Royal Nanny Search Underway

Summary:

By Katie Herrick Bugbee, Senior Managing Editor and Global Parenting Expert at Care.com If you think about it, a nanny really cares for the whole family — not just the children. And the Royal Nanny would be no exception. Take Antonella Fresolone, a former housemaid of the Queen who is known for being hard-working. When […]

By Katie Herrick Bugbee, Senior Managing Editor and Global Parenting Expert at Care.com

If you think about it, a nanny really cares for the whole family — not just the children. And the Royal Nanny would be no exception. Take Antonella Fresolone, a former housemaid of the Queen who is known for being hard-working. When she took the job, a royal source told Hello magazine that Fresolone “intends for this job to become her whole life.”

Her whole life? Well, that gives you some insight into what the royals may expect of their new full-time nanny as well, now that Jessie Webb’s temporary contract has expired.

This role is very much like a normal nanny role of managing the child’s daily routine; bathing, feeding and entertaining the child; noticing and alerting others of any changes in the child’s health and well-being; and talking to the parents about what activities they did that day, so they can feel as connected as possible.

But what makes this job a bigger responsibility is that it’s more of a 24/7 job. The person will be expected to be properly trained from a prestigious nanny school, have experience with babies and young children, and have experience with high-profile families (proof she can keep things confidential). And yes, she will be on-call 24/7, putting her own personal life on hold for a while.

Some of her responsibilities:

Teach the child manners and royal responsibilities
Work closely with the royal chef to plan George’s meals and perhaps of Kate and Will’s
Find time for Kate and Will to be together as a family and as a couple
Be wary of press and photographers anywhere she goes, securing the safety and privacy of the royal heir
Establish relationships with the whole family and schedule time for everyone to be connect with George as he grows

But even with this high level of security and life dedication, a survey from Care.com showed 60 percent of people said they would want to nanny for Kate, compared to only 8 percent for Kim Kardashian.

Yes, You Do Need A Will

Summary:

Congrats, you’re going to have a baby! The last thing you’re probably thinking about is what would happen to your baby if something happened to you? But that’s exactly what you should be thinking about even before you’ve given birth. Creating a Legal Will Having a last will and testament is vital in today’s world, […]

Congrats, you’re going to have a baby! The last thing you’re probably thinking about is what would happen to your baby if something happened to you? But that’s exactly what you should be thinking about even before you’ve given birth.
Creating a Legal Will

Having a last will and testament is vital in today’s world, especially if you have children. While most people think wills are only necessary if you have lots of money or property that you’ll have to divvy up among your relatives, the fact is once you have a child, there needs to be some sort of legal document (a will) that will spell out who will take care of your child if something were to happen to you.

Like most parents, you probably have a list of people you would absolutely not want to raise your child. So, it’s in your best interest to seek legal advice in creating a will so your wishes are carried out.
Consider This

You need to consider a few things when you draft a will:

Appointing your spouse or partner as the guardian of your children in case you die.
Realizing you could both die, in which case a guardian who will be responsible for raising your child needs to be appointed.
Appointing a trustee, too. In many instances this is also the guardian of your children, but some experts say it’s good to appoint a different person who could manage whatever property or income you have until the child is of legal age.

The Bigger Picture

Besides appointing someone to care for your child, your last will and testament should also include:

All your bank account and investment information, including any possible pension or retirement funds.
A list of outstanding loans, like mortgage, student and car loans.
Titles and deeds to any property, including any vehicles and homes.
The amount of life insurance you have, including the name and address of the insurance company.

You might also want to reveal where certain items are stored in your home. For example, is the title to your car in a certain drawer in the kitchen? You might want to place all necessary documentation in a folder and note its location in your will.
Worst Case Scenario

Obviously, the more organized you are with a plan in place to protect not only your first baby but any subsequent children is to prevent a worst case scenario from happening. If you don’t have a will that spells out exactly how your child should be cared for in your absence, your son or daughter might be raised by someone who has been appointed by the state! That thought alone should have you start scribbling out a rough draft of your will. Then hire an attorney to execute your wishes.

