More and more in today’s world both parents have employment and need suitable day care centers for their children. These early stages in a child’s life are very important to their growth and development. Choosing a good child day care center is vital, one where the adult won’t just plunk your children down in front of a soap opera all day and feed them Top Ramen. You should look for day care centers that provide learning programs and playtime for your child, along with a safe and healthy environment.
There are many different types of day care centers, ranging from basic nurseries to preschools that will provide more of a learning environment for your children. Some day care centers specialize in a specific age range, while others are more open. When you’re contemplating placing your child in a specific day care center, you should visit each one with your child. In this way, you can see how your child reacts to the other children who are there and to the caregiver. You want your child to be happy and comfortable.
While some day care centers provide a greater variety of activities than others, any good day care center is going to encourage positive interaction among all of the children. They will also have rules that promote good behavior, learning, manners, and child development. You certainly don’t want to have to worry that your child is going to develop bad habits from day care.
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While you don’t need to go overboard in choosing suitable day care centers, you should approach the subject seriously and with thought. Your child is going to be spending a good-sized portion of his or her life in day cares and you want to make sure it is going to be a positive experience. Family is the most important thing in the world and you should make sure that your children are your first priority.
When you are considering a day care center, you should look at where it is located and how much it costs. There’s not much sense in putting your son or daughter in daycare so that you can work full time and spending most of what you earn on the day care center’s tuitions and your travel expenses. If that’s the case, you might as well stay home with your child. However, if you do truly need the money, there are usually plenty of day care services available and it shouldn’t be too difficult to find one close by that is reasonably priced.
Different Kinds of Child day Care Centers
While child day care centers are common, there is such a huge demand for this service that there are now quite a variety of options available other than basic day care. These include the following:
- Home child care or family childcare
- Child care services
Home child care tends to be the most popular option because it is generally more affordable and a smaller environment. While some day care centers are quite large and can provide better early childhood education, it is also more difficult for each child to receive personal attention. Day care centers that are based out of someone’s home are usually more personal and your child can receive more care and nurturing. Most parents want their children to be receiving love and affection, the care that they themselves would give them. They don’t want a day care business that is merely going to make sure that their child is still alive and adequately healthy.
Home child care providers are also more adaptable, generally speaking. This means that if your child likes a certain song sung to them before they take their nap each day, the home care provider is more likely to be willing to do that than someone in a larger day care facility. Most adult home child care providers are parents themselves, making them better able to understand and love your child.
Other Things to Think About
One of the first steps you should take after picking out a family day care center that you think will be suitable for your child is do a little investigating. This can involve talking to the parents of the other children that use the child day care center to see what they think about it. You should also always check to make sure the child care service you are considering is legally licensed to operate in your state. Licensing officials check criminal records and ensure that the child care provider has emergency response training and a safe and healthy environment for the children.
As mentioned earlier, it is a good idea to visit the child day care center that you are considering. You should do this at least a couple of times, and try to go at different times of the day so that you can get a better idea of what kind of schedule they have. This will help you to see how your own child would fit in.
If you are having difficulties finding the appropriate child care environment for your son or daughter, there are some other options. Some people get family and friends to help out, while others hire a nanny. Adult nannies are a good option because they ensure that your child receives personal attention and quality child care. However, this also means that your child will not receive as much social interaction since he or she won’t have other children to play with like in a family day care center.
No matter what option you decide to go with, make sure that you know who you are leaving your child with. Meet them, get to know them, and let your child do the same. Do some research on the internet to make sure that no one has had negative experiences with the day care center you are considering. Check to make sure that they are legally licensed. Once you have done all of this, you can feel more confident and secure in knowing that you have chosen the right day care center for your child.
One of the most frustrating aspects of being a working citizen is not having the ability to afford childcare. The majority of day care facilities charge as much as $300 per week for each child. That amount is difficult for middle-class citizens to pay. Low-income families cannot fathom paying such an expense. Luckily, the government and the various states have developed programs that help low-income families get the childcare they deserve. The following is some information on those programs:
Extended Day Program
The extended day program can assist low-income working parents during the regular school year. Many school districts offer this program. The school keeps children before and after school hours for a small monthly fee. A parent can drop a child off as early as 7:00 a.m. and pick the child up as late as 6:00 p.m. This program is excellent for low-income workers with daytime weekday jobs. The cost is approximately $150 per month for before and after school. The weekly rate is approximately $37.50, which is extremely competitive.
