As a single mom, working is not an option and one of the biggest challenges that we face when working or returning to work, is finding a child care provider.
If you are fortunate enough to have family members who are willing to care for your children while you work, you are lucky but what do you do when you don’t have family members who live close by or who are able to care for your children while you work?
Here are some tips on finding a great child care provider for your little ones:
1. Make a list
Before looking for a child care provider, you need to make a list of what you need:
- Do you have multiple children who you would like to all be able to attend the same day care?
- Are you looking for a day care provider who is open 24 hours, if you have a non-traditional work schedule or if you have to be at work before 9am?
- Do you want a provider with a small ratio of children to provider?
- Do you need a provider to be close to your job or home?
- Would you prefer a day care center or a home day care?
- Do you want a provider who implements an educational curriculum?
- Do you need someone who offers before and after school care?
- Do you have a child with special needs and need someone with specific qualifications?
Once you have decided what your needs are, you can begin your search.
2. Your Search
- Ask friends, family and other parents for recommendations.
Remember, referrals are always the best and can save some time, as well.
If you have children who are school age, ask other parents at the school and when dropping your kids off and picking up, pay attention to the child care provider and day care center vans that usually have their name and phone number on the side.
- Check online
Begin your search by checking sites like National Association of Family Child Care to find an accredited provider in your area.
You can also use sites like Craigslist for home day care providers, as well as Care.com.
- Make some calls
The Child Care Aware hotline (800-424-2246) gives numbers of your local childcare resource and referral agency, which will give you referrals to your local licensed centers and home daycares.
Once you compile a list, start making some calls. Ask the questions based on what your needs are. Don’t forget to ask about rates. If you are still interested after a preliminary phone interview, make an appointment to see the facility and talk to the staff. [Read more…]