Guest Post: 6 Tips for Choosing Childcare

This week’s guest post is from Nelli Hooper, founder of  York Enrichment Childcare Centre in  Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada.

If you would like to contribute a guest post please send me a message!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

One of the biggest decisions parents face is in choosing the right group childcare facility for their children. It’s hard to send your young kids to another place every day, but it is easier if it’s a place that feels like home. Here are some things you can do to make sure you make the right choice.

photo credit: massdistraction / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Don’t Wait

When looking at childcare, it’s never too early to begin. If you have a specific place or are looking at a reputable, exclusive facility, you may have to sign up months in advance. You want to know at what age they begin accepting children so you can plan your time off. The best childcare centers are usually full with only occasional openings when children graduate.

Consider Accreditation

Not all childcare centers are accredited, but many seek that status to add to their reputation with parents. A center that is accredited has met the requirements and follows the standards and guidelines that have been put in place. In addition, it shows you that they take their center seriously. You can contact a state agency to find out which ones are licensed and accredited.

Schedule a Tour

You will want to see the center before you make your decision to give you an idea about where your child will be staying. You should get to see the first room they will be in and meet the caregivers. They should show you around the room and even give you an idea of the schedule your child will have. This can help you feel more comfortable leaving your child in a strange place when the time comes.

This is also your time to inspect the place. Look for cleanliness and organization. While any place with young kids is bound to have some chaos, it should be kept to a minimum. Are kids taught to line up and take turns? You can often see this even on a walk-thru of the facility as the kids are engaged in their normal activities. Caregivers and teachers should always be actively involved with the kids.

Ask Questions

Before you take a tour, you should prepare a list of questions that you want to ask. Some of them may be for the director while others will be for the teacher.

  1. What is the ratio of teachers to children?
  2. How many children will be in your child’s class?
  3. What training and certification have the teachers had?
  4. Is there a lot of turnover?
  5. Do the children have a schedule?
  6. How is discipline handled?
  7. Are there opportunities for parents to talk to teachers?
  8. How do you handle special situations such as food allergies and special requirements?

Ask About Parent Visits

Find out if the childcare facility allows parents to visit their children. They may require pre-planned visits while some may be more laid back and allow you to drop in. However, all centers should encourage parents to stop by at appropriate times. Some examples include on holidays, for classroom parties, or even for breakfast or at snack time. These visits allow you to see how your child handles the childcare setting on a daily basis.

Ask Around

Find out from friends and other parents what they think of certain childcare centers. They will tell you the good and bad about where they send their kids. You can also ask other people that work with kids. Library personnel, pediatricians, church teachers, and others can provide valuable insight on the best places to send your child.

Take the time to learn about the childcare center where you plan to send your child. Since they spend the majority of their days in this place, it should provide them the stability and love that they need to grow and develop into happy, healthy kids.

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nelli Hooper is the proud owner of York Enrichment Childcare Centre located in Richmond Hill, Ontario.  Her program has an excellent facility and is setting the standard for childcare within York Region.  Please visit her website at http//www.yeccdaycare.ca to learn more about childcare and how it can benefit your child.  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You might also like:

3 Comments

Filed under General, Guest Post, Thoughtful, Tips and tricks

Messy is Necessary

Photo Credit: Cornybeard / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo Credit: Cornybeard / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

I heard from a parent today that they don’t allow their 11 month old to make a mess when he eats.

Now before you start sniggering, I knew exactly what she meant. If little Goggins throws his food everywhere just to make a point/see the reaction/get out of eating it/see the reaction (oh wait, I said that already) they don’t turn a blind eye. They are trying to teach him some rules. I do the same. 11 months old is an appropriate age to start asking your child to hand you food they don’t want when they’re finished, not throw it against a wall, and it’s perfectly fine to tell an 11 month old” no” if they tip their food on the floor 5 times in a row while screaming at you.

But if there’s also an element of simply not liking the aesthetics of yoghurt in your baby’s eyebrows, and of wanting to keep the shaggy white rug under her highchair as snowy as they day you bought it (the day before you found out you were pregnant no doubt), then I’m afraid it’s time someone told you – babies are messy.

If you want to keep your white rug white, your wooden floors scratch-free, your vintage dresses & designer tea towels & first edition books & original art works and hand blown glasswear pristine, you have two choices:

  1. Keep them in a part of the house your child never goes (and at some point, rest assured, they will still go to that part of the house). 
  2. Don’t have children.

