Child Care (page 2)
Finding good child care can be difficult for many working parents. Day care is expensive, and cost can be a serious consideration. Also, there may be limited choices for day care and few openings available. Parents who work varying shifts, weekends or holidays have even more difficulty finding child care during those hours. Many parents rely on grandparents and other family members to provide at least some of thier child care.
Family style day care accounts for about 40% of day outside a child's home. This is usually in a licensed home with a small group of other children. Advantages of family style child care include being in a family environment and less structure.
Day care centers provide group care for larger numbers of children in a school-like setting. Advantages to day care centers include more varied activities and preschool preparation.
Finding quality child care can be diffcult. Some day care providers are better than others. Basic requirements for child care should include an environment that is safe, clean, and adequately staffed. It should also provide respect for individual needs and allow children to interact and play comfortably. Following are some suggestions for parents to consider when looking for day care.
- Low staff-to-child ratio - Federal guidelines recommend ratios of 3:1 for infants, 1:4 for toddlers and 1:8 for 3:6 year olds in day care centers. In home based or family style child care, the recommended ratios are 1:5 for children under 2 years old and 1:6 between 2 and 6 years old.
- Low staff turnover - Research suggests that children do best when cared foi consisitently by the same people. High staff turnover has been associated with emotional withdrawal and interruptions in children's development.
- Well trained staff- Because day care workers are often low paid, it is difficult to find centers with highly trained staff. However, staff should have some training or experience and genuinely enjoy interacting with children.
- Appropriate activities - Ask about routines, meals and activities your child will be doing. A variety of play, educational and community activities is ideal.
- Parental involvement - Any day care should encourage parents to be involved. Beware of day care providers who discourage unannounced visits.
- References and licensure - Make sure the day care provider meets state and federal requirements and is appropriately licensed. Ask for references. Talk with other parents who have children with the day care provider.
For more information, questions or comments, call the Trinty Child and Adolescent Program at (515) 574-6596.
This article was written by Pam Lehman, a counselor with the Trinity Recovery Center at Trinity Regional Hospital. Pam has a Master of Science degree in counseling
Reprinted with the permission of the Community Action Network. © Community Action Network, All Rights Reserved.
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