Finding Good Child Care
A lot of firsts in your child's life will make you smile: first laugh, first step, and first word. One first that isn't as appealing is the first day you have to leave your child with someone else. Preparing yourself by learning the options and choosing the best care can make that day less stressful. Below are a few suggestions to consider when making your decision.
Types of Child Care
In general, there are three main kinds of child care to choose from. Each has its own unique considerations for your particular situation and what you will be comfortable with.
- In-home care lets your child get one-on-one attention from a caregiver who comes into your home. That gives you a flexible schedule, but you'll need a plan for times when the caregiver isn't available.
- Family child care takes place in the home of the person caring for your child, who often also has a young child. Experts say family child care works best in small groups (no more than six kids).
- Center-based care handles larger groups of children, who are usually grouped by age. Group care often has a consistent schedule and several staff members.
Nine Steps to the Best Choice for Your Family
- Compile a list of child care providers that you think may work best for your child(ren). Usually 3 to 5 is best. A few important questions to consider might include:
- What kind of experience and training does the caregiver have?
- Is the facility or home licensed or accredited?
- How is food prepared, and where will the children eat?
- What are the policies for how the caregiver will handle children who are ill or become ill?
- Is the facility clean and kept up?
- Are there proper safety features such as smoke alarms and outlet covers?
- Can the children play outside safely?
- Is the facility secure?
- What is the ratio of adults to children?
- Call the providers, and get some basic information. Find out if they have any openings, what age of children they serve, what are their fees, what are their hours, and other critical information.
- Call back the providers' centers/home daycares you think would likely best suit your needs and arrange a time to visit.
- If possible, don't bring your child along on the first visit so you can ask questions, be observant, and focus on finding out what you need to know.
- Ask for the providers' policy book or parent handbook, brochures, or any additional written information they have.
- Review the information from the providers you visited, and narrow down your list to the top 1 or 2. Visit these providers again, but this time bring your child along and see where he/she seems to feel most comfortable. 7. Call the State of Kansas Childcare Licensing Division at (785) 296-1270, and make sure that the child care facilities you are favoring are appropriately licensed and don't have any complaints or pending investigations against them.
- Call the daycare you like the best, and register your child! *(Instead of calling, you could go to the daycare to register your child. If you show up unannounced, you can see how the daycare is run when they aren't expecting a prospective parent. If you like what you see, you can then register your child.) Remember, maybe the most important step is to monitor the care arrangement you have chosen and make sure it continues to provide your child with the quality of care you expect.HealthQuest EAP
The HealthQuest EAP Can Help
Since its inception, the HealthQuest EAP has helped many State of Kansas employees find available and affordable child care from a team of licensed and experienced childcare specialists. The service includes:
- A thorough, professional assessment of the family's needs, with any special considerations, so that the most appropriate childcare alternatives can be determined and all options investigated
- Sensitivity to urgent needs
- Contacting the identified childcare providers and resources to verify vacancies, costs, and availability
- Sending useful educational materials of interest, particularly information regarding choosing a quality day care provider
- Arranging for a follow-up: "How's it going, and what else can we do?" Call within 10 days.
- One-on-one sessions with an EAP counselor are always available to provide help with the often emotional responses associated with childcare and related parenting issues.
Call confidentially 24/7 1-888-275-1205 (Option 7).