Evaluating Your Child-care Provider
As part of the final choice in child care, have your child spend part of a day in the center or home for a “trial.” Be sure you can be easily contacted during this time. Discuss the experience with your child and the caregiver or center personnel.
- Once you've chosen a center, keep visiting whenever you can and watch what is going on.
- Ask questions when you have them.
- Read all notes that are posted or sent home.
- These notes tell you about special events or things your child needs to bring to the center.
- Keep in touch with the situation by periodically calling and visiting to see how your child is doing. Get to know the staff to develop a good working relationship with them.
Things to Watch For:
- Caregivers who seem indifferent or harsh to children, use many don'ts and punishments.
- Caregivers that hardly speak with the children or respond to them.
- Caregivers who discipline children by spanking, shouting, putting children by themselves for a long time, or not giving them food.
- Children who are out of sight or are made to wait for long periods of time.
- Dirty floors and equipment, furnishings that are damaged or unsafe, peeling paint, etc.
- Not enough toys or interesting activities.
- Different caregivers each day — your child may not feel as secure.
- It is normal for children to be upset when they are first separated from their parents - they may even get upset for the first two to four weeks.
But, if your child is distressed for more than a month, there could be a problem.
- Make surprise visits to the center or home and watch what is going on.
- If you think your caregiver is breaking safety rules (too many children, unsafe areas), then call your state authorities.
- If you have doubts, seek new care. Keep in mind that too many changes, however, may confuse your child.