Choosing the right child care provider for your family is a big deal. Not only do you want to ensure that you have selected a location and program that will nurture your child and help them thrive, but from a logistical standpoint, the child care option that you select will literally impact your everyday life. So, whether you are choosing in-home care or a local child care center, you want to make a choice that will fit your family’s needs day to day.
Like most parents, we had created a checklist of things that we were looking for in our child care…
Do you know any friends or neighbors with children that attend a particular center? This was a big deal for me. Friends will be honest with you about their experience and will be willing to share their likes and dislikes. They will also likely be able to give you some tips and tricks on how to make your family’s experience successful.
Whether you are looking at a child care center, in-home care, or a nanny/au pair scenario, the price range for these services will vary. In addition to the obvious safety and environmental concerns, you need to make sure that the cost of child care will fit into your family’s monthly budget.
Take a tour! Make sure you interview the providers in person! These are the people that will be caring for your child in your absence. Do they have proper credentials? Are they CPR certified? Is the center clean, friendly and inviting? Do you think that the providers will follow your general parenting philosophies?
This is probably something that you will think of last, but it is quite important! No matter what option you are choosing, you need to understand what the daily routine will look like from drop- off to pick-up. If you are choosing a center, ensure that you are aware of what their hours are. Will they be open at a time that is convenient for your commuting schedule? What will a typical day look like for your child? Do they offer learning activities throughout the day? What time do they take naps? What is their crib policy (i.e.: how long are infants left in cribs)? Does the center provide lunch? What is the food allergy policy?
When we were choosing our child care provider, the number one thing that we wanted was a safe, nurturing environment. In addition to that, we wanted to choose a center where we knew that our daughter would be actively engaged in developmentally appropriate learning activities throughout the day, but in a way that was fun and allowed her to be a kid and let her creativity shine through.
We chose Primrose Schools because upon touring their facility and learning about their policies, Balanced Learning curriculum, getting a general vibe from their classrooms and receiving some excellent referrals from our friends who had children there, it was clear that they were the right choice. We toured several centers, most of which were very nice, but ultimately it was Primrose Schools that gave me the best feeling about leaving my child there each day. You know what they say about a mother’s intuition!
We have been very happy with our decision. Our daughter has done well in each classroom she has attended and is about to begin her Pre-K year there in just a couple short weeks (cue the mom tears)! We feel that she had not only been nurtured there but has also been given the learning tools she needs to thrive when she enters elementary school.
Primrose Schools offers a variety of resources for parents that are trying to decide on the right child care option. I encourage you to check out their downloadable child care checklist, their Pointers for Parents blog, YouTube, or any of the other convenient resources that they provide.