Quality and different types of care

High quality can be found in any type of care, whether it's a center, family child care, in-home care, or a relative. So can low quality. As you look at your options, remember that your major task as a parent is to pick the best care you can from the choices available to you. If you think you'd prefer a family child care home, for instance, but you've found one good center and three mediocre homes, you might be better off choosing the center. In the same way, if you're looking for centers but...

Recognizing Quality Care

Once you have thought about your child's needs, your family's needs, and how much you can pay, your next step is to think about what really goes into quality child care. There are many different types of care and many different ideas about the ideal environment for children, but no matter what kind of care you're considering, there are some basic things to look for when you are judging the quality of child care. You should be sure to look for care that is safe, that makes your child feel happy...

Your childs needs

You know that if you want peace of mind about your child's well-being while you work, you must Leaving an infant in someone else's care can be difficult, but it is usually harder for the parent than for the young infant. Finding an arrangement that you feel comfortable with is more important than the age at which your child begins care. Sometime between the ages of 7 and 15 months, you can expect that your baby will become very aware of the difference between you and strangers, as well as the...

You and your caregiver

Even when your child is in someone else's care while you work, remember that you will always be the most important person to your child. But your child's relationship with a caregiver is important too, and so it's important that you and your care-giver work together and continue to talk about your child's needs. Parents often feel so happy and grateful to have found someone good to care for their child that they don't express their own concerns for fear of offending the provider. Talk things...

When your child is sick

Children get sick from time to time throughout the year. Preschool children at home catch between six and eight respiratory illnesses (coughs and colds) each year, as well as one or two digestive illnesses (such as diarrhea or an upset stomach). Children in child care centers usually have about the same number of respiratory illnesses, but more digestive illnesses. The number of digestive illnesses is dramatically reduced in those centers with strict hand-washing practices. For a working...

Talking with a family child care provider

Find out about the other children who come to the home for care. Are you comfortable with the mix of cultures, boys and girls, and ages (Having children of different ages can often be a benefit that encourages an older child's caring skills and a younger child's development.) Talk with the provider about how she handles the flow of children during the day. The more children who attend part-time, the more disruptions and changes the group will have to face. There should be a manageable number of...

Inhome child care providers nannies au pairs sitters

If you decide to have someone come into your home to take care of your child, your questions and the things you'll be looking for will have a different emphasis. After all, you already know the atmosphere of your own home. Yet of all the forms of child care, in-home care comes under the least scrutiny by others. You are assuming the role of an employer and must ask all the same things a center director, for instance, might ask prospective child care teachers. Your first step should be to write...

Managing your childs summer

Many child care arrangements for young children are year-round. But during the summer, your family's schedule and your child care provider's schedule may change. If your provider or program takes a vacation or closes for part of the summer, you'll need to find backup care. And if you have a school-age child, your need for care will change dramatically when school is not in session. Even if you've made plans for the summer, school may end several weeks before a day camp or summer arrangement...

Handling child care problems

Chances are you will find an arrangement that will provide a good experience for your child. But there is always the remote possibility that you may find something wrong. If you start having problems with your child care, you'll want to be prepared to take appropriate action. Something wrong could mean a number of things. It could simply be a disagreement you can't resolve. It could be a violation of a licensing requirement. It could be negligence affecting children's health and safety. It...

Child care centers

Call the director of any centers you're considering and make an appointment to visit, so that someone will be available to answer your questions and give you information. You might ask for a brochure or parent handbook before you visit so that you can get some of the answers you need before you go. Read over the following Questions sheet before your visit so you can think about the things that are particularly important to you and your child. Add a few notes on anything you really want to check...

Preparing your child

Once you've chosen care for your child, you'll want to prepare your child and yourself for this important change in your lives. If you have an infant, and you'll be leaving your child in someone else's care for the first time, you can expect that the separation will be hard for you, as it might be for your child. A knowledgeable child care provider will give your baby extra attention and comforting and can also give you some help understanding how to get through this difficult time. Research on...

Family child care homes

You'll want to meet any family child care providers you're seriously considering and see their homes. Before you call a provider, read over the Questions that follow this section. Try to get a feel for the things that might be most important to you and your child, and jot down any extra questions you want to ask. When you make your call, try asking one or two important questions over the phone. If you like what you hear, agree on a time when you can visit the provider's home. Make a copy of the...

Paying for child care

Child care is one of the four major expenses of working families, after housing, food, and taxes. It's important to understand the federal tax credits both the Child and Dependent Care Credit and the Earned Income Credit and to learn about any public or private financial help for which you might be eligible. A consultant at the program that sent you this booklet can give you more information about these credits. You can also call the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) directly at 1-800-829-1040....