It Takes a Big Heart to Shape a Little Mind—Choosing the Right Childcare
The first question you must ask yourself is what type of care do you prefer for your child. Is hiring a nanny for in-home care an option? Is a neighborhood babysitter the right fit? Is a program at church best? Or do you want your child in a daycare center with other children?
Budget is often the foremost factor in choosing the type of child-care. Whatever your budget, below are some tips for making the right selection for your child.
Narrow Your Search
The first step in choosing childcare is to make a list of the options. A good place to start is the Action for Children website. Here, you can enter your zip code, and the site will generate a list of day care options near you. The site has a rating system called “Step-Up to Quality,” a statewide tiered accreditation system that assigns facilities one to five stars.
Another helpful resource, whether you are in the market for a provider or you have already chosen one, is the Ohio Job and Family Services website. If a facility is licensed, you can look at its inspection reports online and view the results including citations issued. Serious citations affecting health and welfare of the children are highlighted in the reports in red.
Next, narrow your list based on affordability and availability. Calling ahead can save time here. Make sure there is an opening for your child and that the center is within budget. Try to keep a minimum of three options on your list so you can compare and contrast.
Next, set up a visit. Before you go, make a list of questions you want to get answered while there. Also, make a list of your expectations for the provider, and create a checklist based on those expectations.
Some questions you might want to ask are “what does a typical day look like?”, “what would she be learning?”, “what activities do you offer?”, “what is the child to staff ratio?”, “how will I receive information about my child?”,”Is the provider licensed?”, “Is the provider insured?”
Make notes starting with your first contact with the provider. Does a responsible and friendly person answer the phone when you call to schedule the visit? Continue note taking when you arrive. Do the children look happy and engaged? Is the facility clean and organized? Does the staff seem confident and calm? Is the facility bright and cheerful? Is there enough staff to tend to the needs of the children?
Make sure the staff is certified in CPR and first aid. If your child has a food allergy, make sure there are provisions in place to accommodate. Also, make sure there is a protocol in place to disinfect the toys and surfaces to reduce the spread of germs.
Above all, trust your intuition. Your gut will tell you if it is the right fit for your child. If you have any safety concerns whatsoever, err on the side of caution, and keep looking.
Contact Rinehardt Law
If you believe your child has been neglected or abused by a childcare provider, or if your child was injured due to inadequate supervision or because of poorly maintained facilities, call us for a free consultation.