Every parent experiences some apprehension when leaving his or her young child in the care of someone else. When you’re new in town, the process of finding a good daycare center or a trustworthy home-based caretaker can seem particularly daunting. Don’t worry, though – these tips will have you on the right path in no time.

5 Tips for Making Childcare Selection Easier

Before undertaking this important endeavor, here are a few tips:

  • Figure out what you need
  • Do your homework online
  • Tour facilities
  • Seek recommendations
  • Check references

Here’s a closer look at each.

#1. Figure out what you need

Childcare is not cheap, so it pays to spend time examining the days and hours you’ll need coverage. Such knowledge can help in choosing among places and options. For instance, a facility that starts charging overtime prices after 6 p.m. might not be a great choice if you regularly work until 6:30.

#2. Do some homework online

Basic Internet searching can help you discover options. Many places maintain their own websites filled with valuable information, such as educational philosophy, religious affiliation (if any), daily structure, and cost estimates. You also may find reviews from customers and employees, which can be telling.

#3. Tour the facilities

Nothing beats actually spending time at the physical location and meeting the staff. Most places are happy to arrange a time for you to observe classes and ask questions. You’ll walk away with a greater “feel” for the facility and whether or not it meets the needs of you and your child.

#4. Seek recommendations

People usually are happy to share their opinions, especially if they feel strongly one way or the other. Ask neighbors, co-workers, people from your church, and the like where their children went or if they’ve heard of any places with a great reputation. Their suggestions can provide a great starting point.

#5. Check references

Lastly, reputable places should be able to direct you to customers past or present who can vouch for the services received. Such inquiries become especially important when hiring a private caregiver to watch your child in a home environment. Contact past clients to verify reliability and quality care.

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