Choosing A Daycare

zoeysmama2011

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Oct 5, 2012
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What kinds of things do you consider when you choose a daycare for your child? I was rushed into picking a daycare for my daughter, because I had to start work immediately. Now I am having major anxiety about the things I should have checked on and asked about. Overall, it is a good daycare, I just am generally inexperienced in choosing a daycare. Any tips or experiences?
 

Jessi

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Jan 14, 2012
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So ask the questions now! It's okay. While you may have signed a contract, you can still switch after or pull your child from there if you're not comfortable. Or it may be a great daycare and it'll put your mind at ease to have your questions answered.
 

Dorothy

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Oct 4, 2012
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To be quite honest, I do not trust any daycare, my opinon not trying to offend anyone. When I need a babysitter I will only trust my older children or other family members to care for my kids. We help with each others kids so that nobody has to use a daycare, now I understand that not everybody has that option, so if I were to choose a daycare, I would make sure they were a registered daycare, I would talk to others that use the daycare or go online and read reviews on the daycare, and I would pick one that has good reviews on it even if it meant paying a little more, there is no price on too high when it comes to the safety of your child. Also I would just show up and check on how the daycare is being run. Also I would only use a daycare that has cameras for the protection of your kids. Sometimes the people will act all friendly with you and your child when you are there but act differently after you leave. Ask a lot of questions!! Just investigate really well before leaving your child with any daycare and after you choose one, you still do some surprise visits just to make sure they are taking care of your children the way they should.
 

Jessi

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I agree with all of your tips of how to decide, Dorothy.

What is the reason that you wouldn't trust any of them, though? Have you had bad experiences before or are you just afraid of what might happen?
 

Dorothy

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Thank you Jessi. I have had some friends that have had bad experiences with day care not to mentioned all the ones that have came out on the news, it just scared me. That's why I say if I were to have to use a daycare I would check it once, twice, three times and more. One of my friends child was not allowed to go to the restroom just because it was not time for the whole group to go. Now I understand that usually all the kids go in a group and what have you, but what if the child doesn't have to use it at that time, they may have to go before or even after and I don't think it was appropriate have the child wait till he went home to use the restroom which was still almost two hours away, just because he didn't have to use the restroom at the time everybody went. Another account was when one of the children in the daycare liked to bully others children and nothing was done about it. This one friend of mines happened to walk in to pick up her child , and seen one of the workers there jerking a little boy and when she asked the other lady there why she was jerking the little boy , although there is no good reason to be jerking him like, and the worker replied that he wanted water and that they had already had their time for them to get water and that he had to wait. Ok, regardless of the reason, she shouldn't have been jerking on the little boy, which was only around two years old. So in any case I avoided daycare all around and my kids are grown now except for my 6 and 16 year old daughters and I would never advise them to use a daycare unless they investigated really well and even then I would not ever trust any daycare 100%. A couple of years back I think it was, I don't remember what state it was , It was a daycare that they had this van that took all the kids to school and picked them up and such, well one day after picking up all the kids mainly prek , kindergardeners, the lady driving the van left one of the younger children on the bus and it was really hot and the child died. Some of the other kids say the child had feel asleep. Now, just plain old common sense wasn't used here, one you should check your list and make sure all the kids you need to pick up are on there, second when you get to the daycare, have them all line up and before anybody walks out of the van, check all the seats to make sure none of the kids have feel asleep or are still sitting in the sits and then take them all inside and check again. It might be alot of extra work, but it might also save a childs live!! I had a similar situation with my 27 year old daughter when she went to her first day of kindergarden on the school bus, now this is not a day care situation, but it is a similar one because she was in the care of the bus driver until getting to school and when coming back home. Well we lived out in the country and the bus picked her up and took her I was already nervous but I tried to be brave. Then it was time for her to be dropped back off. So I am at the corner waiting with my other younger children, and a bus comes and she don't get out, Im like frantic, and the lady there with me says there are two buses maybe she is on the next, well she wasn't so now I'm totally freaked out, I go back home and call the school , our house was like five houses from the corner, so I run back with the other kids, and call, they said she should of been on the first bus but she wasn't, so they contacted the driver of the bus and then called me back and told me that my daughter was on the first bus, but had fallen asleep is why she didn't get off and that the bus driver had just returned back to the school for the second trip , had walked the bus and found her asleep, and that when they called her she was already walking in the school with her, and asked if I wanted to let her ride back on the second trip and well of course I was so relieved and thankful, but I told the lady I'm on my way to get her. I was so lucky that the lady actually took the time to walk through the bus! But after that, I just starting taking her myself, I was already skeptical about her riding the bus and this just ended it , although it ended good, I just could not take the chance of it happening again. So having had that happen also makes me a little scared of leaving my kids anywhere or in anyones care because of what could happen. Call me over protective but I am who I am. I hope that you can find a good daycare that you can entrust your child with , I'm sure there are still some good ones out there, it just may take a little more time and effort to find a good one, but it will be worth it in the long run.... Good Luck!!:)
 

