Daycare costs a lot of money, but when the single mom is searching for affordable childcare, she worries that she may be putting her children at risk by putting the cost at the top of her list of priorities. It’s possible to find high quality daycare at lower price,s and at the same time put your mind at ease on the well being of her family while she is at work. During the interview, make sure you get satisfactory answers to some basic questions.
Licenses, Accreditation and Compliance
Ask the childcare provider if they have been licensed by the state. Also ask if they have been accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Not all states require that the staff of licensed child care facilities undergo a background check before they hire staff. Ask what kind of checks have been made on all employees and make sure that they have all had a criminal background check.
Ask how many of the staff have been trained in first aid and CPR. Does the facility have a policy of a trained staff member being onsite at all times? It doesn’t make any difference how many of the staff have been trained if they aren’t working on the day your child may need help.
The Better Business Bureau and the local health and social services department will have records of any complaints that have been filed against the provider. Take the time to check with these sources to find out if there have been problems in the past.
Check the Surroundings
Take a careful look around the facility. Do play areas seem safe? Be on the lookout for furniture or equipment that has peeling paint or sharp edges that could harm your child. While you’re looking around, check for cleanliness. Pick up a few toys and make sure that they are clean and safe for the age of your children.
It’s best to visit the potential childcare provider when they are open. You can judge if the staff is relaxed and the children happy. Some people are meant to work with young children, and some people are capable of working with young children. A few minutes of observation will show you the difference. Maybe you’ll be able to witness a conflict and learn how the staff handles it.
Are the children playing at structured activities or are they basically left to amuse themselves. Is there good communication between the children and the staff?
Do a quick sweep of the area looking for cleaning supplies or medicine that may not be properly stored. Scissors and other materials for activities can be dangerous for young kids and should not be lying out.
Many single moms need a bit of flexibility in the pick up and drop off time set by the childcare provider. Ask how strict they are if mom is running late.
How will the center communicate with the parents? Will you have a chance to speak with someone daily, or will they communicate with you only when there is a problem so as not to take attention away from the other children in their care?
Make sure that you agree with the discipline practices of the staff. How will they handle issues with toilet training or picky eating habits?
Make sure that emergency contact information for your family is easily accessible, just in case. Make sure that parents are welcome to drop in without notice.
Finally, ask about emergency plans and where the children will be taken in the event that the area has to be evacuated.
Once you have satisfactory answers to these questions, leaving your children with a new daycare provider will be less stressful.