Drop in Day Care

Is Drop-in Child Care Right for you?

While regular daycare is an excellent solution for working parents, there are often many instances when parents do not need full-time daycare. Such situations might include times when they have an appointment, work only part-time or a special situation arises. Drop-in child care can also be a good solution when a regular babysitter is ill or unavailable at the last minute. During such times parents may need a reliable source of child care at the last minute without the need to rely on a babysitter. Increasingly, many parents have also found that drop-in child care is also a viable solution for those times when they simply need some adult time. Whether parents need to run errands, attend an adult-only function, business event or simply need a date night, drop-in child care centers are growing in popularity across the country. Single parents find this service particularly attractive.

In such situations drop-in child care can be a great solution. Drop-in child care is a day care center that offers a wide range of hours. Parents typically pay for care by the hour rather than a flat rate. As drop-in care centers have become more popular with parents, they have also become increasingly popular with children as well. Many drop-in child care centers now offer a variety of events and even themed days to keep kids busy and hoppy. A drop-in child care center is typically operated much in the same way as traditional day care, with only a few exceptions. Staff receives the same type of training as those in a traditional daycare. In fact, it is not uncommon for the workers in traditional daycare centers to even work on a part-time basis in drop-in centers.

A drop-in care center will often remain open until 9 or even 10 p.m. during the week and may remain open until midnight on weekends. While there are some drop-in centers that are open on Sundays, this is not the case with every center, so it is important for parents to check on the hours of operation. For special occasions, many centers will offer later hours.

One important element to keep in mind with drop-in daycare is that it is possible for a center to become full due to the fact that centers must maintain staff-child ratios. To ensure those ratios are not exceeded, the centers may reach a point on some days when they are not able to admit any more children. Some drop-in facilities may also require parents to make reservations for babies due to staffing issues as well. The primary reason for this is that most states require all daycare facilities to maintain a lower staff to child ratio due to the amount of care small infants require.

One of the most common questions many parents have about drop-in child care is whether it is affordable. Parents are often surprised to find that the rates charged by drop-in care centers are about the same as the rate paid to adult babysitters. In particular, parents of multiple children often find it is less expensive in the long-term. This can be particularly true when snacks and meals are factored into the cost. The cost for a drop-in care center usually starts at about $7 per hour, but may range up to about $10 per hour based on the age of the child. Different geographic regions may charge less or more based upon typical costs in the area and supply and demand. There may also be a one-time registration fee.

When searching for a drop-in care center, it is still important for parents to check credentials. All centers should be fully licensed and should operate under the same regulations as other daycare facilities in your state. Parents can expect staff to be trained in first-aid and CPR, education in early childhood development, and be experienced in working with children. Most daycare centers will also conduct criminal background checks on all employees, but parents may want to check with the center to be certain this is done.

If you are considering using a drop-in care center, it is a good idea to conduct an initial visit first. Avoid waiting until the last minute and then trying to register your child, complete all of the forms and introduce your child to a new environment. Take the time to visit first, complete the registration forms and visit with the staff. This will help to ensure the center is a right fit for both you and your children, so that when a situation does arrive when you need childcare at the last moment everything will be handled in advance.

 

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Day Care Safety Tips

When you decide to take your child to day care, many mothers at first want to have the reassurance that their child is in safe hands. Once a relationship is built between the parents and childcare provider it gets easier with time, but beforehand as peace of mind it is good to know about the day care safety tips that are taught to staff within the establishment.

With young children who are mobile it is important to remember they have no sense of fear and will happily explore any environment that most adults have become accustomed to avoiding. By looking at things from a child’s point of view and bearing in mind that the developmental stages advance extremely fast many hazards can be eradicated.

A major hazard that has caused many emergency room visits is not ensuring that any equipment put into the room whether a cot, toy, chair and even drawers are looked at in great depth to assess whether a child could trap one of their limbs or fingers in them.  Children are all different, just as adults and where many may not have been harmed, they may do in the future.

Even safety equipment can be hazardous, especially window guards. Although they may stop a child from falling out of an open window, they will not necessarily stop them getting trapped in some way if they decide to explore.

Climbing is an important part of development so that youngsters can be potty trained, sit at a table with their peers and move around more freely. As they are more prone to fall due to their tender age, the flooring surrounding should be soft enough to avoid an unsafe landing.