angiesmom

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Oct 10, 2012
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CHECK OUT YOUR DHS WEBSITE IN YOUR COUNTY, STATE - they might have something similiar, ask parents in supermarkets, library in town, anytime you see a parent ask the daycare question (they usually will have the same answer - & they will know whos the best in your town, i would find a daycare with a video camera live feed, you can check a website see your baby at all times - your baby looks real little PEOPLE ARE CRAZY NOWADAYS - DEFINATELY FIND A DAYCARE WITH CAMERA -I WOULD SAY 75% OF GOOD DAYCARES HAVE THEM (find out why your daycare doesn't have one - it would scare me - it would make me think what are they hiding)


good luck


FINDING CHILD CARE
Choosing child care is one of the most important decisions families make. Finding quality child care takes time and effort. We can help! For free, confidential child care information and referrals:
  • Search our on-line database
  • Visit the Office for Children at One Bergen County Plaza, 2nd Floor, Hackensack, or
  • Call us at (201) 336-7150
The Office for Children is open Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 4:30 PM. The on-line database is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Office for Children:
  • Assists families in assessing their child care needs
  • Describes child care options
  • Provides counseling to families on the importance of quality early childhood programs and how to choose a provider
  • Provides free referrals to child care programs in Bergen County
The Office for Children provides referrals for regulated child care options and does not endorse or recommend any individual child care program or family child care provider.
Do you have concerns or a complaint about a child care provider? If you are unable to resolve the issue with the provider, and wish to file a complaint about a child care program, call the DYFS Office of Licensing at (609) 987-2027 (for child care centers) or the Office for Children at (201) 336-7150 (for family child care.) If you have concerns about services provided by the Bergen County Office for Children, contact Phyllis Strohmeyer by phone at 201 336-7150, via e-mail: ofc@co.bergen.nj.us, or in writing to Bergen County Office for Children, One Bergen County Plaza, 2nd Floor, Hackensack, NJ 07601.
REFERRALS AVAILABLE FOR…
Registered Family Child Care - New Jersey regulations limit home-based child care to no more than five children plus a maximum of three children who live in the home. Family child care providers may choose to apply for a Certificate of Registration from the sponsoring organization serving their community, which in Bergen County is the Office for Children.
Child Care Centers - A facility that cares for six or more children under the age of 13 must be licensed by the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services, Office of Licensing. Child care centers are licensed to care for a specific number of children and specific ages, birth through thirteen. Care may be full or part-time. After school care and holiday/vacation care may be offered for school age children. Child care centers include specialized programs such as:
  • Nursery Schools or PreschoolsPart-time or full-time programs for socialization and education.
  • Cooperative Programs(Parent Co-ops) Parents are asked to regularly participate in the classroom in exchange for a lower rate.
  • Head Start A tuition-free preschool program offered for 3 and 4 year olds from low income families (as defined by the federal government). The program offers meals, developmental experiences, health screenings, and may provide transportation.
  • Drop-In ProgramsChildren are accepted as care is needed. Advance notice and registration are usually required. (If the parent remains in the same building, a drop in program is not required to be licensed.)
  • School Age Programs School age programs serve children during out of school time hours – before and after the school day. Some programs operate on school holidays and during the summer. Many are located in schools but school age care is also available in many child care centers, family child care homes,, and community programs such as Boys and Girls clubs. School based programs may be operated by the school or by an outside agency. Programs operated by a school do not have to be licensed.
FOR IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT REQUIIRED VACCINATIONS FOR CHILDREN ATTENDING LICENSED PRESCHOOLS AND CHILD CARE CENTERS, CLICK HERE.
Some types of care do not have state oversight, such as a caregiver coming to your home, care in someone else’s home who is not a registered family child care provider, Mom/Tot story hours, playgroups, and drop in programs where parents remain in the building. While referrals are not available for these types of care, the guidelines that follow may be helpful when choosing any type of care.
CHOOSING CHILD CARE...Visit providers and look for the key indicators of quality before making your choice
Does the child care provider...
  • Seem to be liked by the children in his/her care?
  • Show warmth and friendliness to your child and the other children?
  • Seem to be someone with whom your child will be happy?
  • Make eye contact when speaking with children, and engage in conversation with an individual child?
