The Child-Care Decision


By Ron Hindbaugh M.A.


If you are a parent and if you choose to work, finding childcare for your child is not a simple task. Availability of quality services is not the only factor that the modern parent is considering. Parents today are not just looking for someone to "watch their child." They want someone they can trust and will provide quality services to their family. Parents today recognize the importance of the formative years, the years when their child may need childcare.

Parents recognize that the most important decision they will make is who cares for their child when they cannot. Most now take the time to visit the day-care or preschool before making this decision. They watch the teachers/care providers in operation. When you set up an appointment to visit a child-care provider and discuss the philosophy of the day care or school, consider some of the following questions and considerations.

1.    How does the day-care/school assure that the children are protected form unreasonable risk? How is supervision of all children assured? What is the staff to child ratio during the day? Are there regular fire drills? If a child is injured what is the procedure for notification of the parent and what training has the staff had in emergency fist aid?

2.    What is the day-care/school's philosophy of discipline? When a behavior problem occurs how is it handled? How do the day-care/school and the parent work together to assure consistency for the child? When and how often are conferences held? What action is taken when one child hurts another child?

3.    What is the day-care/school’s philosophy relative to academic and cognitive development of the child and how is the learning environment managed and maintained to support that philosophy? What role is the parent expected to play to support cognitive growth?

4.    What is the day-care/school’s philosophy relative to the emotional and social growth of the children? How is social and emotional growth of the child taught and supported?

5.    How are religious and spiritual issues addressed? Make sure the day care/school supports the values that you possess as a family. Ask questions about the values held by the providers and how these values are incorporated into the day-care/school’s program. Ask how parenting issues are address. Are there classes or are theses issues approached individually as they arise?

6.    How are issues of sexual differences addressed in the care setting?

7.    Find out what the entrance requirements, if any, are. This should include health issues, issues of potty training, issues of speech development, and issues of dress.

8.    Ask questions about vacations and times when the day-care/school is closed.

9.    Ask how separation of the child and parent are addressed and what notice the day-care/school needs it you pick up your child early so that the routine change can be prepared for.

10. Ask about phone calls to your child, meals, snacks, and nap time. Ask about visits to observe your child. What is the day-care/school’s philosophy about unscheduled visits?

11. Check to see if there is a procedure for assuring that you or your designated person are the only ones who can pick up your child from the day-care/school.

You may have other questions that you feel need to be addressed, do not feel shy about getting them answered. When you leave your child at the school you must feel conflict that the school is providing the environment you want for your child.

Once you have made your selection do your best to do your part as a team member for your child.

1.      Do not take your child sick to the day-care or school where you can expose the other children to a contagious disease.

2.      If your child complains about circumstances at the day-care/school, get data before taking action. Children are very capable of trying to control the adults in their world to get their way. If the adults are working together they soon give up this tactic.

3.      Communicate with the day-care/school when there are special circumstances that they need to be aware of to support your family. This can include deaths in the family. Special vacations. etc.

4.      Pick up your child on time. Do not inconvenience the school staff unnecessarily.

5.      Attend all conferences and try to implement the ideas that are discussed at these meetings. Also attend any parenting education classes suggested. This will assure consistency of approach with your child.

6.      Do not talk about concerns you have with the day-care/school in front of your child. Tell the providers what concerns you may have so that problems that can be addressed are addressed.

7.      Follow the procedures that the day-care/school has established for all the children. Do not make exceptions for your child. This is not helpful to the day-care/school or to your child.

The key to your child’s this progress is the quality of the time spent by the child in both the home and the day-care/school. If the provider and the home are partners, raising a small child can be both rewarding and pleasurable.