How to Select Childcare
Choosing childcare can be a difficult decision for parents. There are various factors to consider: how many hours does your family need care for, location and cost. So how do first-time parents looking for a different center decide?
One of the most important things is to tour the facility. With the COVID-19 pandemic this may not always be an option; if possible request other virtual tour options. Getting recommendations from trusted friends and family is a good way to get started.
Some things to look for when you do tour a center virtually or in person include:
- Watch how staff interacts with the children. You want warm, kind, responsive caregivers for your child.
- A stimulating environment – warm and inviting
- Security – ask about cameras, are doors locked and secure?
- Clean and healthy setting
- Safe environment – look or hazards
Questions to Ask
- What are the hours and cost?
- Do they have openings or is there a wait list?
- Philosophy/ mission statement
- Qualifications and experience of staff
- What is the immunization policy?
- How are meals provided?
- How does the center communicate with parents?
- What are the policies on screen time, discipline, transportation, and sick staff or children?
Choosing a center whose mission and philosophy mirror your own family’s values is so important. Having a caregiver for your child that you trust and respect can alleviate those concerns and worries when you are away from your child.
By Patricia Bates, Family Life Educator, Women’s and Children’s Community Outreach Education, Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center