The attendants participate in various activities with the children before and after school. They help the children with their homework so that the parents have less stress when they come home from work. They give the children a full breakfast in the morning program and a snack in the evening program. Parents can opt to pay for the morning program only, the evening program only, or both programs. The evening program is the more expensive of the two because it lasts so many hours after the school releases the children. The evening program is $100 while the morning program is $52.
The Child Care Assistance Program
CCAP is a special program that provides childcare assistance to certain low-income families. People who are collecting TANF are automatically eligible to receive this assistance. Teenage parents who are working on obtaining their educations are also eligible for CCAP. Those who are not collecting TANF can still qualify if they are pursuing education that will improve their work skills and job opportunities. Parents can apply for CCAP assistance with the Department of Children & Family Services. The financial guidelines for qualification are along the lines of a $3,000 per month income threshold for a four-person family. The applicant must have proof of income, social security cards, birth certificates, and immunization records for all children. Application processing can take up to 30 days.
Head start is a program for children between the ages of three and five. The program provides childcare services and medical services to the children who qualify. It is funded by the Administration of Children’s Services. The Head Start program covers childcare from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Teachers work with the children to fine-tune their social and developmental skills. Those who are interested in the program may apply online. Applicants go on a waitlist until there is an available slot in the program. It is best for an interested person to complete an application as quickly as possible since the wait may be extended.
Child Care Voucher Program
The Child Care Voucher Program is in effect in many states throughout the United States. It provides a subsidy of up to 95 percent of childcare cost to low-income families. Subsidy recipients will choose an eligible provider from the list of licensed providers. They may also select a relative or an in-home provider. The Child Care Voucher Program covers the childcare from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday. This is known as the traditional childcare period. However, the program also covers non-traditional times for parents who work odd shifts. It covers nights, weekends, and evenings.
A wide variety of options is available for low-income childcare. Many stay-at-home moms also run small day care businesses in which they discount their services. There is a way to make working and taking care of your children affordable.
Questions to Ask When Choosing a Day Care
Choosing a day care center for your child is one of the most important decisions you will make in your child’s early years. Many children will spend between 40 and 50 hours per week in day care. Because your child will be spending so much time with a child care provider, it is very important to pick a day care center that will provide a safe and nurturing environment to your child. Here are some questions to ask when choosing a day care.
The first question you should ask any day care provider is if they are licensed. Most state and counties have agencies that inspect day cares, and establish rules and regulations that govern them. If the day care is licensed, find out with whom they are licensed, and contact that agency to see if there are any complaints or violations outstanding against the day care provider. If the day care center is not licensed you should not send your child there. Many unlicensed day care providers do not have proper training, staff, or safety equipment on their premises to adequately provide your child a safe and nurturing environment.
Safety is a huge concern of every parent, and when choosing a day care center, safety should be discussed in-depth. Make sure that all staff members are trained in first-aid and CPR. Make sure that the day care has an AED and eppi-pens in their building and that they are readily accessible. Ask to see their emergency plan, and ask how you will be notified if an emergency or evacuation occurs. Look to see if they have a fire suppression system, and ask where the nearest fire department is, and where the nearest hospital is. While it is improbable that any of these safety measures will be needed, a day care that has all this safety equipment and training is likely to be a quality establishment, where your child will be well cared for.
Another question to ask a day care provider is what the staff to child ratio is. Many states mandate that there is at least a certain number of staff for every child in a day care, and many quality day cares will have even more staff members than required. Keep in mind that younger age groups require more staff per child than older age groups. Most child care experts advise that a day care have a 1 to 5 ratio for children two to three years old, a 1 to 7 ratio for children three to four year olds, and a 1 to 15 ratio for five and six year olds. Also discuss how children are segregated by age. Most quality day care providers will keep infants in a separate room from toddlers, and do not have child that are more than two or three years of age apart in the same room. Like a school, your child should be interacting and learning with children of a similar age when at day care.
When choosing a day care, parents should ask about the activities and resources provided to children. You don’t want your child sitting in front of the TV at home all day, and you wouldn’t want them watching TV all day at day care, so check what your child will be doing all day while you are at work. Most quality day care centers are setup similar to schools, providing learning and instruction to your child, and offering a healthy dose of physical activity and social interaction. Any good day care should be filled with books, art supplies, and educational toys, and should have a playground or gymnasium for encouraging physical activity.
Choosing a day care for your child is a very important decision. Make sure that you ask any prospective day care the questions above to ensure that you enroll your child in a day care that is safe and provides your child with a nurturing environment to learn and grow.