Article

Choosing Childcare

What to look for

Ceirra Hoch
Child and Family Charities

 
There is currently a video on Facebook of care takers at a daycare being excessively forceful with the children. I will not share the video, but in the video you can see a woman trying to put a maybe two or three year old down for a nap. She picks the child up and almost throw the child to the ground then tosses the blanket over the child. She then goes and picks up another child under her arm, this time kind of swinging them and throwing the child onto a pile of blankets. She then pushes the other child (who had stood up by this point) to the ground. As a parent myself, this video is more than a little distressing. So how can this be prevented? What can we do as parents to make sure that our children are safe?
Here are some helpful tips when you are searching for childcare;
When starting to search for childcare there are a few ways you can find care near you.
  1. Ask friends and family with Children; I really like this option because then you will already know other parents at the center and the person referring you will have the scoop on what day to day at the center (in home or child care center) may look like.
  2. Go to www.greatstarttoquality.org and go to Families/ Finding Child Care and Preschool. There you can out in your location and preferences and the website will provide you with a list of licensed providers.
Before visiting the daycares check the state Licensing website. This will have any substantiated complaints against the day care, as well as the investigative report and corrective action plan. I have included the link below. If you are not in Michigan, the website will be different, but your state should still have one.
http://www.dleg.state.mi.us/brs_cdc/sr_lfl.asp
From the Website:
“Special investigation reports with violation of rule or statute are removed after 2 years from the site. All child care providers are required to have a licensing notebook on-site and available during regular business hours. The notebook must include all licensing study and special investigation reports issued and related corrective actions developed after 5/27/10. Reports may be obtained by making a Freedom of Information Act request.”
 
Next, spend some time at the center. Take 20-30 minutes to sit in the classroom that your child will be in and watch how the staff interact with the children. During this time you can talk to the teachers/staff and parents that are coming in to pick their Children up. Sitting in the classroom will also give you the opportunity to see the routine and voice any questions or concerns you may have.
Stop in a second time. Seriously. When I was touring day cares they invited me to drop in again to give me another opportunity to meet staff that may not have been working during the first visit and to see different routines during different times of the day.
Questions to ask
If you are starting the daycare search for the first time, or even the second time, you may be wondering what questions you should ask prior to choosing your child care provider. After scouring resources and talking to other parents I have compiled the following list. I have also attached an easy PDF print out for you to take with you when visiting a daycare.
 
 Newborn
Can I visit any time?

 

What is their tummy time policy?

 

Where do the infants sleep?

 

What activities do they do to enrich development?

 

 Nap time (Do they have a basic schedule they stick to)? For infants most daycares are on demand. If you would like the daycare to stick to a sleep routine for your infant, you will likely have to request this and right the schedule for them.

 

Are they pro you coming in to breastfeed if needed if that is what you choose?

 

What is their hiring process?

 

What is the turn-over rate?

 

What training do the staff receive and how often?

 

Are the staff CPR/First Aid Certified?

 

How do they organize bottles and food?

 

How do they warm bottles? (It should be in a crockpot or bottle warmer)

 

Do they have something they will give you each day so you know what and how much they ate? When they napped? How their over-all day was? (It may seem silly, but is actually really helpful to watch for signs of illness and as they get older so they have variety in their diet)

 

How often do they change diapers?

 

Will my child be taken into the community while in your care?

 

What do you need to provide?

 

Are you open holidays?

 

What is you policy regarding illness?

 

Do you charge for sick days?

 

How many sick days can I child get before losing their spot? (Consecutive and yearly)

 

What is your procedure for emergencies?
Toddler/ Walking
What enrichment activities do you do? How often?

 

What is the routine? Nap/ meal/ snacks/ quiet play/ active play

 

What food is provided to my child? (Make sure you ask about accommodations for allergies/ diet requirements if applicable)

 

How do you handle discipline?

 

If they do a ‘time out’, where, how long and for what?

 

How often are the children read to?

 

Can I visit any time?

 

What is their hiring process?

 

What is the turn-over rate?

 

What training do the staff receive and how often?

 

Are the staff CPR/First Aid Certified?

 

Do they have something they will give you each day so you know what and how much they ate? When they napped? How their over-all day was?

 

How often do they change diapers?

 

Do they help with Potty/toilet training?

 

Will my child be taken into the community while in your care?

 

What do I need to provide?

 

Are you open holidays?

 

What is you policy regarding illness?

 

Do you charge for sick days?

 

How many sick days can I child get before losing their spot? (Consecutive and yearly)

 

What is your procedure for emergencies?
More can be found on licensing requirements here
 
Make sure you use your gut when choosing a child care. If something doesn’t feel right when you are going to a daycare, skip it. If you already have a childcare that you feel uneasy about be sure to stop in unexpectedly occasionally.
 
If you feel a child care has violated licensing, please make a report to the state. The day care will be investigated within 24-hours and if the claim is substantiated, they will be required to address the issue.
This can be done online at: http://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-63294_27723_27777_72411---,00.html
 
or by phone at: 866-856-0126