Choosing a Home Daycare: Making the final decision

Choosing a home daycare provider is a huge decision for parents.  Many parents struggle over who to pick and  have conflicting thoughts or doubts about their decision after they have decided.  This is common and part of the  process of making a big decision that will affect your child’s well being and your own personal stress level of on a daily basis.

Some people speak about knowing they have found the right caregiver during the first meeting.  They feel a connection to the caregiver and believe without a shadow of a doubt that their child will have a fantastic day at daycare (possibly even better or at least more engaging, than at home).  All parents would like to feel this certaintly because it would make their home daycare decision easier.

There are a number of ways you can judge your own reaction to a potential caregiver.  Begin by listening to your own sense of comfortwhen you sit in the daycare room.  Does it feel comfortable to you?  Does it feel like somewhere you could spend some time? Is it inviting?  If you answered yes, then there is a good chance your child will also feel comfortable here.  If your child is old enough to speak, you can simply ask them if they would like to play in this room.  If they are not verbal yet, you can still watch your child’s behaviour in the daycare environment and get an impression of their comfort level according to their behaviour.

Next, when you ask the caregiver questions about her program and about her other daycare children, what is your gut reaction?  Do you get the impression from her answers that she is knowledgeable?  Are you impressed with the dedication she exhibits towards her profession?  Does she ask you about your child and want to know details of your child’s likes and dislikes? Do you get the impression that she truly cares for children and is in the field because she is following her calling?

Her answers towards your questions about parenting style and behaviour management techniques will give you a wonderful idea of how well a match your views on child rearing are.  The closer your values are towards child development the easier your relationship will be.  It would be a good idea to tell your caregiver what areas of daycare are most important to you.  Observe her reaction.  Does she readily give you more information in that area and ask for your feedback?

How does your child react to the caregiver?  Watch how your child responds when the caregiver speaks to them or engages them in play.  You are the expert about your child and you will quickly recognize if your child is at ease or not with this person.  How does the caregiver ‘read’ your child’s reaction? Is it accurate?  Do you feel the caregiver responds in a way that respects your child’s sense of self as a person?  Does the caregiver give your child the attention and focus that you feel is necessary?

The last point to keep in mind as you drive away from your interview is, how would I feel driving away from the caregiver’s house after dropping off my child for the day?  Would you feel excited for your child about the activities and attention they would receive that day?  Would you feel like your child is in a safe environment?  Do you feel like your child is going grow as an individual and feel supported and loved for who they are?  If your answer is yes, you have found the best fit!