Evaluating Your Child-Care Provider
Once you've selected a child-care provider, follow these suggestions to ensure it's the right choice for you and your child.
Do A Trial Run
Have your child spend part of a day in the center or home for a "trial run." Be sure you can be easily contacted during this time.
Afterward, discuss the experience with your child and the caregiver or center personnel.
- Once your child's enrolled at the center, visit as often as you can to observe what's going on.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions or request a meeting if something concerns you.
- Read the notes that are posted or sent home so you know about special events or things your child needs to bring to the center.
- If drop-off and pick-up times seem too busy and hectic to talk to a caregiver about progress or problems, set up a different time to come in and talk.
- Be alert to your child's reaction to the facility and the caregivers.
- Develop a good working relationship with the staff.
WHN Tip: As a parent, it is up to you to keep checking and be sure your child is happy in the care you have selected. Be involved in his or her learning, and ask the caregiver about your child's involvement and adaptation to the program.
It is normal for children to be upset when they are first separated from their parents - they may even get upset for the first two to four weeks. But, if your child is distressed for more than a month, there could be a problem. Make surprise visits to the center or home: watch what's going on and look for these warning signs:
- Caregivers who seem indifferent or harsh to children, use many "don'ts" and punishments.
- Caregivers who hardly speak with the children or respond to them.
- Caregivers who discipline children by spanking, shouting, putting children by themselves for a long time, or not giving them food.
- Children who are out of sight or are made to wait for long periods of time.
- Dirty floors and equipment, furnishings that are damaged or unsafe, or a general air of dilapidation.
- Not enough toys or interesting activities.
- Different caregivers each day — your child may not feel as secure.
If you think your caregiver is breaking safety rules (too many children, unsafe areas), then call your state authorities.
If you have doubts, seek new care. But keep in mind that too many changes may confuse your child.
Child CareChoosing a Babysitter