In today’s society, lots of mothers go right back to work after maternity leave, and a lot of stay at home moms eventually go back to their job or get a new job. If the fathers also have a job, then both parents are out of the house and their child needs the best of care for their individual needs. But how do you know what you will need, and what should you be looking and asking for?

Commitment

Children need stability and a revolving door of caretakers won’t give your child that, in fact, it could actually make the child very confused. So when looking for child care, think about the length you will need. When interviewing candidates, make sure they can at least commit to one full year of work for you, especially if your child is under the age of three when they need stability and attachment the most for healthy development.

References

Whether you are looking for an in-home caretaker or a facility, make sure you know something about them. If it’s a facility, make sure other parents you trust say good things about that place. When interviewing someone to be at your house while you’re gone, make sure you ask for references, even do background checks! Your child’s safety is the most important factor and thus candidates must be interviewed thoroughly. 

Instinct and Intuition

You are their parent, and you are hyper-aware of everything going on around your child because you want them to be safe, so trust your instincts if a candidate or facility doesn’t feel right. If something seems off, it’s better to pass it and be safe than to just settle and regret it later.

Schedule and Flexibility

If you’re looking into a facility, make sure they have a good schedule of activities that are age appropriate for your child. Make sure the activities are to your standards and follow the rules at home. If your child is under the age of two they should not be exposed to screens and technology because that can hinder their development, so make sure that screen time is for the older children if there are activities involving technology. Also, make sure there can be a degree of flexibility. If you one day get off of work early, see if it’s possible to pick your child up early. 

House Rules

If you’re looking for in-home care, like a nanny, then make sure you are clear about the house rules. You don’t want your nanny on their phone all day or zoning out on TV, right? Make that clear. If your child is supposed to have a half hour of reading time, make sure your nanny understands that and can follow through. Children need stability and a routine to feel safe and comforted. If there are special things you need for your child, like if they need medicine, then make sure your nanny feels comfortable giving the child the medicine. If you have pets, make sure the nanny is comfortable with whatever animal you have in the house. 

Trial Run

If you are hiring an in-house caretaker, do a trial run. Do your own thing at home for a week if possible and watch how the caretaker interacts with your child, see if they are being attentive, see how your child reacts to this individual, and see if they are living up to the house standards. Trial runs can last a couple days to two weeks. It’s also better to see how they are doing when you’re out of the house. If your child is able to talk, they can give you feedback at the end of the day on how they felt about this person. Don’t feel pressured to hire right off the bat, take time with this decision and ask for a trial run. Any caretaker who objects should probably send up some flags. A caretaker who is experienced would understand why a parent would want a trial run, to make sure the fit is right. 

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