Finding the Right Childcare

Source: one tough job

There are many childcare options available to you and your family. While there is no one best childcare option, there may be a type that suits you and your child better. Try to take some time to think about the needs of your child, your personal preferences, and the options that are convenient to your family. By taking time to explore your options, you will feel more confident with the childcare that you choose.

Here are some things to consider:

Start your search early. If possible, begin considering your options at least a few months before childcare is needed. You can talk with friends or family about their experiences and begin researching childcare settings ahead of time. When you find a few options that look like good fits, you should plan a visit to each one. Ask to see the provider's license to operate, written safety and emergency procedures, and staff qualifications. After you narrow down your choices, visit with your child and see if she is comfortable, how she interacts with other children, and how she responds to the caregivers.

Think about your child’s needs. Every child is unique and may be better suited to different childcare settings. Consider whether your child would thrive in a larger, more social setting, a place with more structured learning, or at home with an individual caregiver. Create a list of things that are most important for your child in a childcare setting and use that list to help inform your search.

Consider your needs. Make sure the setting meets the needs of your schedule, is easily accessible via whatever transportation you use, and is in a convenient location to work or home. Also, consider whether you can communicate comfortably with the caregivers and feel like they listen to and respect your opinions.

Consider your financial situation. Make sure the setting you choose provides quality child care that is affordable to you. Understand the calendar for the year, tuition schedule, and penalties in case you need to move or leave the provider. Do not necessarily let your choice be affected by your financial situation. There are programs that can assist you in paying for childcare or provide you with a voucher.

Communicate with caregivers. Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions, set rules, and demand a lot. After all, the caregiver you choose is taking care of someone very special to you. If they aren't comfortable with what you are asking for, you may want to consider looking for alternate childcare.

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