Take ‘Care’ of Your Nanny’s Taxes

Summary:

The New Year is here, and many families are settling down from the holiday rush. But for the millions of families that hired a nanny, babysitter or other childcare professional to work in their home last year, there’s still work to do before they can say goodbye to 2014. That’s because the IRS considers any […]


The New Year is here, and many families are settling down from the holiday rush. But for the millions of families that hired a nanny, babysitter or other childcare professional to work in their home last year, there’s still work to do before they can say goodbye to 2014. That’s because the IRS considers any family that paid $1,800 or more in 2013 (updating to $1,900 in 2014) to one of these employees to be a household employer with tax responsibilities similar to many businesses.

Here are the five things families should do between now and the April 15 tax filing deadline to make sure their taxes—and their employee’s taxes—are properly taken care of:
1. By January 15, send your fourth estimated tax payment to the IRS.

You will use IRS Form 1040-ES to send the Social Security, Medicare and federal income taxes you withheld from your employee during the months of September, October, November and December as well as pay the Social Security, Medicare and federal unemployment insurance taxes you owe as a household employer.

Note:
Families are allowed to include this 1040-ES payment with their personal income tax return. However, there is a risk the family could be assessed an underpayment penalty due to the IRS’s safe harbor rules.
2. File your state tax returns by January 31.

All families must file their state unemployment insurance taxes, and most will also file state income tax returns (if they live in a state with income taxes). However, the frequency the family has to file and the deadline may not be the same for all families. Generally, state unemployment insurance and state income tax returns are filed quarterly and due by the last day of the month following quarter close. That means most families will need to file their fourth quarter state tax returns no later than January 31, 2015. To check the requirements in your state, please click here.

Note:
If you live in a state with income taxes, you may also be required to file an annual reconciliation form. The form simply summarizes the state income taxes you withheld from your employee during 2014.
3. Prepare and send your employee a W-2 by January 31.

You have the option of mailing the W-2 or giving her the form in person, but she’ll need it to file her personal income tax return. The W-2 lists the wages she earned from you and the taxes you withheld from her pay throughout the year.
4. Send Form W-2 Copy A and Form W-3 to the Social Security Administration by February 28.

These forms list the same information as the W-2 form you provide your employee. The Social Security Administration uses these forms to give her credit toward her eventual Social Security income and Medicare during her retirement years.

Note:
Families that file their W-2 Copy A electronically have an extended deadline of March 31 and do not have to file a W-3.
5. Attach a Schedule H to your personal income tax return.

A Schedule H is used to summarize the Social Security, Medicare, federal unemployment insurance and federal income taxes sent to the IRS throughout the year. The total household employment taxes you paid for 2014 should be entered on line 59a on your personal income tax return.

It may seem overwhelming at first, but the reality is it’s not as daunting as you think. With these items checked off your list, you’ve completed all your household employer tax responsibilities for 2014 and can start off the New Year on the right financial foot!

On Nannies, Love and (of Course) Guilt

Summary:

Both as a full-time working mom these days and as a stay-at-home mom (and occasional freelance writer) for three years before that, I’ve never been shy about admitting that I have help with childcare (I came to the understanding quite early on that I am indeed not Someone Who Can Do It All). While some […]

Both as a full-time working mom these days and as a stay-at-home mom (and occasional freelance writer) for three years before that, I’ve never been shy about admitting that I have help with childcare (I came to the understanding quite early on that I am indeed not Someone Who Can Do It All). While some folks are lucky enough to have grandparents ready and willing to pitch in, my husband and I have never had that option—but we have been really lucky to find some incredibly kind women to help care for our children. And so it was from that position of appreciative necessity of those various caregivers that I read Mona Simpson’s piece in the New York Times Magazine yesterday, “Love, Money and Other People’s Children,” accompanied by Michele Asselin’s beautiful portraits of nannies with their charges.

According to the article, about four million babies are born in the U.S. every year, and 55 percent of their moms stay in the work force—which means that someone other than those moms must be caring for those babies (and that this is well beyond an issue of the 1%). And whether we hire someone out of necessity, i.e. we must return to work, or choice, e.g. we do the emotional and financial math and ultimately determine that we want (or maybe need) to hire help to preserve some time for ourselves outside of caring for our children, we still want our children to be loved by that caregiver.