Everything in the room or rooms needs to be age appropriate, this is why having separate rooms such as one for babies, another for toddlers and a further one for pre-school can make this easier.  The age gap may seem small from one to another, but the amount their abilities show great differences as does their understanding.

Rather than cramming everything into one small space, ensure there is still enough room between one play area or toy to another. This allows freedom of movement and avoids youngsters bumping into or tripping over one another.

If there has been recent publication or known dangers surrounding a certain toy or activity it is best to remove it than to take unnecessary risks. Follow instructions such as returning to manufacturers or dispose of the item in the way advised.

When shopping for furniture avoid those that are of a square or rectangle shape where possible and look for rounded edges over pointed ones. It may seem like common sense to some but it is easy to be bowled over by a color scheme or design.

Regularly check wooden items whether indoors or out for any signs of wear and tear. If it is showing any signs of needing re sanding it best removed until the necessary sanding or repairs have been completed to avoid splinters.

Bolts and nails that can become loose over time which could cause skin pinching or clothes becoming caught. Regular maintenance and checking should avoid this from occurring, however being vigilant at all times is the best way to stop any damage to items or people beforehand.

Outdoor equipment, even with special sealant and other protection can still become rusty. This is a sign of damage, even though it may just be from usual wear and tear. Swings that often come with metal frames are prime candidates for such damage. If the seating is attached by rope rather than chained metal care should still be taken as over time it can fray and eventually break.

Watch for small parts in case they become a choking hazard. This could be from a cup or plate that has become damaged and even screws becoming loose from door handles, toys or a table and chair set. Even when set up with the best care and attention there is nothing that is built to last forever.

Certain things that are needed in the day to day care such as creams, wipes, toilet paper and soap could present a choking hazard. This is why even though they need to be present; they should be kept out of reach and sight of the children, preferably in a different room or area to where the play takes place.

Last but not least one thing that would not even cross most people’s mind is paint on radiators and walls. When it is wet children are commonly taken away from it, but even when dry it could still contain hazardous content with flaking older paint being easily picked off and put in little mouths. Check first that the chosen paint is suitable for the room as there are special kinds on the market that help.

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Positive Learning Environment at Day Care

How Day Care Centers Create a Positive Learning Environment

There are many factors that should be considered when choosing a day care center for your child, including whether or not the center you consider creates a positive learning environment. Day care centers can help to create a nurturing environment that can serve as a catalyst for learning in a number of different ways.

One of those is way involving all of the children in the learning process. Studies now suggest that children learn much better when there is a high involvement rate. When children are involved at an early age in a learning environment in a day care setting, they receive the opportunity to not only ask questions and discuss various topics, but they also receive the benefit of seeing and hearing other children do the same. This can often present enormous opportunities for learning as other children in the center may pose questions they had not thought of. Interaction between peers can also serve as a tremendous opportunity for learning as well.

Many day care centers today utilize a variety of different learning methods. This is critical as we now know that different individuals learn in different ways. Through a combination of discussions, demonstrations, role plays, audio visuals and activities, children in day care are presented with interesting learning opportunities that help to ensure the needs of all children are met. In a quality day care program, children will receive the benefit of interaction with both children their own age, as well as adult who can guide them in their learning experience.

Toward that end, it is important for parents to know what to look for when assessing the learning environment of prospective day cares. The best learning environments will be structured so that children are able to freely move among the various activities. They should be able to do so at their own page. A play-based environment will emphasize emotional and social development which allows children to communicate effectively with their peers and adults, while also developing strong problem-solving skills that will serve them well later on in life.

Quality day cares that focus on establish a positive learning environment will also typically include a balance of various activities. While time will be allowed for structured activities and play, there will also be time for self-directed play as well. In addition, learning will typically involve activities that engage each of the senses. For instance, if children are learning about the letter ‘A’, they may be exposed to apples in several different colors. The provider or teacher may allow them to touch and smell the different apples. During snack time, children have the opportunity to taste the apples. They may also have the chance to describe the way the apple smells, feels and tastes. In some day care centers, there may even be an activity that involves discussing the apple seeds, listening to a story about apples and possibly even planting an apple tree.

The best day care centers will establish a positive learning environment by making certain there are age-appropriate toys and activities for all ages. For instance, for ages eight months to twelve months, children can be provided with simple picture books and balls. Children in this age group will also benefit from interactive games. Beginning at age eighteen months, children will receive exposure to more complex toys, including manipulative toys such as dress-up clothes, puzzles, etc. that will help them to work out solutions to problems encountered on a daily basis and explore their world.

