Finding day care

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Mai - posted on 02/26/2010

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First, make a list of what's acceptable to you! If you're putting an infant into childcare - do you want to know how often and when your baby was changed, fed, slept, etc? If it's a toddler, what sort of structure do you want your child to have (some curriculum) or is it more important to you to have a nurturing environment where free play is encouraged. Some kids need the structure and others reject the structure. Also, what is their policy about meals and potty training? Is it in line with your family's life style and if not, will they accommodate your requests? If it's a pre-schooler, are you concerned about school readiness? Then, check your state's site for licensed facilities (it should list facilities as large, medium or small). After selecting a few from the site, make appointments to visit your selections (i.e. in the morning) and then request a follow-up visit for the afternoon. (there may be a night-and-day difference, which I discovered at one visit to a center.) Find out their policies about "sick" babies/kids, what they do with soiled clothing (i.e. wash, rinse or just put in plastic bag for you to pick up a the end of the day). Meet with the direct caregivers, ask how long they've been with the particular home or center. Make sure that you can stop in unexpectedly and do this for a while/periodically - you'll get a better sense of what your baby is experiencing on a regular basis (i.e. are they in a stroller or baby swing most of the day, do they get outside time, are they happy, etc).
The things important to us were: cleanliness, safety, adult to child ratio, documentation of our kids days so we knew when diapers were changed, what they ate (and how much), how they napped, etc: limited exposure to tv/videos and more time to play and be creative - we've got boxes of their artwork/handprints/etc...and above all else, a good bond with their caregiver. Expect the separation anxiety, but if there's a good bond and trust, this will subside during week 2 and eventually, your child will be rushing you out the door so that they can get to their friends and teacher/caregiver. Good luck!!!

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We looked at the States Website for licensed Daycares/Ministries. (I think each state should have one). It gives you a detail description on what their citations are, the date, and if it was taken care of. Ask your coworkers/friends. We also asked the childcare leader at church if they knew of any moms willing to watch kids. Make sure you make multiple visits!!!

I wish you all the best. It was the such and exhuasting task to do

Erica - posted on 02/23/2010

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Check to see if your state has an online listing of licensed daycares. We searched our zip codes and just visited different ones and went with the one that we felt comfortable with.

Ashley - posted on 02/23/2010

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I asked my coworkers who they used. There is a day care center across the street from my company and I didn't even realize it. My husband & I checked it out. The center was clean, the staff was helpful, and we received a discount due to my employment. I hope you have as good of luck as we did.

Cheryl - posted on 02/23/2010

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I looked up a referral agency. Called references. Visited the place MORE than once and last but not least I went with my gut feeling about the care provider. Look at the other children. Are they happy? Are the care providers happy? Is everyone fingerprinted and do they have background clearence? Call moms that have kids there.

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