One of the hardest and most important choices working parents can make is deciding who will care for their children while they’re at work. BBB advises parents to take plenty of time to find safe, reliable child care that suits their children and schedules.
“Recommendations from family or friends can be helpful, however, it is still important for parents to take their research further”, said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas.” It’s important for working parents to know that their children are safe and secure so they can give their full attention to their jobs.”
It’s a good idea for parents to take the time to visit facilities, ask about the staff’s training and experience, and find out how the center handles medical emergencies. Children may be spending a large part of their waking hours in a day care setting, so it’s important to find out what kinds of education or stimulation may be offered to help your child develop in the best manner possible.
BBB provides the following tips for parents seeking quality child care:
Visit several facilities or caregivers. Find out how staff is selected and what their credentials are. What is the staff-to-child ratio? How are children grouped, such as by age or stage of development?
Do your homework. Make sure the facility is licensed by the state or local community and whether it carries appropriate liability insurance. Check out the company’s track record at www.bbb.org.
Ask about safety procedures and how an accident might be handled. What will happen if your child is hurt or becomes ill while at the center? Will you be called or notified before you arrive to pick up your child?
Ask about fees and payment deadlines. Is a deposit required, and is it refundable? Are fees charged if a parent is late picking up a child? Are there extra charges for any activities? Are meals and transportation offered? Is financial assistance available?
Inquire about the balance between structured and unstructured activities. What is the naptime procedure? How are babies put down for naps, and how often are they checked when sleeping? What happens if your child can’t go to sleep?
Make sure the center or day care home is clean, with enough space for children to play and adequate safety equipment.
Call at least three parents whose children are enrolled in the program to discuss their experiences.
Ask if your child can spend part of the day in the day care center or home before you enroll. Discuss the experience with the caregiver or center personnel.
Be alert to your child’s reaction and behavior. Allow plenty of time for adjustment, especially in the first day or first week at the center. Call or visit the facility once your child is enrolled to find out how the child is doing and to establish rapport with the staff.
For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to www.bbb.org. To report a fraud or scam, call the BBB Hotline: (903) 581-8373.