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3 tips for choosing child care

While choosing a child-care for your toddler, or in-home care, there are some basic things you should know and insist upon. To help you make this all-important decision, we’ve talked to mothers and other experts who have been in the child-care trenches. Here are three ways to weigh child-care option:

1. Ask for a commitment. Babies need consistent, predictable care. It helps them to form a secure attachment to their caregivers, according to Debra K. Shatoff, a family therapist in private practice in St. Louis. If you’re looking for an in-home caregiver, request that the person you’re considering making a one-year commitment to the job. If you’re considering a centre, find out how long the current caregivers have been working there and how many turnovers the centre usually.

2.Drop by and spy. While word-of-mouth referrals from other parents or trusted resources are important, you need to look at a place for yourself to assess whether it meets your needs. Of course, any child-care environment should be kept clean, childproofed, and well stocked with sturdy books and toys that are age-appropriate.Most importantly, when older children share the space, toys with small parts (choking hazards) should be kept away from younger babies. Ideally, infants and babies should have their own area where they won’t get “loved” too much by older toddlers. A room or separate area dedicated solely to swings and bouncers may look appealing at first glance, but keep in mind that growing babies need plenty of floor time to develop and strengthen their muscles.

3.Trust your gut. Every parent knows when something doesn’t feel quite right. You may be turned off by a center everyone in town raves about or clash with a highly recommended sitter. If that happens, keep searching. Babies deserve, and thrive under, good, nurturing care. If something just doesn’t feel right about your situation, investigate other options.

 

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