Plus: “I’m Jealous of My Nanny”: A Mom’s Honest Confession

At the heart of Simpson’s piece is the entanglement of love and money in our childcare arrangements. She writes, “We don’t like to mix love with money. We want love to come as a gift that offers as much pleasure and reward to the giver as to ourselves. No one receiving love wishes to break it down to its component parts, of good sense and feasibility, much less to consider that payment may be necessary to inspire the whole project. Even more than we want good love for ourselves, we want it for our children, those vulnerable satellites of our hearts that we send, unsteady, into the world.”

Plus: Would You Rat Out Someone Else’s Nanny?

And so while our own love for our children comes naturally (one hopes) from the moment of birth or the first moment we hold them in our arms, regardless of whether we birthed them, the love of a caregiver—specifically, I suppose, a nanny, which implies more time (and connection?) than a babysitter (who is possibly a high schooler or other temporary or occasional help)—is more complicated, given that money is part of the equation. How much we pay them, how much their time away from their own children is worth, how much we know (or choose not to know) about their legal standing or citizenship, and our obligations as employers are all part of this. And then of course there may be the guilt that we feel in having another woman raise our children while we spend our time away from them—regardless of whether we return to work out of necessity or choice. While some families assuage their guilt by treating their nanny especially well—excellent pay, paid time-off, assorted perks and most(?) importantly well-due respect, others seem to be angered by the guilt they feel at the nanny’s perpetual presence and enter a virtual state of denial of their existence, as Simpson notes when nannies find themselves cut out of family photos.

Plus: My Father-in-Law, the Nanny

Have you hired childcare on a regular basis? Have you felt guilt over doing so, either because you felt you should magically be able to do it all or because you worried that your children might prefer their caregiver to you?

The Rise Of The Manny

Summary:

For the three weeks prior to starting at Parenting, I was a manny. Or should I say, my wife and I hired me as a nanny for my two boys. We had a lot of fun: We played with puppies, shot hoops, observed lizards and tarantulas, and practiced golf on a putting green. (Good thing […]

For the three weeks prior to starting at Parenting, I was a manny. Or should I say, my wife and I hired me as a nanny for my two boys. We had a lot of fun: We played with puppies, shot hoops, observed lizards and tarantulas, and practiced golf on a putting green. (Good thing Petland and Sports Authority were nearby). That said, spending all day—like allllllllll day—with your children is stressful and messy, like some sort of reality show challenge. And these were my children. Which makes it a smidge surprising that the male childcare provider, aka manny, is becoming increasingly in demand.

Will Kenworthy is trying to decide what to do today. With early morning rust still evident in his voice, the 22-year-old talks through some options. Maybe he’ll grab a gallery guide and visit a few art galleries, or plan a trip to the beach on Long Island. Or even better, head over to the playground and hit up the monkey bars. He does have two boys to entertain.

Kenworthy is part of a small but growing number of men who are becoming male nannies, known colloquially as a “manny.” For Kenworthy, a recent Fordham University graduate, that journey began when he came across a posting in the student employment office: A family with two young boys was looking for an active male caregiver. Kenworthy nailed the interview (“We clicked right away. They are supercool folks”), and has been with them a year and a half.

“I think I’ll be with them for a while. I really care about the kids, and we have a great connection.” On a recent outing to Riverside Park, another parent asked the youngest boy if Kenworthy was his babysitter. “He said, ‘No, he’s my friend,’’’ Kenworthy recalls.

“Men have steadily been 10 percent of our placements for the past few years,” says Annabelle Corke, co-founder of Hey Day Nannies, the childcare recruitment agency in New York City that placed Kenworthy in his current gig. It’s been a similar trend for Nannies4Hire.com, a popular online nanny referral database. “We have seen a 10 percent increase in male nannies from last year,” says president Candi Wingate. “We credit it a lot of it to people exploring more options due to the economy.”

