NSLAP WELLNESS TIP: Preparing for life and work after baby – Child care checklists

The following contains, in part, an article excerpt from Homewood Health™, your health and wellness provider.

The decision about who will take care of your child while you are at work is a very important one. Finding child care that has the quality and convenience you want, at a reasonable cost, will take time and effort.

Tips for selecting a child care provider:

  • Ask friends and co-workers for recommendations.
  • Conduct telephone interviews to narrow your search.
  • Visit at least three caregivers or child care programs. Be prepared to spend at least an hour or longer at each one.
  • Bring your child in to observe them in this setting.
  • Check references. Ask for at least two parent references.
  • Don’t settle. Keep looking until you find the right option.

Questions to ask when selecting home care:

  • How long have you provided child care in your home? How long has the facility been in business?
  • Are you licensed, registered or accredited?
  • How many children is the facility licensed to provide for?
  • What educational qualifications do you (the staff) have?
  • Do you (the staff) have First Aid or CPR training?
  • What are the hours of operation?
  • What is the maximum number of children you will take?
  • What is the staff-child ratio?
  • How much do you charge?
  • Do you charge for vacations (yours and mine)?
  • Do you close during holidays? Am I expected to pay for those holidays?
  • Can you describe a typical day at your home/centre?
  • Do you provide snacks and meals? How do you plan meals?
  • When and how long are children to have rest time?
  • How do you handle toilet training?
  • What child proofing have you done to prevent accidents?
  • How do you handle emergencies?
  • What is the policy on sick children?
  • What supplies/equipment does the facility provide and what is the parent expected to provide?
  • Is parent participation and involvement encouraged?
  • Do you have an open door policy for parents to drop in?

What to observe during your first visit:

  • Is the centre/home well maintained and clean?
  • Are toys and furniture suitable and in good shape?
  • Are the bathrooms and kitchen areas separated and clean?
  • Are there smoke detectors and a fire escape plan?
  • Are the electrical outlets covered?
  • Are children in high chairs strapped in?
  • Is there a comfortable and safe place for sleeping?
  • Is the day care well lit and cheerful?
  • Does the centre/home have a fenced yard with some shade?
  • How does the provider interact with your child?
  • Are you happy with the number of children in the day care?
  • How do the children interact with one another/with the provider?
  • Do you see infants in a playpen or an infant in a swing for longer than a few minutes?
  • Are toys developmentally and age-appropriate?

Questions / observations for in-home care:

  • What is her/his availability?
  • What are their salary expectations?
  • What is their work experience and educational qualifications?
  • How long a commitment are they prepared to make?
  • Are they willing to sign a work agreement?
  • Are they experienced working with babies?
  • What does being with and caring for children mean to them?
  • How do they handle crying? Discipline?
  • Do they have a valid driver’s license and a car?
  • Would they be willing to undergo a background check (e.g. police record check) at your expense?
  • How do they interact with your child?
  • Are they warm and friendly?
  • Does your child seem to like them?
  • Do you have a good feeling about them?

For more information and support in preparing for life and work after baby, along with resources and counselling to improve your health and wellness, visit the NSLAP website at www.nslap.ca. Please note that LAP is your “company” name when you register. When you call the LAP number at 1 866 299 1299, your call will be answered any time, day or night, 365 days per year.