What Should Parents Look for When Choosing Childcare

When a parent needs to leave their child in someone else’s care for even a little while. They are naturally concerned and want the best caretaker looking after their child.

What should parents look for when hiring a caretaker for their child? A parent needs to check the caretaker or caregiver’s credentials, documents and certifications; the caretaker should pass a background check and not have a record. They must be qualified to teach, and even perform CPR and first aid. And of course, they need to be able to develop a rapport with the child, have a strong understanding of any needs the child might have and provide a kind and caring environment for the child.

With parents increasingly at work, 1 in 4 children is in childcare in the US. As such, it is crucial parents are hiring the right person for the job. There is nothing more important than ensuring your children’s wellbeing and happiness. We have tracked down some of the best advice you can get on hiring childcare that can make our job easier and ensure we are doing it right.

Ask the Right Questions and Keep Track of Your Child’s Development

“First, you need to understand the importance of quality childcare when getting caretakers for your children. Caregivers directly impact the emotional, cognitive, and physical lives of kids and should keep positive interactions. Ensure your musts are well outlined and ask the right questions to avoid leaving your child with someone who isn’t a good match. It is recommended to determine your needs both physically and emotionally. Another vital tip is to ensure your kid’s development needs are being met. Just like we have varied types of caretakers, kids are different from one another and need different approaches to nurturing creativity and independence. In addition, parents should advocate and communicate their family needs every step of the way. Be prepared to speak up, especially if your child has specific needs or needs an extra hand in certain situations.”

Harriet Chan, Co-founder & Marketing Director CocoFinder

Do a Background Check On the Caretaker

“Hire someone from an accredited agency, and do a personal background check. Always prioritize your child’s safety above everything. If you are planning to get a caretaker for your kids, do your research thoroughly and hire someone from a trustworthy agency with complete documents and certifications. These are for your assurance. But don’t just stop there. After hiring someone, do your personal background check about the caretaker you just hired and make sure he/she has a clean record and complete identification cards. By doing all these safety measures, you won’t be worried about your child’s safety which is the most important thing about this matter.”

Robert Johnson, Founder Sawinery

7 Key Points to Focus on When Hiring a Caregiver

“Hiring a professional caregiver for your kids is no easy task, as you will need to find someone you can trust, who is capable of keeping them safe and also fits with their specific needs and personalities. This becomes especially important if you have a child who is living with a disability or has additional care needs, because not all caregivers will be knowledgeable to care for someone who requires those added responsibilities. In addition to having your children be under someone else’s care, allowing that person in your home is an added element of safety that must be considered. When hiring someone through a trusted home care agency, you can rely on their process for verifying previous experience, childcare training or certification, and other standard state and federal background checks. If you are hiring someone independently, follow these guidelines in order to identify the best fit when looking for a caregiver for your children: 1. Make sure that they have previous experience with caring for children. Ask for references from previous employers. 2. Ask if they have any childcare training documentation or certificates. 3. Ask them to provide documentation of their First Aid and CPR certifications (additional certifications may be needed if your child has a medical or intellectual or developmental disability). 4. Even when using an agency, schedule a meet and greet visit before hiring them. In this visit, pay attention to how they interact with your child. Make sure their language and actions are caring and considerate of you and your child as well as how your child reacts to them. 5. Ask them for a commitment– with long-term in-home care; your child will benefit from growing a strong and reliable bond. The instability of multiple different caregivers on an unpredictable basis can be upsetting for your child. So having a written commitment from them for a time period of your choosing, will ensure that this person is invested in growing a healthy relationship with your child. 6. Compare your values and policies on topics like bedtimes, sweet snacks and eating habits, television and media time, and more things that they will be in charge of monitoring for your child. If your opinions differ drastically, they likely will not be a good fit for your household. Trust your gut. As the parent, you know your child best. If you intuitively do not trust that person, move on to another option instead of trying to push the feeling down and convince yourself otherwise. 7. Do your due diligence and check the Child Abuse Registry in your area as well as validating any professional certifications utilizing your local nurse aid registry through the department of regulatory agencies.” 

Nicole Brackett is a Licensed Practical Nurse and the Care Delivery and Education Manager for Homewatch CareGivers; a leading care service.

Question the References and Make a Solid Contract

“If you choose a respectable agency, they will have conducted a background  check and verified references. If you’re going on a friend’s advice, be sure to not only ask for references but also inform the caretaker that you’re conducting a background check. It is recommended that you find out from the references: How frequently the caretaker arrived late, call in ill, or fail to show up 1.Why they stopped using the caretaker. 2. How the children responded to the caretaker -If using the caretaker was a positive or negative experience As a rule of thumb, though, you should always perform your own background check even if the agency you hire through performs their own. Caretaker For Kids Tip #2 – Always write a contract. It’s time to create the contract and make an offer once you’ve finalized your selection. Make sure the contract specifies everything, from the expected working hours to vacation and sick days. Even if an agency has a standard contract, it’s still a good idea to make your own adjustments. The contract not only protects you, but it also protects the new caretaker.”

Imani Francies, mom to a toddler, and an Early Childhood Educator with USInsuranceAgents.com