Ingrid Kelleghen, founder and CEO of Cambridge Nanny Group in Chicago, has seen “a bit of a spike in male applicants recently.” (Of the 500 pre-qualified nannies on file, approximately 40 are male.) “We’re meeting men with experience in education, social work and coaching sports, or who have college degrees. They are unable to find jobs in their respective fields, so they come to us.”

And it’s a good thing they are: Some families are searching specifically for mannies. At the Cambridge Nanny Group, those requests come from single moms, lesbian couples, and families with boys. “They’re looking for a positive male role model,” says Kelleghan.

For Hey Day Nannies, “We get a lot of single moms. It’s the woman who is divorced and the father is not able to play an active role, and she’s looking for a role model her son can play catch or video games with,” says Kelleghen. “We’re also meeting lesbian couples who want that male influence.”

Stacey Kramer, a mom of three in New York City, says her children loved Judd, their manny of nearly two years. “He was a real playmate,” she says. “He was down on the floor, roughhousing with them, being silly, playing games.” Granted, Judd did bring some stereotypes with him. “Cooking was not his forte,” Kramer says with a laugh. “There were a lot of scrambled eggs and peanut butter sandwiches.”

Despite the best efforts of Charles in Charge and Mr. Belvedere, society still raises an eyebrow at male caregivers, a situation made even trickier in the post-Sandusky era. But Kelleghen believes that given the opportunity, a manny can bring plenty to the table.

Like what? “How many female nannies want to play tag for an hour?”

And how many female nannies would turn a department store into a costume shop? Just sayin’.

What I Learned from Having a Nanny

Summary:

I have been a working mom for nearly a decade, and I have employed five nannies. Every time I hired a new nanny, I thought and secretly wished that I had found the perfect nanny—the modern day Mary Poppins who would be the answer to all of my family’s wishes. She’d lovingly care for my […]

I have been a working mom for nearly a decade, and I have employed five nannies. Every time I hired a new nanny, I thought and secretly wished that I had found the perfect nanny—the modern day Mary Poppins who would be the answer to all of my family’s wishes. She’d lovingly care for my kids like no one else, and then I could go to work and do my job without a worry in the world. While I have employed many wonderful nannies, I have never found my Mary Poppins. And I eventually learned that no one has. M.P. doesn’t exist.

Whenever I get together with my working mom friends, the subject of nannies comes up. Sometimes it’s to share a funny story, and sometimes the stories aren’t so funny. I have learned both firsthand and from my friends about the full range of nannies—the young and the old, the live in and the live out. I learned about nannies who may have had their hearts in the right places but still didn’t use good judgment; nannies who became awesome teachers to the kids (and to the parents); and some, who although they were being paid by the parents, seemed more like the ones really in charge. I learned about nannies getting busted by nanny cams, by Facebook or by the kids, who do eventually tell the parents everything.

These stories came together and to life in my new book, “Who’s Going To Watch My Kids? Working Mothers’ Humorous and Heartfelt Struggles to Find and Hold on to the Elusive Perfect Nanny.” While doing research for the book, I conducted interviews with moms all across the United States, and I have figured out a few things that I wish I knew in the beginning, when I was a young, bright-eyed, brand new mom looking for the perfect nanny:
You will grow closer to your nanny than anyone else who has ever worked for you.

The nanny/working mom relationship is like no other relationship out there. Your nanny will become a part of the very intimate space of your home life. She’ll get to know your extended family and friends. She will change your babies’ diapers, and she will see you pump breast milk for your baby. She will get to know your kids and you, inside and out, in all of your forms—the good, the bad and the ugly. You may experience a hugging nanny, an “I love you” nanny or a nanny who sits on your closed toilet seat every morning to tell you about the drama of her love life while you get ready for work. Accept this. You will get close to your nanny whether you want to or not. It’s part of the deal.
You will put up with way more stuff from your nanny than you would from anyone else who has ever worked for you.

