Child Care Options - Making The Right Choice

Parents need to protect their children for the future. Therefore, one of the job descriptions that goes along with being a good parent is to provide future financial security for the children, including budgeting for the cost of raising a child, arranging for appropriate child care, planning on how to afford college tuitions, and purchasing life and disability insurance.

Choosing the best child care for children is an important decision. When both parents work outside of the home, small children need to be left in "someone's" care. The question is who is the best someone to trust their children's care to.

There are two major types of child care - away from home day care and at home day care.

Away-from-home care can be provided by day care centers of family day care. Children are able to play with other children and can enjoy games and activities that may not be in their homes. Parents enjoy the stability of care - no last minute cancellations from baby sitters.

Another option is at-home day care. This provides one-on-one attention between a child and his or her care giver. Parents also can be sure that their children are receiving care at a secure, stable place - their own home.

Regardless of which day care is chosen, the following tips may help parents in their quest to find the best child-care provider:

Define The Job.

Figure out exactly what you want this person to do, including cooking, laundry or cleaning. Be sure to let the prospective employee know exactly what is expected of him or her.

Get The Word Out.

Ask everyone you know for recommendations. Place advertisements in church and synagogue bulletins, college employment offices, and newspapers. In your advertisement, state the number of children to be watched, the hours you need and salary offered.

Screen By Phone.

Interview prospective care givers on the phone. If you have any reservations after the phone interview, you needn't take the interview process any further. Trust your instincts about them.

Interview In Person.

Ask the prosepctive employee for a face-to-face interview at your home. If you don't trust the person or feel he or she is wrong for the job, keep looking.

Check Out All References.

Ask all final candidates for references, and be sure to check whether the references are valid or not. You can learn a lot about a person from former employers.

Allow For A Period Of Adjustment.

Give your new care giver a bit of time with you and your child before he or she starts, so he or she can see what you do with your child. It also allows the care giver and the child a chance to get to know each other before you let them spend full days together.

Keep The Arrangement On A Trial Basis Until You're Sure It Will Work Out.

Give a two-week trial period to make sure your child is happy. Your instincts will tell you whether or not you've found a workable arrangement.

By following these tips, parents can be assured that they are taking the right steps in finding the child care that best suits the needs of their family.

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