Child care – take your time, ask questions

Finding a child care provider can seem overwhelming. We recommend that you take your time, ask many questions, visit the facility/person frequently before making a final decision, and talk to other parents about their child care experiences.

Questions to ask yourself and the provider:

  • What are the hours?
  • What is the cost?
  • Is the child care setting inviting, friendly and clean?
  • Does the environment seem safe (appropriate toys, child safety equipment installed, etc.)?
  • Where will my child sleep, and is the crib or bassinet up to modern safety standards?
  • What are the qualifications and experience of the child care provider(s)?
  • What do their references, or other parents, say about this provider?
  • What is the ratio of children to adults?
  • How many children are babies (that require more attention from the provider)?
  • How many other children will there be at any given time?
  • How does my child respond to the caregiver and setting?
  • How is discipline handled?
  • What measures are taken to keep germs under control?
  • What are the child care provider’s rules or requirements?
  • How will I get feedback on how my child is doing?
  • Am I welcome to call or visit any time?
  • Once my child has started, does he seem happy when I pick him up? Clean? Well fed?
  • What kinds of foods, drinks are served? How often?
  • Are there animals present (e.g. a dog that could bite)?
  • Is there a safe, outdoor area for playtime?
  • Are children driven anywhere (e.g. store, field trips)?
  • Does the provider have a backup in case of illness?
  • Is there learning time, pre-school curriculum offered?
  • What kinds of activities, if any, are offered (e.g. music, art, story time)?
  • Do any of the other children have behavior issues (hitting or biting) that would put other children at risk of injury?
  • Do they accept children with special needs?
  • What is my gut feeling? First impressions or gnawing intuitions are often correct.

Child care

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Child care

It’s normal for new parents to feel a tug on the heartstrings when they leave their baby with someone else for the first time. Whether returning to work or trying to find some time together, many new parents face this challenge.