Your nanny is given the most important job there is—taking care of your kids when you can’t. Because of this, you put up with stuff—a lot of stuff. Some of the moms in my book dealt with nannies who had babies fall off kitchen counters on their watches, ones who let the kids help them clean with bleach, ones who brought their own laundry to do at work, and nannies who went into the mom’s closet and borrowed her favorite clothing without asking (not those perfect fitting yoga pants!). The common theme in all these cases was that the working moms put up with it. They just did. Not once did the moms seriously consider firing the nanny. (Well okay, maybe once, like in the case of the nanny who got the DUI or the one who tried to sell the dad pot!) The reason was usually that the thought of finding someone new to train, get to know and to trust seemed so much scarier.
You can’t clone yourself.

Believe me here, because I tried to. Your nanny is different than you. She might be younger or older than you, or she might be from a different background, part of the country or part of the world. No matter what, she has had different experiences than you, and she will bring all of them to her job of caring for your children. That’s okay. Different is okay. It can be really good. Many of the nannies I wrote about taught the kids new skills, like a different language, how to sew their own Halloween costumes or how to have unplanned adventures throughout the city. Some nannies taught the parents things too, like how to garden, have more patience or be a better disciplinarian. Of course, some did things with the kids that the parents weren’t thrilled about, like going out for fast food on a regular basis or running their personal errands. It happens. It comes with the territory. Your nanny is not you. She never was and never will be.
There is only one mother, and your kids know this.

In the last couple weeks of my mother’s life, she gave me some of the best advice that anyone has ever given me. She knew I was worried about our very first nanny leaving when our son was just a baby. “Your nanny is replaceable. You are not,” she told me. She was so right. Even when we went through three nannies in one year, I could see that my kids knew I was the constant—the mother. I saw it in the reassuring, innocent smiles they gave me when they saw my face every day. They would be okay. They are okay. I am the mother. They know that. Even when I tried to convince my son that the new nanny was a fan of “Bob the Builder” just like him (I bought her Bob toys to give to him), he didn’t seem to notice or really care. He knew I was his mother and that I wasn’t going anywhere. Remember that. Repeat it over and over again.

How to Hire a Nanny and What Not to Do

Summary:

After the birth of my second baby—a sweet little boy—my husband and I decided to hire a nanny to help with him and our 5-year-old daughter. I was returning to work full-time, and my job included a great deal of travel. We scoured caregiver websites without luck, and friends and family referrals yielded no candidates. […]


After the birth of my second baby—a sweet little boy—my husband and I decided to hire a nanny to help with him and our 5-year-old daughter. I was returning to work full-time, and my job included a great deal of travel.

We scoured caregiver websites without luck, and friends and family referrals yielded no candidates. In desperation, we placed a Craigslist ad and found Holly in short order.

She had a college degree, childcare experience and was well spoken. She aced our very brief interview and seemed to have a rock-solid resume. She was a mom herself, which in my mind meant she had to be loving and kind. Within a day of meeting her, we had hired her to care for our children.

And so began the episode now known in our family lore as “The Nanny Nightmare,” a tale that starts off like Mary Poppins and ends in a confusing swirl of lies, provocative Internet photos and a stint behind bars.
Timeline and Expectations

Because we were facing my impending return to work and suffering through the normal fatigue of having a newborn, we made some major mistakes during our search. The task of hiring the perfect nanny seemed daunting, so we put it off. Then, with a business trip coming up in less than a week, we put an emergency posting on Craigslist, which led us to Holly.

When you’re desperate for help, any expectations you have for childcare go out the window. We rushed the process, and we had no idea what we were looking for in a nanny.

“Before you even start your search, you need a realistic expectation on what you want in a nanny,” says Caroline Malkin, co-owner of Trusting Connections, a nanny agency in Tucson, Ariz.

Before you place an ad or start the interview process, Malkin suggests you write a job description of the childcare position. Are you looking for someone just to watch your baby? Do you want help with housework? What are you willing to pay? Are you willing to try a manny? After you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for, you can start your search.

In addition to unclear expectations, during our nanny hunt we failed to allow enough time for the process. Rushing the process meant we skipped valuable steps that likely could have prevented our nanny nightmare.

“If you want a forever, long-term nanny, it’s important to take your time,” Malkin says.

