Making best choice for family

Child care: Making the best choice for your family

Whether you work full-time, a few hours a week or have other outside commitments, choosingchild care is an important decision. You want to ensure your child is in a safe, caring, and stimulating environment, with plenty of opportunities to learn and grow every day. You also want an open, positive relationship with your child’s caregiver(s).

What about part-time care?

Many center and home-based caregivers offer part-time care, but if you only need care for a portion of the day or week, you may want to consider other options.

If you choose to go with more than one type of care, keep the following in mind:
  • If your child has to be taken to several places each day, you’ll all be exhausted.
  • Avoid more than a couple of arrangements in your child’s schedule.
  • Try to avoid frequent changes to your child’s daily routine.
  • No matter where your child goes, make sure he receives high quality care.
  • Pay close attention to your child. Is she comfortable and happy in each situation? Does she seem to be learning and growing well?

Some families choose a combination of
different types of care.

For example:

  • If you work part-time or have a flexible schedule, you might consider preschool or nursery school.
  • Sharing a nanny or babysitter with another family.
  • In-home care by a family member for part of the day, and nursery school for the other part.

  • Understand how children grow and develop.
  • Provide children with a stimulating environment and many ways to learn.
  • Know how to respond to a child’s emotional needs.
  • Work with you and listen to your concerns.
  • Want to help your child reach any goals that you have set.
  • Is clean, safe and has a small number of children per staff member.
  • Has staff who are professionally qualified, fully immunized, and have had police background
    checks.
  • Has areas for indoor and outdoor play.
  • Has a quiet space for rest or naps.
  • Is smoke-free, both outside and inside.
  • Has regular but flexible routines that include a variety of activities appropriate for your child’s
    age.
  • Has a variety of safe toys and equipment that is cleaned regularly and kept in good condition.
  • Serves nutritious meals and snacks.
  • Allows you to drop in, unannounced, for short periods of time.
  • Ensures that inactive screen time is not part of routine activities.

Start your search early, months before you go back to work or (in some places) even before your baby is born. Here are some questions to get started:

  • What kind of care would suit your child’s age and temperament?
  • What hours of the day do you require care?
  • Do you have more than one child who needs care?
  • What fee can you afford? Are you eligible for a government subsidy?
  • Do you prefer a center-based setting or a home-based setting?
  • Would it be more convenient near your home or close to work?
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