This Is One Of The Most Important Areas For A Parent To Be Involved

Every parent knows how difficult it is to juggle work with family responsibilities.

Currently, almost a quarter of children under the age of five are in some form of a child care center, like a daycare, on a regular basis.

And knowing what is going on in your child’s daycare center is one of the most important things you can do.

Sadly, although childcare workers are doing one of the most important jobs in the world, most daycare workers are only paid minimum wage or slightly over.

Despite this, expenses to run a daycare – most of which are privately owned – are extremely high.

Owners often cannot afford to provide their employees with benefits like insurance and retirement, making the job a temporary one for most and accounting for the high turnover rate across the nation.

Childcare workers are often young women, minorities, and do not have a college degree.

Some are working while attending school and do not have children of their own, and some are young parents who choose the job to align with their own child’s schedule – or to even be able to have their child in the same center while they work.

Many childcare centers do not give more than the minimum training required by the state, and staff is often bare-bones due to cost.

The Atlantic reports:

How can daycare be both a drain on the resources of clients, but also not pay a living wage? For a childcare operation to be considered high quality, one of the biggest factors is child-to-staff ratios, the lower the better…

That makes it especially difficult to increase the productivity of the child-care model. Looking at it from a purely economic perspective, the solution would be to increase the number of children in each facility, while keeping staff levels the same.

Childcare requires extreme patience and vigilance.  After all, we all know how much work it is to take care of our own kids, right?

It’s no surprise that childcare workers are often overwhelmed.  They make far less money than the job deserves, and often tensions run high.

It is a national crisis that no one seems to be able to find a quick fix for.

So, what do parents need to know to look for in their child’s daycare to make sure they are receiving the best care available?

First of all, put yourself in the shoes of your child’s care provider.

Some are inexperienced – not because they don’t work hard or love kids – but because they haven’t yet had their own children.

When looking for a daycare center, ask about the staff and how much hands-on experience they have had with children outside their current position.

Ask about their qualifications and what kind of training the center requires for its staff.  Are they CPR certified?  Are they required a certain number of training hours per year?  The best centers go above and beyond and require this of their employees.

Many centers make a point of hiring mothers because they really understand what’s involved and will treat your child as they would want their child to be treated.

Keep an eye on the ratio of children to teachers.  All centers must follow state guidelines, but with the high costs of running a center and the stress level of the job, many end up short-staffed on a regular basis.

If you feel there are not enough teachers in your child’s room, bring it up with the center’s owners.  They will likely address the situation if a parent complains.  It is, after all, the law.

And perhaps the most basic rule of thumb – does your child seem happy?  Are they excited to go to daycare in the morning and play with the other children or get a hug from their teacher?

Do they keep to a routine in their classroom?  Do teachers send lots of activities home and maintain regular communication, like a weekly class letter?

Is the room clean and organized, full of artwork and age-appropriate centers for play?

These are the best indicators of the quality of your daycare center.

If your child doesn’t want to go after an initial adjustment period, find out why.  Are their teachers impatient or seem disinterested?

Today’s Parent reports: “Teachers are stressed and tired, so they sometimes go immediately to extremes—like ultimatums, time outs or shouting—instead of taking time to talk, problem-solve and offer choices. We’re not all born with the ability to relate to children—to speak to them in a way that gets results. That’s a special skill.”

And remember to treat your child’s care provider with respect and stay in communication.  Stay involved in daycare activities and programs as much as possible.

An anonymous childcare provider recently posted a message saying, “How you treat me is how your child is treated.  Respect and appreciation go a long way,” according to Café Mom.

The post infuriated parents – and rightly so — because no child should ever be poorly treated, no matter the teacher/parent relationship.

But it does show the importance of really paying attention to what is going on in your child’s daycare and getting to know your child’s care provider.

Mommy Underground recently reported on an incident at a daycare center that further proves the need for open communication.

Most centers provide a loving, quality environment for children in their care, but if you feel that anything seems “off,” get to the bottom of it immediately.

Children often spend as many hours in daycare as they do at home.

Do your research — make sure your daycare is a good fit for your child and your family, and stay involved.

What do you think are the most important things to look for in a daycare center?  Leave us your comments.





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