler daughter, the loss of her twin boys, and their families’ adoption on the aptly named Hormonal Imbalances. Smaller glimpses into her day are on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
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