When children are able to explore the world around them in groups of their own peers, they often benefit from the opportunity to learn from one another, and therefore faster than when on their own. Not only are they able to take advantage of shared knowledge, but they also receive the chance to learn about other cultures and develop critical socialization skills that will serve them well not only when they enter school, but also later on in life as well. Quality day care centers encourage children to actually learn from one another and provide activities that each of the children can actively participate and engage in. Through the encouragement of behaviors that will lead toward positive learning experiences and attitudes, children will form a foundation from an early age that will assist them in future academic endeavors. The positive learning experience children are exposed to in a day care center can prove to be invaluable for setting them upon a path for future success.

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Discipline at Day Care

Discussing Rules and Discipline with your Child Care Provider

In today’s modern world many families are comprised of two working parents or a single parent. Even if there is a stay at home parent, there are often times when parents need child care, even if it is on a part-time basis. When such needs arise it is important to understand the best way to discuss rules and discipline with your chosen child care provider. While it would be hoped that the course will always be smooth and your child will not experience any disciplinary needs, it is always best to be prepared in advance. Parents should never make assumptions regarding discipline and realize that child care providers and even other family members may have different disciplinary styles. Discussing the subject early on will help parents to arrive at a child care decision that is right for their family and avoid any misunderstandings in the future.

One of the first questions you should ask when choosing a new child care facility is in regards to their discipline policy. If your child is in day care full-time, it should be recognized that your child will spend a significant amount of time responding to the standards of the child care provider. Many parents often find it a challenge to express their views regarding the management of typical disciplinary issues. Parents that communicate in a judgmental or abrupt manner may cause the provider to feel as though they are not trusted. This can certainly affect any future interactions. Yet, at the same time, it is a topic that must be discussed. The best way to do so is in an honest and caring manner. This will help to set the stage and ensure future interactions are positive as well.

Setting aside some time to talk to your child care provider in advance is a great strategy for working together to arrive at a discipline plan that is suitable for your child. If your child has any particular temperament issues, make it a point to speak to the child care provider about those special needs in advance. Discuss successful strategies you use at home to help with your child’s behavior.

If your child is attending a licensed day care center you will likely find the center already has a discipline policy in place and will be happy to share that with you upon your initial visit. Take the time to carefully read through this policy and ask questions about any areas that are not clear. Each state has its own particular guidelines regarding what is allowed and what is not allowed when disciplining a child. Parents may find it helpful to contact their local child care licensing authority to find out specific rules that apply to their local area.

A quality day care facility should consider three factors in assisting children to behave. First, rules should be reasonable and clearly understood. Second, when rules are broken they should be reasonably dealt with. Third, it is important for all staff to act as good role models.

Due to the fact that children in day care are typically quite young, many centers use three very easy rules to help children understand what is expected of them. First, children are not allowed to hurt themselves. Second, they are not allowed to physically or emotionally hurt others. Third, children are not allowed to hurt things such as furniture, toys, etc.

Although the rules and regulations regarding discipline can vary from one area to another, there are some basic rules regarding discipline that are widely accepted for child care centers. Providers are not allowed to use harsh, cruel or unusual punishment. Discipline should not include any negative remarks, profanity or verbal abuse. Under no circumstances should discipline humiliate, frighten or shame a child. Discipline should not involve any form of striking, hitting, spanking, pinching or biting. Children should never be confined in any type of enclosed area. Nor should discipline prevent a child from using the toilet, sleeping or eating. Finally, children should not be allowed to discipline any other children.

Talking regularly with your child about their care can help to quickly uncover potential problems. If you have a concern about the discipline that is being utilized, do not hesitate to speak to your child care provider. If the response you receive is not satisfactory, make it a point to closely monitor the situation. Speak to other parents. Ultimately, it is up to you as your child’s parent to make certain they are safe.

 

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Special Needs Day Care

Day Care for Special Needs Children

Locating the right child care is always an emotional process for any parent, but for parents of special needs children, it can be even more complex. Deciding upon the right day care for children with special needs requires additional research, parental involvement, and attention. It is important to keep in mind that not all day care centers are capable of providing the level of care and service your child may need.

