Sep 24, 2012

What To Look For In A Home Child Care Provider

Over the years, I have worked with children in a variety of ways from teaching preschool to doing in home care, and obviously, being a mother to my own girls.

Often, I am asked by other moms who are looking for childcare, what they should be looking for, what questions to ask etc.

Here is a list of things to consider when looking for in a home child care provider:

1.  What kind of experience does your provider have?  I know this seems basic, but it's an important question.  Do they have any education or early education classes under their belt?  Have they worked with children, (other than their own), before?  Do they have references you can speak with?

2.  What is The Home Environment like?  This is a BIG deal.  Is it child friendly?  Do they have plenty of toys and play equipment to entertain the children?  Is it clean?  Is it safe?  Are there animals in the house?  Do they, (or anyone else in the house), smoke?  All are things you should know before making a decision.

3.  Who else will have access to your child?  For example, does the husband work from home?  Will he be present when your child is there?  Or are there older children that will be in the home?  Basically, what and who is your child going to be exposed to?

4.  What kind of discipline does the provider use?  You would be AMAZED at how many parents don't ask this question!  Make sure that you are both on the same page when it comes to discipline!!

5.  Is she/he willing to submit to a background check?  It may sound extreme, but these are your children that you are entrusting to someone.  You want to know for sure that they have nothing to hide.  And if they were working in a daycare, it would be required under law anyhow.

6.  Do they have insurance?  Again, another question that parents often forget to ask about.  And don't forget about car insurance, (and a driver's license too!).

7.  Do they have an absence or payment policy?  Most providers have some kind of policy that allows for a certain number of days for vacations/sickness etc.  Make sure that you are both clear about the terms.

8.  What will your child be doing while in their care?  Do they have lesson plans or is it more laid back?  Are there structured activities, or will your child be watching TV all day?

9.  Will they be providing food for your child?  This seems like an easy thing, but it can quickly become a big deal.  For example, if you expect your provider to provide meals, but your child is a very picky eater or has a lot of dietary restrictions, you may need to provide your own meals, (especially is she/he is cooking for other children, too).

10.  Does your child feel comfortable?  This is the most basic, yet maybe the most important thing of all.  Even if everything else on the list checks off, if your child doesn't feel like it's a fit, it won't be good for anyone.  Take your cues from your child, and you'll probably make a good decision.

Do you have any other suggestions of things to look for or questions to ask?  If so, please share!!

I will be linking up with Many Little Blessings for Top Ten Tuesday and We Are THAT Family for WFMW.

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