Choosing childcare services seems like it would be simple at first glance, but when you actually get down to the point of having to make the final decision, it can be a bit stressful. After all, you’re entrusting someone to be the temporary guardian of your child while you’re away, so it’s a huge responsibility and commitment to dole out. Fortunately, you can drastically simplify the process and take some of the guesswork away by following the eight simple tips below:
1. Pay Attention to Interaction
Give the prospective childcare provider the chance to interact with your kids in front of you before you make your decision. If it’s a babysitter, have them meet with the children and pay attention to how they interact. If it’s a childcare center, bring your kids with you when you do a tour of the facilities. Take note of how the staff interact with other kids that are there. According to Brightpath Child Care Center in Mississauga, screening caregiver interactions is the first thing a parent should do when comparing childcare service providers.
2. Swing by Unexpectedly
While scheduling a tour of the facilities is a good idea, you also have the right to stop by as a guest without notice. Making a surprise visit will give you the chance to see how the staff behave when they’re not expecting any scrutiny. Of course, this method isn’t very useful if you’re trying to choose a babysitter who will be coming over to your house, but you can use the alternative of inviting them over on short notice, which will help you determine if they’ll be able to respond quickly to your childcare needs in the future.
3. Check Policies
If you’re comparing child care centers, each provider should have their own terms and policies listed on their website or available at their locations. Find a copy online or ask for it at their office and go over it thoroughly. While you don’t necessarily need to call a lawyer to break down all of the fine print, it helps to know exactly what you’re getting into, and you may be able to find certain advantages that one child care center has over another.
4. Ask the Kids About Their Day
You’re never under contract or obligation to continue bringing your kids to a specific child care provider, so it’s always wise to ask your kids how their day went to rule out the possibility of activity that you wouldn’t condone. While this is a good practice to turn into an ongoing hobby, it’s particularly important to ask about your kids’ experiences when you initially start dealing with a child care provider.
5. Choose Between Childcare Centers or Babysitters
Should you have someone come over to your home and babysit your children, or should you take them to a childcare center where they can be supervised by professional staff and have other kids to play with? That’s the question that many parents have trouble with, but the two options are not mutually exclusive, and it helps to have a babysitter on standby in the event that you need child care during hours when the center is closed.
6. Examine Employment Backgrounds
Whether you’re hiring a babysitter or comparing child care centers, it’s always good to know the backgrounds of the people you’re entrusting with your children. The good thing about going through a trusted center is that they typically take care of this kind of screening for you. In the case of a babysitter, going with a provider who has good reviews on social media is another good way to get an idea of how fit they are for the job.
7. Follow Your Instinct
Following your gut is always good advice for parents, so if something intangible tells you that it isn’t a right move, then go with that gut instinct and look elsewhere. You’ll be interacting with your child care provider regularly, so you’ll want to choose people that you enjoy dealing with. Ultimately, you should feel extremely confident in your decisions and shouldn’t have any doubts going forward.
8. Get to Know Your Childcare Provider
Finally, after you’ve made your selection, be sure to build a relationship with your babysitter or the staff at your child care center. Be social and get to know the people who are watching after your kids as and it will give you an extra layer of comfort in knowing that you’re trusting your kids with people you actually know on a personal level.
It’s Worth the Extra Effort
Doing all of the above in order to choose the best child care provider can seem like a lot of work, but it’s certainly worth the hassle when you consider the fact that you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that your kids are in good hands.