  • Respect your family's culture and background?
  • Share your values and attitudes about child rearing?
  • Appear to be in good health?
  • Allow visiting anytime? Licensing regulations state that parents of enrolled children may visit any time during operating hours to observe program activities. No appointment is necessary. Parents who are looking for child care and want to observe must be permitted to observe the operation and program activities, but may need to schedule the visit in advance.
  • Have policies for medical situations and emergencies? Programs should have well thought out written plans for dealing with emergencies. Fire drills should be held monthly. Caregivers should have training in first aid and CPR.
  • Require that children be properly immunized? Licensing regulations require documentation of immunization status.
  • Have consistent staff with the children from day to day? It's best for children to be with the same caregiver consistently. Getting used to new caregivers can be stressful for children.
Is the environment...
  • Clean, safe, free of health hazards and attractive? Medication and toxic substances like cleaning supplies must be kept out of children’s reach. Look carefully for possible hazards such as peeling paint, loose carpeting, evidence of water leakage, uncovered electrical outlets.
  • Large enough and adequately equipped for children to rest, eat and play?
  • Equipped with sufficient heat/cooling, light, ventilation?
Does the program offer...
  • Low staff/child ratios and small group sizes? Find out how many children there are for each adult and how many children in a group. Smaller groups and fewer children for each adult are better for children to get the attention they need. The younger the child, the more important this is. Babies need an adult to child ration of no more than one adult to four infants, while one adult for ten children is acceptable for four year olds.
  • Safe and appropriate material that will be stimulating and entertaining?
  • A variety of hands-on activities?
  • Opportunities for children to explore, discover, and learn through play?
  • Regular opportunities for outdoor play and field trips to nearby places of interest?
  • A balance between active play and quiet time?
  • Encouragement and modeling of good health habits and social skills? For example, do children and adults wash their hands often, especially before and after eating, and after using the bathroom or changing diapers?
  • Nutritious meals and snacks? Find out if you will be responsible to provide your child's food, and if so, how the food will be stored and reheated. If the program provides the food, ask to see sample menus.
  • Policies and expectations in writing?
  • Fees and hours that meet your needs?
Did you discuss...
  • Your schedule with the provider?
  • Your child's individual needs? Each child is unique and caregivers should adapt their approach to meet your child's needs. Let the caregiver know what your child's personal style is (for example, how she deals with new situations, if she's generally quiet or active, if he is shy around strangers or enjoys approaching new people.) Is the staff interested in your family's culture and is there staff who speak your home language? Talk openly with the staff about any special needs your child may have that will require any special accommodations.
  • Any allergies your child may have to food, medicine, insect bites, animals, etc.?
  • Handling of emergencies and who to contact? Your provider needs to know how to reach you in an emergency and who to contact if you cannot be reached.
  • Provider's education and experience with children? Caregivers with training in working with children will be better able to help your child learn. Even experienced caregivers should be involved in activities, such as attending workshops, to improve their skills.
 

daisyhongjuly

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Nov 6, 2012
Messages
12
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I trusted my gut instinct and interviewed several daycare providers. I made my choice based on the set-up and schedule, and all the information they provided me, plus how they answered my questions. Then I dropped by the place several times, at different hours to check and see how everything looked and how the kids there were behaving and being cared for. I knew I made a good choice based on my kids' behavior when I pick them up and how they act when I drop them off. Trust your gut! But the post above has a lot of good tips.
 

Jessi

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Jan 14, 2012
Messages
230
Points
18
Wow, angiesmom, that was a lot of great information! Some of those questions are ones that I might not have thought to ask myself when trying to decide, so I'm betting that some are new for other people, too. It's definitely worth going through the checklist.
 

blueberryc

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Mar 5, 2014
Messages
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Visit often and do not be afraid to call. If they have issues with you calling or showing up unannounced then that should be a signal that something is not right. Also talk to other families that are there and see what their older children think of it( like the ones that can talk). You would be amazed at what a child can tell their parents.