Angie's List: Child Care Providers

Angie's List: Child Care Providers

Angie's List says when it comes to quality child care start hunting for a provider early.<br mce_bogus="1">
Angie's List has compiled 10 tips to help streamline your child care decision-making:

1. Start early. Some of the best child care providers also have the longest waiting lists. It's best to begin your search well ahead of time.

2. Weigh your options. The type of child care you want should be the first decision you make. Child care centers, in-home providers and family care providers offer a range of services. It's important to determine what will work best for you and your child.

3. Make a wish list. Before you begin your search, list your expectations and preferences. Update or delete from this list as your perceptions change.

4. Know your budget and what value and benefit your child will receive from the care selected. Child care costs can be staggering, so consider your options and your budget carefully.

5. Visit the facility. Consider bringing your child with you to observe his or her interaction with the provider.

6. License, please. Know your state's licensing regulations and check that the provider qualifies with no history of violations. Find out whether the provider has accreditation from a respected authority. Providers that are accredited have met voluntary standards for child care that are higher than most state licensing requirements.

7. Safety first. And always make sure providers are certified in CPR and first aid.

8. Check references. Get at least three references, and be sure to review them carefully. If you see parents on-site, ask them about their experiences with the provider.

9. Don't settle. Even if your search gets exhausting, don't settle on a provider until you are positively satisfied.

10. Find a backup in case your provider gets ill or for some other reason can't care for your child. This is especially important for family child care and in-home providers such as nannies, au pairs and baby sitters.

Angie's List Tips: Questions parents should ask

1.) What is the adult to child ratio? The fewer children for each adult, the better. Many states have laws governing the maximum number of children per caregiver.

2.) What are the caregiver's qualifications? Ask about licensing, ongoing training and education.

3.) What's the turnover in staff/teacher positions? Caregivers who come and go make it hard on your child.

4.) Are they accredited? If not, ask why.

5.) How do they discipline the children? Make sure it's consistent with your methods.

6.) Are they CPR certified? If yes, what was the date of the last certification?

7.) Has everyone had a background check?

8.) What would happen in case of an emergency?
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