Child care is one of the most important decisions a family makes. It can be tough to wade through all the information in finding the right place to leave your children. Every family is different and each family is looking for different things from a child care provider. It important to trust your instincts and feel confident that you know what environment is the best for your child.
Interviewing a child care provider is the most important step in making this choice.
When interviewing a child care provider, there are several questions you can ask in order to make a more educated choice on what to look for in a child care provider:
- All child care centers are licensed - ask to see the license and find out how long they’ve been in business?
- If you are visiting a child care home - ask if their program is registered or non-registered?
- Numbers allowed vary by home and center as well as the age of the children - ask how many children the caregiver will have at one time?
- How will you hear about your child’s day - a conversation or a written note?
- Is the environment clean and safe? Are there smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and outlet covers?
- Are there safe and age appropriate toys for all children in the provider’s care?
- If you have an infant under the age of 1 year, you need to have a discussion on how the provider practices safe sleep - ask to see where your child will sleep?
- What is the provider’s education and what experience do they have providing child care?
- Has the program participated in any extra trainings to better help your child learn and grow?
- Does the child care program participate in Iowa’s Quality Rating System (QRS)?
- A written agreement may include hours of care, fee schedule and early/late pickup charges - ask the see the provider’s written agreement? The written agreement benefits both you and the provider.
- Have you done a drop-in visit to the home or center? This is a great way for parents/guardians to see how the provider interacts with the children they care for.
There is more to choosing a quality provider then just rates and location. The process requires time and effort. The payoff will be finding a provider that leaves a lasting impression on your child’s future. Be sure to contact Iowa Child Care Resource & Referral Parent Educators at 855-244-5301 for more information on how to select the right child care provider for your family.
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