One of the first truly difficult decisions many parents face is choosing the right childcare center for their little one, especially first-time parents whose experience with professional childcare is limited. Learning to spot the signs of a great day care is just as important as recognizing potential red flags, which can be a very real challenge for parents.
Though many parents prefer the idea of a more personal childcare experience through a home daycare, finding one of great quality can be a challenge. In some states, licensing and regulation is significantly less stringent for home daycare businesses. Because this can translate to less oversight and accountability, parents who are actively exploring home daycare options may face a challenge separating higher quality programs from those less desirable. With a basic understanding of what to look for and what to avoid in a home daycare, the right decision may be more easily made.
A strong relationship between parents and their childcare provider is based upon two factors: trust, and a strong contract. While it may seem like an unnecessary bit of added paperwork, a daycare contract can actually help to stave off disputes by providing all involved parties with a clear image of their rights and responsibilities. It’s not always easy to know what should be included, especially when a provider is creating their first batch of daycare contracts. While there will always be circumstances unique to each provider’s business model, there are some pieces of information which should typically be covered in any daycare contracts and written agreements.
Although there’s no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to child care, there are basics to look for which will ensure that your children are well cared for. Take it one step at a time, and trust your instincts.
Great daycare providers tend to fill their available slots in fairly short order, which is why it’s so important for parents to start their search early and be prepared in advance. Interviewing a daycare provider provides you with an ideal opportunity to evaluate the establishment and staff, but can be a bit overwhelming, especially for parents with limited daycare experience. Approaching each interview with a premade list of questions ensures that you are prepared for the occasion, and lowers the chances of you forgetting to ask about the issues which are important to you. While it’s likely you’ll want to add your own unique concerns to this list, these are some of the questions you should make a point of asking when interviewing a daycare provider.