I know it’s tempting to think the third choice is to keep your children under control and clean and calm. And even though you can probably do those things sometimes, hell, most of the time if you’re focused, there’s almost no chance you’ll do it All the time.

Babies make mess.

They are exploring and learning. Often it requires pushing your hands into your porridge and then rubbing into your eyes, sometimes feeding yourself is so hard that only half of it makes it to your mouth and rest falls innocently on the floor, and sometimes it means feeling so frustrated that your limited coping skills induce you to throw half a peach at the wall.

By all means, try to keep eating under control and try to keep your house clean enough to feel comfortable in, but it’s best if you also try not to worry about a bit of mess at meal time. It’s a necessary part of being a baby.

Does your baby make a mess at meal times?
Do you have any handy tips to keep the mess (slightly) under control?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You might also like:

Ten Tips for Weaning: Nanny Savvy

Messy kids who play with their food may be faster leaners: Huffington Post

Top 5 reasons why kids want to get messy with food: One Handed Cooks

2 Comments

Filed under Babycare Advice, General, Just for Fun

Time to turn off the TV?

Photo: Getty

When the toddlers I care for have had (what I’ve decided is) enough TV I often tell them their favourite characters are going to sleep. If they ask for TV when I don’t want them to watch I’ll say again that so-and-so is sleeping.

Should we encourage children to believe the characters on TV have lives we can’t see? Should we molly coddle them with these ideas when we really just want to say “no”?

I’m ok with limited TV for children but definitely don’t want them watching all day, or becoming less able to be entertained without the screen on. Perhaps the best way to keep TV from becoming so central is to keep the characters the children watch from becoming too real, like playmates they can’t wait to see again. Dora’s not sleeping – she doesn’t bloody well exist!

What do you think? If your young children watch TV, what do you say to them to discourage them from wanting too much?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You might also like:

Television makes toddlers aggressive: The Telegraph

Television addicted 2 year olds don’t even know their own name: Eco Child’s Play

Why it’s really not so terrible to let your toddler watch TV: Huffington Post

Leave a comment

Filed under General, Just for Fun, Thoughtful

Potty mouth!

English: "No Swearing" sign along At...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You dropped a glass. It shattered as it hit the ground, sending glass splinters skating across the floor and a pool of shard filled juice creeping under the fridge.

“F**k.”

A fairly common response. Except you didn’t say it. Your 18 month old toddler watching you from the doorway did.

My baby has a potty  mouth before he’s even potty trained!

He’s so cute at this age. Now he understands around 200 words and can probably say about 60. You can share jokes together, he is beginning to follow your simple rules and instructions, and is able to tell you what he wants to eat and how he likes to play. I bet you love to show off to others how he can repeat a word for you – “Can you say, ‘shark’ ?? … Tell Grandma what this is! …”

What an excellent mimic! And isn’t is he adorable when he tries to use the broom or the phone or the remote just like you do? And now he’s swearing, just like you do. It’s enough to make you want to say, “F**k!” 🙂

How did this happen?!

Your toddler thinks you are the bees knees. You are the bestest, smartest, most wonderfullest person and he wants nothing more than to be like you and to have your approval.

If he’s heard you repeat a word or a phrase often enough, and to be honest it doesn’t have to be that often, he’ll want to try and say it too – to be like you. And if you react when he says it with amusement or attention, even negative attention, he’ll want to keep eliciting that response from you.

As far as your toddler is concerned, he’s ticking all the boxes every time he says ‘the F word’. He does it just like you do, and he gets plenty of attention for it as well.

What should I do to clean up his act?

Remove both the reasons he’s doing it in the first place. Don’t give him something to mimic and don’t give him attention for saying the word.

Believe me, I love a good curse word, when used in the company of adults who appreciate it! But those blissful days of babyhood when you could talk about whatever you wanted, using whatever language you liked and know your child had no clue what was going on are O-V-E-R. And if you can’t spell you’re in trouble, too, because you’re going to spell rather say say things like, ‘ice cream’, or ‘park’, or ‘bedtime’, for many years to come.

Be more mindful of what words you say, and the content of your conversations, from now on. Encourage your child to say a phrase like, “Oh Oh!” when there’s an accident and be sure to do the same yourself.

