Once you’ve selected which childcare option you’re going to use for the summer, you need to research the local providers. Asking the right questions will guide your decision, so here are some thoughts.
First, ask yourself these questions:
- Does the childcare provider have the qualifications, skills, and personality I feel that my child needs?
- Is this a safe, healthy and clean childcare environment?
- What activities will my child do on a regular basis? Can parents give input into what is done during the day?
If time permits, visit the childcare centre, daycare, or summer camp location and discuss your expectations with the potential childcare provider, and always check references before deciding which service to use. Good quality childcare providers support the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of children in their care.Secondly, ask the childcare provider these questions:
For a Nanny/Au Pair
- Do they have an up-to-date background check? Are they willing to be interviewed by you beforehand?
- What are their available hours? What wage do they expect? Ask them to sign a written contract with you stating the hours, wage, and duties.
- Are they taking any vacations or time off over the summer?
- Are they comfortable with taking your children swimming and do they have any Red Cross qualifications for water safety?
As the parent, lead the nanny/au pair in what you’d like your child to do this summer—don’t just leave it up to the caregiver. Discuss your expectations with your caregiver, and then let he/she tell you what they have planned in order to establish open communications right away.
For a Childcare Centre or Summer Camp
- What is the staff-to-child ratio? Will your child receive the attention and care you expect?
- How does the centre or camp hire staff? Are there volunteers? How many?
- What emergency procedures are in place? Are these communicated to the child(ren)?
- What are the pick-up and drop-off times? Is there a late fee for late pick-ups?
- What does a typical day look like for my child?
Taking the time to thoroughly research your options will set your child up for a fun and memorable summer.
Martha Scully is the owner and founder of CanadianSitter.ca and CanadianNanny.ca. When she is not helping Canadian parents find childcare, she is raising her two busy daughters in beautiful Nanaimo, BC. She has been featured on CanadaAM, Breakfast Television, as well as in Today’s Parent and the Globe & Mail. For more information, please visit www.canadiansitter.ca
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