Choosing Childcare

Making sure your child is cared for while he is not in your presence is of utmost importance as a father. Not all childcare facilities are the same and not all childcare facilities will meet the needs of your child. Therefore, it is important to check several options before selecting a place to care for your child while you are away at work.


Several options are available to you as a parent. You may have someone come to your home to watch your child while you are gone, you may leave your child at someone else’s home, you may choose to have a relative watch your child, or you may choose to leave your child at a daycare facility. Your child may respond to each of these options differently; thus, you may have to try several different types of daycare before finding one that meets your needs and your child’s needs.

Regardless of what type of daycare you choose for your child, there are several things that you should check before entrusting your child to the care of another. First, every state has licensing standards and requirements that must be met for someone to offer childcare services professionally. When checking out various childcare options, make sure that the caregiver is certified to provide childcare for children in your state.

Second, there are national accreditations individuals can hold for childcare. These accreditations are optional. To receive national accreditation, individuals generally must meet higher standards than those required by state licensing agencies. If you find a caregiver who has national accreditation, you may find a person who is committed to providing the utmost care for those children in his or her charge.

Third, you will want to find out what the caregiver to child ratio is. The younger your child is, the more individual attention your child will need. Therefore, be sure that the number of caregivers to the number of students is acceptable. Generally, it is recommended that there be one caregiver for every four children under age two and one caregiver for every ten children age four.

Fourth, schedule a time to visit several childcare facilities and meet the people who may be watching your child. You want to see if these people seem friendly, welcome each child and practice good hygiene, such as washing hands before meals and after changing diapers. After scheduling a meeting, it is important to drop in unannounced a couple times to get a true feeling for what this childcare facility is like.

Fifth, make sure you can afford the services of the daycare facility you would like to enroll your child in. Costs vary from state to state and not all daycare costs are covered in your tuition fee. See Childcare Costs for more information.

To find childcare programs in your area, you can consult you local Yellow Pages, seek referrals from friends and family or access your local Child Care Resource and Referral organization (CCR&R). CCR&R is a program organized by the National Association of Child Care Resources and Referral Agencies  (NACCRRA)to help parents find childcare for their children. Your local CCR&R can be found online at www.childcareaware.org.

A guide developed by the NACCRRA for selecting a childcare program for your child can be found at http://www.childcareaware.org.