Safe and Affordable Childcare: 4 Questions You Must Ask

by Reanne Agbayani

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Photo by Pixabay

Written by: Laura Pearson of Edutude (www.edutude.com)

At Edutude, we recognize that every student has great potential. We believe this to be true even for bright young minds that don’t feel engaged in the traditional classroom setting. Through our combined experience of raising and teaching children, we know that education doesn’t have to adhere to the rigid curriculum requirements that are often implemented in classrooms. In fact, it can be way more beneficial for students to have fun while they learn!

The process for choosing a childcare provider can start as early as during the pregnancy. While this may seem like putting the cart before the horse, many parents need a plan to budget for childcare and, naturally, want to find a beneficial mix of safety and affordability.

To find the right care at the right price, parents need to know the right questions to ask. The more prepared you are, the more you’ll be able to strike a balance between cost, safety and care. Of course, every parent wants their child care provider to love and care for their child like family. There is no pricetag on the sense of relief you’ll feel when you know that your child will be properly cared for.

Question #1: What can I afford?

It’s best to start off with the information you know, and that’s typically affordability. Research different childcare providers and create a list of those that fall within your cost range. You can check out their websites, but many will require you call to get an estimate. This is also a great time to see if you qualify for any childcare financial assistance. Employers who offer Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) can give you the opportunity to pay for child care with pretax dollars. Consider other cost breaks that could apply to you, like the the child and dependent care credit.

Question #2: What are the provider’s childcare rankings?

Once you’ve secured a list that matches your budget, it’s time to narrow down. The first thing to look at is licensing and ratings. Child care providers need to be licensed with your state and even some cities have specific guidelines. You need to make sure that the providers you go after have top marks when it comes to safety, healthy habits, teacher to child ratios, certifications, leadership qualifications and other child care quality indicators. You can contact your local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against the provider, or if the child care facility has ever fallen out of compliance.

Question #3: What are the teacher qualifications?

The person who will be caring for your child isn’t just a babysitter — he or she is an educator, a comforter and a caregiver. That’s why you have a right to know — and understand — his or her qualifications. You should also inquire about the qualifications of the teacher’s assistants and those in supervisory and leadership positions. Be sure to ask if background checks and drug testing is required of employees. When you call the provider, ask specific questions about their childcare workers’ safety rankings and any incidents of and explanations for hazardous situations that have occurred at their facility.

Question #4: Are the employees happy?

Why does it matter if the child care workers are happy? Shouldn’t you only be concerned with the children’s happiness? The truth is, the two are inextricably linked. A childcare worker with high job satisfaction will take much better care of your child. It’s not a guarantee, of course, but many studies show that across all industries high job satisfaction leads to more productivity, less turnover and better performance. How can you find out about job satisfaction? Check out sites like Glassdoor, conduct searches for the company on social media and other online review forums. You can also consider interviewing the employees when you stop by for a site visit.

Finding the best childcare provider that fits your child’s and your family’s needs is a very important milestone. Start your search early, know your needs and budget, and ask the right questions to make sure your child gets the right care.

 

 

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