By Carol Stovold
Choosing the right childcare choice for your child is never easy. There’s so much to consider. Here are some pitfalls to avoid and points to consider to help you make an informed decision that will be to the best benefit of your child.
Loyalty to Staff
Childcare services can often have high turnover in both centre and home-based facilities. Staff may move for various reasons so as parents always be wary of choosing a service because of an individual teacher/educator. The agency or centre should provide good operational support and assistance from other staff. Ask yourself: Would there be consistency of care and relationships if your favourite teacher/educator was to leave?
Some parents prefer to ask around family, friends and neighbours to find out where their children attend. Because their child uses that service does not mean that it will suit your child or your family. Recommendations are a good starting point but informed decision making is by far the better way of choosing. Visit a variety of services and make comparisons. Which of these did your child seem to really enjoy? Where did you feel most welcomed and supported? The relationships with the teachers, staff and educators are the most important aspect. Do you feel you could talk to these people about your child?
Having an open mind regarding the different options available to parents is essential. Parents are becoming more discerning these days and are more aware of all of the choices available for different childcare (i.e. nanny, playcentre, Kohanga Reo, centre care, in-home provider, or au pair). Each childcare option has its advantages and disadvantages.
Parents can often spend more time researching and test driving a new car than choosing a childcare. Yet this is one of the most important decisions in every parent’s life. Children deserve quality care and education regardless of whether they are attending part time or full time. Find out about staff qualifications, experience and planned activities.
Accepting Mediocre Childcare
If there are concerns that have been discussed and not addressed, or your child doesn’t settle, the best thing to do is find another service that will meet your needs and provide the childcare you seek. A child may only be in childcare a short time but it is the first three years of life that are the most vital in determining your child’s optimum potential.
Rudeness is never acceptable in any form so why is it so overlooked when it comes to children? One of the worst pitfalls is choosing a service where teachers do not engage with or make children feel welcome. If the staff do not have time to greet you and make you feel welcome what does that say about the interactions your child will experience? Parents must not accept rudeness from teachers in any form to either themselves or their child.
What is your chosen form of childcare – nanny, playcentre, Kohanga Reo, centre care, in-home provider, au pair, or something different? What made you decide on that for your child? Share your comments below.