Many of the factors to consider when searching for a day care for special needs children are the same factors you need to look for when searching for any day care center. For instance, when looking for a day care center, always carefully consider qualifications. Find out whether the center is fully licensed, and ask to see the center’s certificate of licensure. You can also typically obtain information about the center by checking with your state’s daycare licensing board. How long has the facility been in business? What is the size of their staff? Do they have an adequate staff to child ratio? What type of training does the staff have? Are they fully trained in CPR and first-aid? Do they have education and training in early childhood development? Does the staff have experience in working with special needs children?

When searching for a day care center for your special needs child it is also important to make certain you are fully cognizant of your rights. Under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, day care providers are not allowed to exclude children because of disability. Furthermore, they are required to make reasonable changes to practices, policies and physically accessibility to ensure individuals with special needs can be integrated into the center. Keep in mind; however, that day care centers which are operated by religious entities, such as synagogues, mosques, and churches are not required to adhere to Title III.

Always make a point of meeting with the center operator first. Most day care centers today will provide parents with an information packet upon their initial visit. Ask to meet with the manager or director of the center and be prepared to ask questions. For instance, find out whether the center is equipped to handle your child’s particular special needs. At the current time, how many children attend the center? Are the children in the center supervised at all times? What types of foods does the center serve for meals and snacks? If your child has allergies, will the center be able to accommodate them?

Find out whether the center will be able and willing to integrate any applicable external services such as a physical therapist or speech pathologist, if they do not already have those services in place. What is the center’s policy regarding the administration of medication? Do they require a note from the physician? Where are medications stored in the center? You also need to find out as much information as possible about the center’s protocol for handling any emergency situation that may arise with a special needs child.

Health and safety are of vital importance for all children, but particularly so for special needs children. Carefully observe the center to note whether it seems clean and sanitary. Find out whether diaper changing stations are disinfected following each use. If your child needs assistance with toilet training, does the center assist with that?

Play time is obviously important for children of all ages and development ranges. What type of equipment does the center offer? Are the children allowed playtime outside? Will any existing equipment be accessible to your child?

Also, find out how the center handles discipline for children in their care? Is good behavior rewarded? How does the center communicate with parents regarding their child’s progress? Does the center have any type of system in place that allows for feedback from parents regarding the center’s program or curriculum?

You also need to make a point of finding out about the cost of the facility. The price of any day care center can vary, often based upon your geographic location. You should be aware that the cost of child care for special needs children may be reimbursed by some states. Reimbursement and coverage often varies widely from state to state. This is particularly true in terms of Medicaid.

Finding the right day care for your special needs child may seem like a daunting challenge, but by conducting research and asking the right questions, you can find a facility where your child will feel welcome and their unique needs and abilities will be met.

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Comparing Different Child Care Options

Parents today have a wealth of child care options available to them. While there are certainly advantages to numbers in options, this can also present quite a quandary when it comes to choosing the day care option that is right for you and your child. Comparing the various child care options available can help you to narrow down the choices and arrive at a suitable decision.

There are numerous factors that must be considered when choosing among the different child care options. These factors include lifestyle, the needs of your family, budget, and geographic area. To assist in making a decision, first consider the following needs prior to comparing the various options. Do you need part-time or full-time child care? Will you need childcare early in the mornings, late in the evenings or on the weekends? If you need part-time child care, will the days on which you need care remain the same or will you need flexible child care?

Also, consider your budget for child care. This is a practical step that may help greatly in comparing the various options. For instance, a nanny or au pair is certainly going to be more expensive than a local day care center. Some types of day care centers, such as a Montessori school also charge more per week.

Consider the age of your child as well and your own comfort level in placing him or her in a specific type of child care setting at their current age. You should also consider the fact that day care centers typically will not accept any children under the age of six weeks, and some centers will only take children at least eight weeks of age. In addition, some parents find they simply prefer a different care setting for their infant than they do for an older child.

You should also take any special needs your child may have into consideration. Will they be more suited in a child care setting that is smaller and more intimate such as an in-home care situation or will they thrive better in a classroom setting whether there is more interaction and more activities? As a parent, you know your child’s needs and personality best and are in the best place to determine the setting in which they can grow and thrive.

Given the factors listed above, there are several options available for day care. One is an in-home provider. This is typically in the home of the provider, but may also take place in the parents’ home as well. The level of experience and care you can expect can vary greatly. You should bear in mind that an in-home provider may or may not be accredited or licensed. While this option can offer a family-style setting and be less expensive than other options, it is important to check experience.

