Trusting your kids with a child care provider is a huge decision. For many, it’s also an inevitable one: according to the US Census, 61 percent of children under five are in some type of regular childcare during any given week. The reason is simple: most parents work.
There are several ways to assure your child is under the right type of care. This begins by asking the essential questions.
1. Are they certified?
According to Early Childhood Colorado, the first thing you should ask a childcare provider is whether or not they are licensed. A provider with a license has more legitimacy than one who isn’t merely because they are required to meet certain regulations. Licensed child care staff are required to take certain classes, required to undergo a background check, and complete annual professional development training including First Aid and CPR. They are also required to limit adult-to-child ratios and to renew their license every year.
2. What is their educational background?
Another question you should ask is in regards to education: what kind does the provider have? Do they have a college degree? Have they taken child development classes? Have they enrolled in continuing education classes? Do they have first aid training? Asking these types of questions can further help you gauge just how well they are able to care for your child.
3. How much care will your child receive?
Most child care providers licensed by the state are required to maintain a certain adult-to-child ratio. It is important to ask your provider what the ratio typically is. You should also ask if extra staff is hired during peak times, such as the summer months or spring and winter breaks. Double check as you are shown through the program by counting heads.
4. What is your policy for sick children?
As most parents know, children are like walking, talking petri-dishes: germs abound. Because sickness and children go hand in hand, asking your provider their policy is important. Whether or not they allow kids to come to the center while they’re ill may influence your decision.
5. How do you handle disciplinary matters?
Like illness, discipline is also a part of childhood – kids act out and must be reprimanded. Inquiring about how discipline is handled will factor into the choice you make.
Characteristics to Look For
After your questions have been answered, your job is still not done: you should also let the character of the provider do the talking. Per Web MD, a few things to consider include: looking for warmth and empathy; scoping out the play areas and the environment (Is it stimulating? Is it clean?); and studying the interaction of the staff with the children (Do they sing to them? Talk to them? Engage them?).
Deciding on a caretaker for your child can be time-consuming, but it’s worth it. Be sure not to commit to anyone until you know for sure they are a good match. Feel free to interview, visit, and ask all the questions you need. Make sure your child is in caring hands by enrolling them in the child care programs from Tender Care Learning Centers. With locations all throughout the Pittsburgh area, Tender Care Learning Centers offer children a safe and nurturing environment that helps build a foundation for healthy growth and development. Your child’s early education provider is not to be taken lightly, give your child a head start on their education and contact your local Tender Care Learning Centers today!