Girl wearing backpack walks into child care center holding hands with a parent

Ten Things That Should be Done Now to Identify Quality Child Care Services

Regardless of why child care is needed, it always seems that parents are in search of help in finding good child care services that they can entrust with those little people who light up their lives.

We’ve identified ten things that can be done to help to make that search less stressful and make the transition to using child care positive and smooth for parents and children.

1. Define Child Care Services Needs Before the Search Begins

It is quite surprising that many parents approaching the time to put their child in the care of a service provider have no idea what they really need from that caregiver. They’ve not thought through contingency plans when/if one or both parents need to travel or how they will handle any sick days that arise. Do their work hours fit with typical child care facility hours? Does the schedule require longer hours and more flexibility than a traditional program can provide? Is the child a student and will he/she be attending school? What is the plan for transportation from school? Are the child care services under consideration the safest and best suited for the child and the family? Often parents are ready to sign their child up in a child care program only to find that individualized care is really what they are looking for.

2. Agree on the Type of Child Care that is Desired

Parents must feel confident that they can entrust their child with the childcare service provider. Is a home setting more appropriate for the child’s needs leading the parent toward an in-home program? There is also the au pair alternative and the decision whether to require your care provider to be licensed and accredited or trust that someone with child care training and first aid knowledge is sufficient?

3. Be Quick to Check Availability

Many parents searching for a child care program are surprised to learn that space in desirable programs is often hard to come by. Summer may bring lighter classes and lower ratios, but come fall or a new year, classes fill and fill quickly. Never assume that neighborhood-based daycares will have openings. This assumption can be dangerous – and leave care-seeking parents with less-than-desirable choices.

4. Get Immunizations and Other Record Requirements Together

Immunizations up-to-date? Assuming that all caregivers do not allow child care services to begin until all immunizations are current, forms completed, and a physical within the last year conducted assures that nothing is missing when the choice is made. Putting this off isn’t worth the panic it causes at the last minute.

5. Lay-out All Supply Lists, Fees and Expenses

Most child care services and caregivers provide supply lists and specify clothing, backpack and shoe requirements. They are also eager to share fee structures and get deposits or payment methods established early on. Since fall is considered a new year for many child care service providers, it is best to find out requirements as soon as possible – and make plans that accommodate them. Many centers also provide optional enrichment activities. Dance, tumbling, and karate are fantastic activities to involve children in, but waiting will only produce disappointment in learning that the classes filled up long ago.

6. Know What the Options Are

First choice may be unavailable. Be prepared with alternative. What is the back-up plan? If a plan is in place for second, third and fourth level options, last minute panic can once again be avoided.

7. Tell the Children

Be sure that children understand when they will be transitioning into child care. Making special plans for the last few days before the changes will take place can make everyone happy and set the transition up for success.

8. Establish “Evening Before” Routines

If children are old enough to reason with, this transition is a good time to start discussing what exciting plans or activities are ahead with child care services. It is also best to prepare them for changes like earlier wakeup times and going to a different place than their older siblings. Establishing routines such as layout clothes and making breakfast choices the night before often relieves stress that children may feel during their transition.

9. Establish “Morning Before” Routines

The child care transition time is a good time to established important routines for the morning that will carry children through the rest of their lives – and keep morning chaos at a tolerable level. Young children learn to wake with an alarm clock and dress themselves.

10. Hear What Children Say and Feel

It is important to really listen to children who are transitioning into child care. In fact, a little listening does more than help reveal any stress or nervousness about their experience but it can inform parents about what is really going on with the child’s care. Parents can learn if their children are making new friends, encourage them and dash any arising fears. Children may reveal what is really important to them – as well as their likes or dislikes. Even toddlers can communicate simply and signal satisfaction or distress.

It is also important to talk with the child’s provider – and to really listen to them, as well, to learn if all parent responsibilities are being fulfilled.

Working through this list of ten can go a long way in reducing parent’s and children’s anxiety levels and preparing everyone in the family for a successful transition to child care. This doesn’t have to be an unhappy time or an event to dread. In fact, in can help children progress or mature to a new level and begin to establish their independence.

Share This

You Might Also Like

Login to Jackrabbit Care

Which version are you running?

Schedule a Demo or Call

See Jackrabbit
Care In Action

Fast & Easy Online Booking

Choose one of the options below and you’ll be directed to our online scheduler to select a day and time.

Woman with brown hair and glasses pointing