Expert Advice on Choosing Child Care

Expert Advice on Choosing Child Care

Every parent knows that choosing the right child care provider is a big decision. You want your children to be safe and secure when you're not around.
MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com) - Every parent knows that choosing the right child care provider is a big decision. You want your children to be safe and secure when you're not around.

Ashley Wiley is expecting a baby girl this October, which means it's time to start searching for child care now.

"We have started searching for daycare options and it is quite stressful," she said. "I've looked at in-home daycares, I've looked at church facilities. I've looked at daycare facilities. Not really knowing yet what we are going to do. I've gotten quotes from all three, so we are still trying to make a decision."

According to Angie Hicks, co-founder of the consumer website Angie's List, "You need to start your search for child care much earlier than you probably even imagine. About the time that you're telling all your family members that you are expecting is really when you should start looking for child care because there's likely going to be a wait list. You also need to be prepared that you're probably going to have to give a deposit as well so just know exactly what you have to do, but starting early is going to alleviate the stress down the road."

Wiley said she's looking for "a combination of three things for a daycare: price being one of the things as well as safety for our child and also location."

"Finding someone to care for your child is probably one of the most difficult decisions that a parent makes," Hicks noted. "You want to make sure that you've got your child in a loving, safe environment. But in a recent Angie's List poll, 20 percent of the respondents didn't even check whether their child care provider was licensed or had the proper credentials and that is something you must do."

Before you start calling around, create a list of qualifications - sort of like a job description.

Decide what qualities are important, the skills you want the caregivers to have, their level of education and how many years of experience they have.

Once you start the interview process, if you have other children, have them there to see how the provider interacts with them and watch how your children react, too.

Angie's List says once you have found quality child care, your job is not done. You need to stay involved and constantly assess your child care arrangement.

Spend a few minutes each day to talk with your caregiver about your child and make sure to ask your child what he or she does during the day.

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