Some families opt to hire a caregiver to care for their child in their home. This is typically the most expensive option. Variations of this child care arrangement include nannies and au pairs. A daytime sitter who is only present during the day while parents are working can be an appealing and more affordable option, but it is best to keep in mind that the caregiver may not have the experience and training one would expected for a licensed care center.

In some situations, families may opt to have a family member care for their child. This can be particularly appropriate when the child has a close bond to that family member, such as a grandparent. This option does offer cost savings in most cases, as well as convenience, but there are drawbacks. For instance, if the family member becomes ill or has an emergency, you may find yourself in need of backup child care at the last minute. You should also consider the fact that the relative may not be certified in CPR and first-aid the same way that a professional child care provider will be.

Another option that many parents choose is a day care center. The primary reasons most parents ultimately opt for a day care center is that it offers reliability, affordability and convenience. One of the great advantages of this option is that children are allowed the opportunity to socialize with peers, which can be an important part of child development. In addition, parents do not have to be worried about back-up care in the event their child care provider is not available. Many day care centers today even offer educational programs and curriculum.

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Potential Day Care Dangers

The best thing to avoid a child becoming hurt in a day center environment is careful planning. There are so many things that seem commonplace in the home and are not posing such a risk because of the adult to child ratio, but even within any child care environment where there are many children to be looked after provisions can be put into place to avoid any potential day care dangers.

One dangerous hazard that has been pointed out more in the past few years since accidental deaths have occurred are those surrounding the use of blinds. The cords on them can easily become wrapped around the throat area causing strangulation which is one reason for any furniture; including cots should be placed in a space where nothing surrounding that is dangerous can be touched.

Lighter furniture may seem a great option as it can be moved around easily and to be stored when not in use. The problem can be that little ones are not as stable on their feet as an older child or adult. This could mean that they try to break their fall by grabbing a nearby light chair or similar item and not only hurt themselves but other children playing nearby.

It is surprising how many toys; even those that say they are safe for use from a young age could still pose a high risk.  Buttons used to make eyes on homemade teddies or even on a doll that is used to aid children in practicing to fasten buttons and do up zips could cause choking should a button become loose or trapped skin in the zip part.  Such toys should only be used under adult supervision where there can be an adult present for each child while the toy is being played with. It should be checked for any damage and signs of wear and tear and disposed of at the first sight.

Heavier toys such as wooden building blocks or trains are sturdy but this also means they can be used to hit other children with. While they are so young children will tend to become territorial over certain items and go through the ‘mine’ stage.  Even accidentally the grip will not be as strong as adults so items may not be as secure as they may first seem.

Check also openings on doll houses, cars and similar toys, especially those that can be slammed shut with force to avoid pinching of skin or breaks to small fingers. Remember that they are exploring a new world and everything to them is to be played with as they learn.

To avoid germs and for health and safety reasons cleanliness is important, however not keeping anything that is used for medicinal or cleaning purpose locked away safely can and has led to irreversible damage to health and even death. Something as simple as the soap used in the toilet room needs to be monitored by a member of staff when in use and put away when it is not.

Spillages will occur no matter how careful you are, but the main thing is to get them cleared up quickly and if necessary make sure another room is readily available while the main one is drying off. The sense of danger in youngsters is not there, it is something they learn over time.

Look at the furniture around the building and make sure all tables and chairs supplied have legs at every corner. This gives them stability just in case a child decides to climb up onto them. If possible avoid having corners at all or go for less pointy ones, something that is lower than the average adults knee could be the height of a child’s eye, mouth nose or even tummy.

Medical centers are a great source of information, most will be more than happy to oblige if you ask for details of injuries in children of certain ages and how they were caused. It is never a happy time when a child comes to harm but from one experience, if further injuries of the same nature are avoided then all has not been in vain. They cannot provide you with personal details but the information alone of recent accidents can show a toy or piece of equipment that seemed like a good idea at the time, to be one that is best avoided.  Remember that any outdoor equipment should also be included when taking safety into account and that everything out and indoors is age appropriate for the children who will be using it.

