‘It takes a village to raise a child’.
This traditional proverb is often no longer applicable for many modern families. Living away, being reliant on two incomes or generally less involvement from the extended family consequently requires us to hire our ‘village’. Some parents have horror stories about child care providers who were less than admirable in their role. Handing over your child to strangers with blind faith that they are reputable is something many parents have to do. We hope that the certifications obtained translate into a happy and safe experience for our child whilst in their care. When this doesn’t transpire, we are incredibly angry at this breach of trust and are guilt ridden for exposing our child to a less than satisfactory environment. It is a killer!
This begs the question: What makes a good village?
Naturally, nobody will be as emotionally invested in your darlings than you, the parents. However, there are many wonderful child care workers who strive to provide a high standard of care. It can be a mine field researching the many different child care providers available. I believe thorough research is vital in assessing and identifying which provider suits you and your child’s needs. Below are some questions to consider when selecting one.
What do you look for in a child provider?
*How do you want your kids day structured?
We all have the general desire for our kids to be happy and confident. However, break this down to the practical things you want for your kids on a daily basis. Outline what you desire for your children’s daily routine. I personally like my kids to have a structured day where I can tell them what to expect. I find it helps them to stay calm and attentive. Some mothers I know desire a more spontaneous routine which is more in keeping with their objective to create a flexible and imaginative environment for their kids.
*What are the rules?
You want your kids to transition smoothly from home to day-care without confusion. Agree upon a set of rules that you can apply at home that correlate to those in care so that your child isn’t getting mixed messages. They may find it confusing if they have to follow two separate sets of rules. Consistency with the rules helps to establish behavioural expectations that can be applied in all environments.
*How do you like your kids to be disciplined?
Again outline what techniques you use and wish for others to use when disciplining your child. This is important as you don’t want to confuse your children with conflicting techniques or approaches. It’s important to have a discipline plan worked out in advance between the parents and child care provider.
*Are you able to communicate easily with your kid’s primary carer?
I have a real issue with carers who don’t reply to emails or are ‘too busy’ to answer a quick question. You need a good relationship so that you can both communicate issues and thus work together to address the issues. Carers are often required to care for many little ones so it is important to be respectful of their time and that they are often stretch in a very demanding job. However, they have your baby and you have a right and responsibility to clearly communicate your concerns and/or expectations.
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