If he keeps using unwanted words, tell him not to say it, but don’t make a fuss. Do not laugh, no matter how inappropriately hilarious it is to hear your munchkin unknowingly swearing like the proverbial sailor. Keep a blank expression on your face, not one of disapproval either. After briefly telling him not to say the word, go about your business, preferable something unrelated to your child. Now he is no longer getting any worthwhile response from saying this word.

Soon enough he will forget about it and choose to use language that he mimics from your own and that is reinforced by your interactions with him. That is, until he goes to school and learns them all over again from the other kids!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When has your child said something inappropriate?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Leave a comment

Filed under Babycare Advice, General, Just for Fun, Tips and tricks

How to keep your child safe at home

At every stage of your child’s development, from a small baby that you have to carry everywhere, through to crawling ball of mischief, tottering toddler and hyperactive child running around in random directions as if fuelled by a life’s goal to be as crazily energetic as possible – there are dangers of differing kinds in the home.babysittersearch

Keeping your child as safe as you possibly can is no mean feat, so hopefully this article will help you put some simple measures in place to make your home a haven for your child.

1) Furniture:

If your child can bump his or her head on a piece of furniture, then you can bet your bottom dollar that they will. Constant supervision will go a long way to being able to prevent this; however the inevitable bumps and falls will happen, so make your furniture as child friendly as possible.

  • Avoid furniture with sharp edges and keep all glass covered furniture in a child free zone until your child is old enough to understand the dangers of glass
  • Make sure that your furniture is heavy enough that your child cannot move it or have it fall on them – ensure that any lighter items of furniture are kept out of reach of children as much as possible and that they do not climb or play around it too much

2) Windows and Blinds:

Windows can represent a major hazard in the home. To safeguard your child, make sure:

  • Children play away from windows and, if possible, only open windows from the top
  • Windows are kept locked and keys kept out of reach of your child. This is especially important for windows located anywhere above the ground floor in your home
  • Pull-ropes are kept tied up and well out of reach of children. Blinds and the string which operates them could be a hanging hazard

3) Kitchen:

Kids love to see what you are up to when you are in the kitchen and involving children when cooking can be great for their development and to stimulate them. It is however not always safe to have little ones running around in the kitchen.

  • Make sure that all pan handles are turned towards the back of the stove, so that little hands can’t reach up and inadvertently pull pans and pots down
  • Keep all sharp utensils out of reach of children
  • Consider getting child safe locks and latches for your draws and cupboards. The kitchen can look like a fun playground for your baby, toddler or child, but it’s important to teach them about the dangers of the kitchen

4) General:

  • Turn your hot water thermostat down to 50 degrees centigrade, so that if an accident should occur, the water temperature is not boiling
  • Get power point guards to stop children from putting their fingers or other objects in the sockets
  • If you have a swimming pool or balcony, make sure that your child is supervised at all times. It’s also a good idea to install pool and balcony guards to prevent access to these areas without your supervision
  • For fires and heaters, make sure that all controls are kept out of reach and that you install a fireguard to prevent access
  • Install smoke detectors throughout your property
  • If you have stairs, make sure that you have a guard in place at the top and bottom of the stairs to prevent falls
  • For any garden or work areas, make sure that all tools are kept out of reach and that your child is supervised at all times.
  • In terms of glass in your house, it is a good idea to install safety glass or retro-fit some clear plastic film to your windows (especially those at head height for your child) so that glass doesn’t shatter should they break

This is by no means an exhaustive list; however with the correct supervision and care, it should go a long way towards ensuring your home is a safe, fun and stimulating environment for your child.

Do you have any other tips for safeguarding the home for children?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This article was supplied by the team at Babysitter Search, a website that provides childcare solutions.
BabysitterSearch.com.au is a community of nannies, babysitters and nanny agencies, all driven by the same goal – to give parents easy access to child care they can rely on.
For babysitters looking for their next job, to parents searching for the perfect babysitter in their area, or a nanny agency wanting to attract the cream of the crop – BabysitterSearch.com.au has all the tools they need.
BabysitterSearch.com.au also hosts a parenting blog with tips to help visitors travel seamlessly through the journey of parenthood.
Parents can also search our comprehensive Nanny Agency Directory for a Nanny Agency in their area.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you would like to contribute a guest post please send me a message!

You might also like:

Leave a comment

Filed under Around the Web, Babycare Advice, General, Tips and tricks