Simple but Important Tips for Choosing a Childcare Provider

Most parents don't like the idea of leaving their child in the care of another person or any type of agency, but it can actually be good for the child to socialize with people and children outside the family. Preschool care can also help ease them into the regular routine and expectations of school. When you're ready to choose care arrangements for your child, note a few simple but important tips that will help ensure you make the right choice for him or her.

Consider your child's personality

Some children are very gregarious and love to be active and involved with other children, while some prefer to be more quiet and play in smaller groups or may need time by themselves to read, construct things with blocks, create their own artwork and do other such activities. Consider your child's personality when reviewing your options; a care facility with lots of children can overwhelm a shy and quiet child, whereas a smaller facility or care in a private home with just a few other children can be boring for a child who is more social.

Note the reaction you receive

When you walk into a childcare facility, note if the staff seem to be aware of your presence and are able to easily monitor who is in the facility as well as being able to see all the exits. If you meet someone in their private home, note if they seem happy to meet you or are overwhelmed and downright exhausted; this can tell you if they are, perhaps, handling too many children and too distracted to take in any more.

Consider the children's attention

Note the children already in the facility or home, or check out the items that would keep the child's attention, if you visit after hours. Does it seem like there are enough toys, art supplies, books and other such items for all the children? Does it have an outdoor area for the children to play? If the place seems empty and deserted, you might ask how the children spend their time.

Consider, too, if there are a number of televisions or even just one large television in a prominent area of the facility or home. This can indicate that children spend much of their time simply watching TV. Some occasional cartoons or educational programs may be acceptable, but ask if they limit this during the day or if the television itself is used as a babysitter, which can be very unhealthy and boring for children.