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Marysville, Ohio 43040

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Tips on Choosing Child Care

The Child Care Network has resources available to help you choose and maintain good, safe child care.

The following guide is borrowed from Action for Children. It is very useful for helping you choose and maintain good, safe child care.

It is based upon the 5 Cís:
contract, and
Remember, it is your responsibility to:

-- Interview, investigate, and evaluate each referral
-- Verify the quality and experience of each referral
-- Choose a caregiver and setting appropriate to your childís needs and your personal satisfaction



A smaller group size is better than a larger one. Higher quality programs have fewer children per adult.

Take 5 minutes to observe
Number of children per adult in the group.

How many children are cared for in the group (during the hours you need care)?
-- Are there other adults present during the day?
Where required, ask to see posted license or certification.

Ohio Law for Family Child Care Home

Small: A maximum of six children, including the caregivers own children under age six. No more than three children under age two.

Large (7-12 children): Must be licensed and have a second caregiver.

Ohio Law for Child Care Centers

One adult for every:
five infants (under 12 months)
-- six infants (12 to 18 months)
-- seven toddlers (18 to 30 months)
-- eight toddlers (30 to 36 months)
-- 12 three-year olds
-- 14 four- and five-year olds
-- 18 school-age children under age 11

Remember that licensing regulations are only minimum health & safety standards.



The caregiver you choose will be playing a critical role in your childís growth and development.

Make sure the caregiver is the kind of person who shares your views about discipline, health and safety, and how children learn.

Look for someone you can be comfortable communicating with about your childís care.

Take 12 minutes to observe the caregiver...
-- Face (warm, loving) and voice (calm, soothing, strong but caring)
-- Gets down to the childís level to talk or work with children
-- Seems to enjoy children
-- Evidence of good health practices, e.g., hand-washing
-- Serves nutritious meals and eats with children
-- Uses acceptable disciplinary methods: no physical punishment, and no yelling
-- Promotes childrenís self esteem through positive words and actions
-- Gives children choices
-- Encourages children to help themselves

Questions to Ask the Caregiver...
-- Programís non-smoking policy
Caregiverís years of experience with children
-- Caregiverís training (e.g., CPR, First Aid, Child Development); program accreditation (e.g. National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), National Association for Family Child Care (NAFDC), etc.)

[Studies have shown that trained caregivers provide a higher quality of care. Types of training can include CDA (Child Development Associate), 2-4 year degrees in Early Childhood and related fields, and state-required training.]

-- Discipline practices/child management techniques.



Higher quality programs have a variety of planned activities to help children develop physically, mentally and socially. Program activities should be suitable for the childís stage of development and individual interests.

Take 20 minutes to observe...
-- A balance of active and quiet activities
-- Safe, fun outdoor play space
-- Relaxed eating time with nutritious food
-- Safe and child-proofed activity areas
-- Activities suitable for age of child
-- A variety of appropriate toys, books and materials
-- A clean, bright cheerful setting
-- Children enjoying themselves
-- Children/caregivers working cooperatively to create activities and solve conflicts

-- For a tour of center or home to see where child will eat, sleep, and play
-- The daily schedule? (Activities you were unable to observe.)
-- What will happen if your child doesnít want to eat, nap or participate in activities?
-- What are the plans for fire and other emergencies?
-- What are the safety precautions for pools/water play?



It is best to have everything written down so that parents and caregivers clearly understand their responsibilities. Ask the caregiver to show you the written agreement and program philosophy.

Take 15 minutes to read the written agreement and discuss...
-- Cost, late fees, method of payment
-- Pickup times/arrival times

-- References (check them out)
-- Police checks
-- Other adults in contact with children in home/center
-- Who will be doing substitute care?
-- Turnover rate of center caregivers; length of operation of child-care home



It is important to know the best way to maintain ongoing contact with your childís caregiver.

Take 8 minutes to observe
-- The way you were greeted (on the phone and in person)
-- Methods of communication, e.g. notebooks, bulletin boards, photos

-- How information will be communicated to parent (e.g., progress reports, daily/weekly notes, etc.)
-- The best way for caregiver to receive information from parents (e.g., note, phone call, conversation at pick-up or drop-off)
-- Where should problems with your childís care be directed?


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