Choosing The Right Day Care

Choosing The Right Day Care

Choosing the right day care for your child is an important task that requires a lot of research and careful planning before you make a commitment. As parents, most of us would love the opportunity to stay home with our children all day, every day, being their primary source of entertainment, education and care. Unfortunately, work, career and continuing our own education are an important part of parenting, providing us with the financial means to care for all of our child’s needs.

Leaving your child with strangers is difficult, even if it is a group establishment. If you’re fortunate, you may have a trusted friend or family member willing to come into your home, or care for your child in their home for a fee. This cuts down on the amount of time you have to spend getting your child packed and ready before driving them to day care each morning. In-home care also means you won’t have to race to pick them up on your way home each night, especially if the center’s hours end shortly after your workday. One disadvantage to having a friend or family member provide day care is that your child may not get to socialize with other kids in her age group the same way she would in a fully-staffed center.

Staffed day care centers can be a great environment for helping to educate your young child before they enter into school, providing them with an opportunity to socialize with other children in and around their age group. It is important that you research the day care centers in your area before making a commitment. Talk to other parents and ask around about the facility’s reputation. Stop by and take a tour of the center on your day off, and be sure to ask about the staff’s credentials and whether the site is state certified. Are the staff qualified to work with children and provide them with early education skills? Are they certified in CPR and first aid in case there is an accident on site? If they are not state certified, move on and keep looking.

While you’re doing research, you’ll also want to take into consideration the distance of the different centers you are researching from your home and workplace. Getting children ready in the morning before work can take a lot of time, and putting too much distance between your child’s daycare and your job could become a problem. It could also mean you are a fair distance from the center in the event of an emergency.

Cost is another factor you need to consider. Depending on your location and the age of your child, daycare can cost you anywhere between $100 and $250 per child each week. Some centers may give you a small discount if you have more than one child enrolled in the facility, but not every day care provider does this.

Give yourself enough time while researching day care. Some centers may have a waiting list, and it could be a few weeks to a couple months before they have an opening for your child. This is often an inconvenience for parents, but don’t rush into the first easy solution that comes your way. Keep looking, and keep doing your homework about every day care center you are interested in. Once you do find the right day care for your child, make sure you save all of your receipts. Child care is a tax write off, but you need to provide proof when filing your taxes in the way of payment receipts.

Trusting your children with someone else is one of the hardest things we as parents have to do, but in order to keep putting shoes on their feet, clothes on their backs and food on the table, many of us don’t have a choice. That is why it’s imperative that you take your time and do all your homework, since you’ll be trusting strangers with the care of your child for 6 to 8 hours a day.

Photo via: Sitter City

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