If you’re doing it right, without the help of an agency, two months is the minimum amount of time it takes to hire a nanny, Malkin says. Anything less than that means cutting corners and potentially opening the door for failure.
Resumes and References

When hiring Holly, we did ask for a resume and she had some childcare experience. But she didn’t have references, and we didn’t ask for any.

Malkin says that a suitable candidate should provide three references, and you should personally call each one. You can glean a great deal of information during a short chat with the nanny’s former families.

Remember that many great nannies don’t have professional resumes, but a resume is important to see how long they stayed at their previous families. You want to know the candidate not only has childcare experience, but also how long they stayed with each child they cared for. Less than a year with multiple families is a red flag, according to Malkin. You’ll want to find out why the nanny has bounced from family to family.
Time to Talk

After you’ve reviewed resumes and narrowed down potential candidates, it’s time for an interview. Interview all nanny candidates you’re considering hiring. No ifs, ands or buts, “every nanny should be interviewed face-to-face,” Malkin says.

Conduct a professional interview, like you would for any other job or job candidate. According to Malkin, an hour-long interview is perfectly acceptable when you’re trying to hire someone to care for your child. Spend as much time as possible with the candidate.

“Nannying is a profession. It’s their job.” Malkin says. “You need to maintain that professionalism on both sides.”

Come to the interview prepared with a list of questions. Don’t ask a potential nanny about her life goals for the next five years. Instead, ask her about her views on nutrition, discipline and education. Devise scenarios to see how she would handle things that may come up on the job. Ask the nanny candidate what she would do if your baby had a rash or refused to take a bottle. Not sure what to ask? Try this list of starter questions from Care.com.

If possible, Malkin suggests having the potential nanny interact with your child during the interview process. Seeing how someone interacts with your little one speaks volumes.

The last 10 minutes of our interview with Holly included our children. Right away, our daughter clammed up and acted as if Holly had the plague. When Holly held our baby, she seemed uncomfortable and uninterested. This should have set off alarms for us, but remember, we were desperate and under a time crunch, so we convinced ourselves our unease was due to being overly attached parents, and we let it go.
Background Check

Did we do a background check on Holly? Nope. Had we done a simple search, we would have uncovered her history of passing bad checks and a string of arrests from her early 20s. But we didn’t, and we got burnt—bad.

Malkin says you should never employ a nanny without a background check. Although online searches can be helpful, Malkin counsels against relying solely on them. She suggests hiring a private detective, which costs between $40 and $100, depending on where you live.

“(A private detective) is money well spent,” she says. “Online background checks just don’t cut it.”

Because there’s no single, national database to look at when hiring childcare, a private investigator can scour local, county, state and national records to see what your potential nanny has been up to. It’s much more complicated than a Google search of the candidate’s name.
Trial Period

Malkin suggests starting with a trial period before you commit long-term to a candidate. Have the nanny come work for you, but stay home and observe her with your children. Before you offer her a permanent position, spend a few days—or even weeks—making sure the candidate is what you’re looking for in a nanny. This alone could save a lot of grief in the long run.
Put it in Writing

Once you have your nanny, then it’s imperative you create a work agreement. You need to create a contract that lists all of the expectations you have as an employer, because without it, the potential for disaster is huge.

Things to consider including in the contract range from basic, such as rate of pay and work hours, to the more complicated, like vacation time and whether she’s allowed to have guests in your home.
Happy Ending…Eventually

Just weeks into our first nanny experience, we watched Mary Poppins turn into Hostile Holly, a bad employee who had a serial struggle with the truth. We also grew frustrated that she was becoming increasingly unavailable for work. Some poking around online led us to discover Holly had a second, secret job as a restaurant hostess, which explained her absenteeism.

Unearthing this prompted my husband to do some additional online sleuthing. More than a month into Holly’s time with us, I was on a business trip in Denmark when I woke up to a strange email from my husband. The subject line said “Our nanny doesn’t do nudity.” It was a reference to Holly’s online modeling page, which featured her in various stages of undress. There was a bio, her body measurements and a disclaimer above her lingerie shots that read: “I do not do nudity.”