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Finding a Safe Day Care Center

Do you know what to look for to find a safe day care center for your child? This is one of the most frequent concerns for parents looking for a new day care center. How do you know your child will be safe? Parents may often assume that simply because a day care center is licensed by the state it is a safe facility, but this is not always the case. Requirements for day care centers can vary from one state to another. In some states, the codes are much stricter than in other states. In addition, there may be safety measures which may or may not be addressed at all. For instance, while carbon monoxide detectors are recommend for use in all residential areas, not all day care facilities have them, nor are they even required to have them in many states. It should also be kept in mind that enforcement of safety regulations can vary among the states, so it is crucial that parents perform due diligence to make certain they choose a facility where they can be assured their child will be safe.

It does take time to complete a comprehensive evaluation of a day care center, but it is certainly worth the time investment. First, plan to make an initial visit to the facility and speak to the director or manager. It is also a good idea to plan a second visit on a different day and at a different time. This will allow you to see precisely how well children in the facility are supervised during various times, such as outdoor play, mealtime, and class time.

One of the most important factors to use in determining whether a day care is safe is the staff to child ratio. The simple fact is that when a caregiver must look after too many children, injury risks are naturally increased. You also need to consider group size in each room. When there are too many children in one space, the result is increased chaos and noise, which make proper supervision more difficult.

The number of caregivers the facility has will vary based upon age and group size. According to the American Public Health Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants up to age twelve months should have a child to staff ratio of three to one. That same child to staff ratio should be maintained for ages 13 months up through 24 months. The ratio increased to four to one for children ages 25-30 months, and goes up to five to one for ages 2 to 35 months. Increased ratios are considered allowable for older children.

While child to staff ratio is important, you also need to consider the qualifications and experience of the staff. These two elements can directly affect the safety of children in the day care center. What type of training does the staff have? Have they been trained in proper CPR and first-aid techniques? Have they received training in early childhood development? Do they know what to do in the event of an emergency? Does the center have protocols in place to handle emergencies?

It is also important to ask if you can take a tour of the facility. This can be a prime opportunity to observe on your own whether the day care center appears clean and safe. Observe the furnishing and equipment. Is it up to date? Do the furnishings have rounded corners? Does the play equipment appear to be safe? Are non-toxic play materials offered to the children? Is there a fenced play area available outside for the children?
When possible try to schedule a visit during a meal or snack time. Observe the quality of the food offered? Is it healthy? Is the center able to accommodate special diets and/or allergies? This can be extremely important if your child has a serious allergy, such as a peanut allergy. Are children well-supervised during meal time?

Finally, make it a point to find out about the center’s discipline policy. What type of discipline is used in the center? How does the center communicate with parents if there is a problem? Are parents provided with weekly update and progress reports?

While it might seem challenging to locate a  safe day care center where you can entrust your child will be well-cared for, due diligence can help you in weeding out questionable day care centers and focus on finding a center that is committed to your child’s safety and well-being.

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Screening a Child Care Provider

How to Screen a Day Care or Child Care Provider

You are getting ready to head back to work after your maternity leave is over, but now you must make a decision on what kind of day care or child care provider to hire to take care of your new baby. Parents these days want to make sure the person or place they hire to take care of their precious children is safe and secure, and who can blame them?

Here are some things you should do when screening a day care center or a child care provider for your children:

Find out if the person or facility is certified and/or accredited—this is vital if you want your child to be safe. Anyone who provides care for children should have certification in First Aid, as well as in CPR in case of any emergency. It is also a good idea if they are certified in Early Childhood Development. Plus, you want them to have all of the required licenses for your state. If any of this is missing, then pass on that person and go on to the next day care center on your list.

Ask if background checks are conducted on everyone at the facility – Parents can’t be too sure these days who is working with or around their kids. That’s why you should insist that background checks are done on everyone, whether it is the janitor or the person who actually takes care of your baby. After all, these people are unknown to you and you want the safest and secure environment for your baby as possible.

There is no such thing as being too careful when screening a potential child care provider. After all, this is a stranger with whom you’re entrusting your children. It’s a scary thought in some ways, but when the relationship works, it provides for a safe and nurturing environment for kids and more flexibility for parents. In the end, it’s often your instinct (gut feeling) that will guide you to a provider who is not only qualified, but is the right fit with your family.

Be cautious if you are considering using a babysitter co-op

It’s nice to save money, but if you are considering using a service that shares babysitting or daycare duties amongst a group of neighbors, be very cautious! They may not all have proper First Aid training or they may not have very much experience and you also can’t control who goes into the home and who your child might be exposed to! This sort of care might be better for older children who are capable of letting you know what goes on every day, but not for infants.

