Finding employment is difficult; but once you find a job, you get a new challenge: finding childcare. Looking for a childcare provider can be an anxious experience for any number of reasons, ranging from their reaction to how you’ll afford it! To help you deal with this stress, we wanted to provide some basic information about childcare to help you get into the workforce.
If you’ve never searched for a provider before, there are a few ways to find one. This is the perfect time to use your network. Find out what provider your friends are using! Ask around by phone, by Facebook, or by any other means to see who is available and get honest reviews of the provider from people you trust. This is a hard decision, the more information the better.
If you don’t know anyone in the same boat, you can look at the DHS Child Care Portal for providers listed in the area. You can also use this website to apply for Child Care Assistance through the State. Many families are eligible to have some or all of their childcare paid for.
Once you’ve narrowed your search to a provider or a few providers, how can you feel more comfortable? First, check for references or internet reviews of the provider by googling their name to see what comes up. Second, make an in-person visit before you agree to use the provider. Do this during a time where there might be other children around, so you can see what the normal day looks like. Prepare questions ahead of time about rates, absent days, normal activities, days the provider is closed, and the rules for sick children.
Once you’ve chosen a provider and are using them, drop in on the provider during the day, just to see how things are going. You might be worried about doing this if your child has difficulty with separation anxiety, but a good childcare provider has plenty of experience with that situation and your child being upset for a short time is a small price for your comfort with their daily accommodations!
If you’re still not feeling completely ready for childcare, here are a few other resources you might be able to use –
TheBump – How to Find the Best Day Care
BabyCenter – Home Day Care Provider Interview
Care.com – 16 Tips for the First Day of Day Care
What to Expect – Communicating With Your Day Care Provider