At first I thought, “What do I care if she does modeling? I’m not a prude.” But it wasn’t listed on her resume or brought up in any of our conversations with her. When it was placed beside other things we were finding out, it became another troubling lie of omission.

Before we could act on our mounting doubts, our relationship with Holly ended a few days later as suddenly it had begun. She disappeared with our garage door opener and house keys. We later learned that she stopped responding to our phone calls and texts because she was in jail facing felony fraud charges. The police report my husband retrieved said she was accused of stealing credit card numbers from patrons at her other job. She went to prison for two years, and we learned from our numerous missteps.

Our tale has a happy ending though, and your nanny search can, too. Extensive interviews, background checks and a solid contract landed us the most amazing nanny in the world. Our children love her, and we can be confident in her abilities because we invested time in the process of finding her. She’s been with us for almost three years, and she’s practically Mary Poppins.

10 Important Questions To Ask Your Childcare Provider

Summary:

Childcare: For some parents, just hearing that word can bring on a panic attack. Whether it’s the thought of leaving Baby with someone new when maternity leave ends or simply adding up the often-astronomical cost of care, finding the right childcare provider can be extremely daunting. Though the biggest factors when making a decision are […]

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Childcare: For some parents, just hearing that word can bring on a panic attack. Whether it’s the thought of leaving Baby with someone new when maternity leave ends or simply adding up the often-astronomical cost of care, finding the right childcare provider can be extremely daunting. Though the biggest factors when making a decision are usually price, availability, and location, it’s also important to know providers’ standards, qualifications, and procedures, whether you’re looking for everyday, all-day care or just a twice-a-week, Parents’ Day Out program. To make the search more manageable and informative, ask childcare providers these 10 important questions:
1. What licensing or accreditation do you have?

No license means the center doesn’t undergo state-mandated inspections. With Parents’ Day Out programs, it’s a different story. Your child is there less than 10 hours a week, so it’s up to you to do the inspecting.
2. What is the teacher turnover rate?

A high turnover rate is a serious red flag. Teacher happiness is very important. Not only does it indicate that the center is a great place to work, it also suggests the teachers are providing great care. Long-term service means a great working environment with high-quality caregivers.
3. How extensive are teacher background checks?

You don’t want to leave your child with just anybody. Keep in mind, parents’ day out programs are typically not required to do background checks unless they are licensed, so it’s important to ask.
4. What is the teacher-to-child ratio?

Again, if the location isn’t licensed, it doesn’t have to follow state requirements on teacher-to-child ratios. But a ratio that’s better than the requirement — meaning fewer children per teacher — is a good thing. It means the teachers aren’t overworked, the rooms aren’t overrun, and the facility isn’t just trying to keep the rooms maxed out to capacity.
5. How much information about a child do you need? How is it filed?

Children are increasingly becoming the targets of identity theft, so be cautious. Your child’s exact birth date, middle name and social security number should not be needed. It’s important that your child’s private information is accessible only to the director.
6. What are the cleaning and sanitizing practices? How often are carpets and toys cleaned?

Stomach viruses can live in carpets for up to 14 days. Make sure the facility places a high priority on cleanliness.
7. Are teachers CPR/first-aid certified?

This is a must if the place is licensed, but you should verify to be safe.
8. What are the safety practices or security measures?

You’ll want to know whether the doors are locked, what measures are taken when children go outside for play time, and what identification is required when your child is picked up by someone other than you. Also check that the facility is well ventilated and has a defined and posted emergency procedure for fires, tornadoes, earthquakes, or other emergencies that may occur in your area.
9. How much emphasis is placed on education vs. unstructured play time?

Will your child spend the entire day in the corner playing with toys, or will he be engaged with learning activities and story times? Learning activities should be offered before preschool.
10. What is the disciplinary policy, and at what age does discipline start?

“Time-out” is what you should expect to hear, and it should start no earlier than 2 years old. The number of minutes in time-out should equal the child’s age.

Even if you are certain of which childcare provider you want to use, a good rule of thumb is to check out at least three places before you select one. Bottom line: Your child will most likely spend three or more years at the facility, so do the research now to avoid surprises and the need to switch to a new provider later.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...