Ask about staff to child ratios of care and other important factors

It is also recommended that parents always ask about how the day care runs and be careful with things like the ratio of providers to the amount of kids, because you want personalized care for your child. You don’t want him or her lying all day in a wet or dirty diaper!

Also, be sure to ask about the reputation of the center and how they handle emergencies such as sick kids or other issues. Plus, if your child is older, ask about things like daily activities and if they provide any sort of early learning program for toddlers, etc.

Be sure to visit the center and stay to see how it is run

When trying to decide if you want to place your child into a specific day care center, be sure to spend a day or at least a few hours at the center and watch it in action. This will give you a better idea as to whether it is the type of environment you want your child to spend 8-10 hours a day!

Talk to other parents who are there dropping off or picking up their kids and get their feelings and opinions on the place. If other parents are giving it glowing reviews, then it may be a good place, but if they seem hesitant, then it’s probably not somewhere you want your child to be.

Don’t use the first place you find

You need to not be in a rush to choose the very first day care or babysitter on your list just because you need to get back to work. You should even start looking while you are still pregnant, as this will make your search calmer and not so desperate. If you are in the frame of mind that you must find a day care option, then you may not be as diligent in choosing one.

Make a list of all the available options and be sure to put down the pros and cons of each one. Then, you can interview people at each of them, as well as interview parents that go there, and once you have done all this background work, you will be in a better situation for choosing a safe and secure place for your child to spend his or her day.

Children are very precious and they should be kept safe and protected. You want their time at a day care center or with a baby sitter to be as rewarding and safe as possible. If you must work every day and leave your child at one of these places, be sure to screen them carefully and choose the one that is best for your precious baby.

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Benefits of Day Care

Day care centers and the day care service itself came into existence to address the need of parents for someone who would take good care of their children while they are on a trip, at work, or when preoccupied by essential activities or tasks. As everyone knows, there are different types of day care services that can be opted. There are day care centers established by local communities or run by private companies, there are day care facilities near or inside workplaces, individuals who independently offer child care and sitting services, and some neighbors are also providing the service for profit.

The following are the benefits or advantages of availing the services of a day care center or provider. And as can be observed, they are not only intended for the good of the parents but for the child as well.

-          Parents can work with fewer worries about their child. Day care service providers act as the temporary parents of a baby or a child while parents are away or at work during the day. The center or facility on the other hand serves as the child’s temporary home. The need to entrust a child to a day care center is prevalent especially if both the parents have work during the day. Moms in particular will no longer have to feel the need to sacrifice earning or their careers to take care of the baby during the day.

-          Day cares provide early childhood education. From the moment a child is born, the learning and development process never ceases. But when parents fail to provide the needed attention and assistance in constantly educating a child, the learning process becomes slower. Day care centers fill in the gap or suffice this need. These child care centers become the first schools or centers of education for a child. Aside from playing and child or babysitting, most day care centers have incorporated learning activities and lessons for most kids.

-          Day care prepares a child to kindergarten or formal education. Related to the benefit of providing early childhood education, the day care setting is also a good training and exposure for a child before he or she eventually enters kindergarten and elementary education. Children can learn the values of education, how to properly behave during learning or teaching sessions, etc.

-          Day care centers help develop the social and cognitive skills of a child. Another developmental benefit of day care for a child is the ability to enhance or develop the child’s social and cognitive skills. In a normal day care setting, it’s usually a group of toddlers or children. Hence, this is one of the best times for a child to meet, mingle, play, and be friends with other kids and to get familiarize or recognize a social environment. These early childhood skills will be the foundations of behavior and social intelligence of a child in the future.

-          Ensuring safety of children while parents are away. After ensuring that you have entrusted your child to a licensed and reputable day care center or service provider, you have at least removed the agony or worries on the several risks and dangers that may be inflicted unto your child. This is certainly true for companies which feature a separate child care area for their employees.

-          Day care can help improve parenting skills. Before day care teachers and other personnel are licensed or accredited to provide day care services, they are trained to become role models and ideal parents. They are familiar with every child’s needs, controlling emotions or behavior, child nutrition, and proper child care in general. New parents can certainly learn from day care center teachers or child care providers.

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