Child-care programs must accommodate the varied needs of children of different ages and developmental stages. Young children like planned activities and are very receptive to being in a well-structured setting. Teen-agers may want little more than a fun place to hang out.
You’ll want to verify the program license and experience in the field. What are the supervision ratios of adult staff to kids?
Learn about adults staffing the program and their experience. Ask if staff members are trained in CPR (including infant/toddler CPR) and first aid.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests at least one adult for every two to four infants; one adult for every four to five 3- to 5-year olds; one adult for every seven 6- to 13-year olds and one adult for every 10 teens.
If it is important to your family, ask if they provide for children with disabilities.
Infant care is more than just changing diapers and feeding. Ask some of these questions:
- Do activities encourage childhood development?
- What behavior rules do they enforce?
- What form of discipline do they use?
- How do they identify parent with child?
- Do they require photo ID for kids, parents and staff?
- What are their fees, charge by the hour, by the child?
- Ask for references.
- The facility should have a release or waiver for parents to sign that grants authority for emergency medical treatment recommended by a doctor to preserve life or limit injury. Parents should leave a phone number or, if they are unavailable, who else can make decisions on behalf of the child.
Any release or waiver should stipulate exactly who has the authority to take custody of the child. As an inexpensive cautionary measure, have a Polaroid photograph of the parent and child.