Finding the Perfect Provider
Unfortunately, if you are like many women in this country, you may have no choice but to return to work after the birth of your baby. Any mother who has had to make this decision knows that it is a very hard choice, and one that is fraught with worry and fear. Of course, no one will ever be able to care for, love, or nurture your child as you do, but your goal is to find someone who comes as close as possible.
You may first want to look at family members. Is there anyone, a grandparent who doesn’t work, a sister who stays home with her children, a close, trusted friend who baby-sits in her home, whom you know you can trust with your child? Finding someone who already cares for and loves your child will leave you with great peace of mind in your decision, and you will have the security in knowing that you really “know” this person.
However, just because you don’t have anyone you already know, is not to say that you cannot find a wonderful, trusted childcare provider. You basically have three options: find a provider who comes into your home, find a provider who baby sits in her own home, or find a daycare center.
If you are looking into finding a private provider, whether they will come into your home or you will bring your child to them, make sure you check credentials and get plenty of references – names and phone numbers. Do not hesitate to call these references, ask them specifics, express your concerns, and judge their responses. Also, make sure you call more than one. If the provider only gives you one reference, ask for more. Another thing you should do is ask to go into the home where your child will be, look around, ask about meals, snacks, naptime, etc. Ask if you can come in with your child and observe for a few hours. If your provider will come into your home, ask her to come in and work for a few days while you are home so that you can observe. Install a “nannycam” if you feel comfortable with this. If you feel that it is an invasion of privacy, tell your provider that you will be doing so. Talk to potential providers and ask plenty of questions.
If you are choosing a daycare center, review their credentials and certifications, call a state agency that oversees daycare centers and ask questions, get references, contact these references, go into the daycare and observe, and express your concerns.
Do whatever it is that will make you feel more comfortable, and very importantly, ASK QUESTIONS! Any provider, private or daycare, should be able and willing to answer any and all questions that you throw their way. They should also be open to giving references and having you observe. Be leery of anyone who cannot or will not address your concerns, or who is not open to providing references or allowing you to watch them with your child.