Licensed Home Child Care: What Parents Need to Remember

While expectations will differ somewhat, depending on whether your child is cared for full time or part time, the family day care provider should be able to expect certain things from you.

Open communication.

Explain clearly and carefully your wishes and expectations about how your child will be cared for. Also provide updates on problems and progress that your child is making. Give the provider information about your child’s routine, activities and preferences. Good communication helps parents and providers work together in the best interest
of children.

Agreement on terms or arrangements.

You should fully understand the expectations of the provider and what you as a parent are agreeing to. A written agreement between the provider and parents is usually helpful for both parties.

Honesty and trust.

This includes being honest about how you believe the arrangement is working, whether your child is happy with the provider and whether you are. Although you need to be vigilant in order to safeguard your child, you should still trust your child care provider to do the best for your child. Show your trust by asking questions rather than jumping to conclusions when problems develop.

Advance notice of and agreement to any changes.

Providers have to earn a living, too, so they deserve advance notice if you are going to stop using their services, take a vacation during which they will receive no pay or change their hours. If, for example, you want the provider to start feeding your child breakfast, this change should be made in the rate of pay. And, if you expect a month or six weeks’ notice in case the provider can no longer care for your child, you owe the provider similar notice.

Pickup on time and follow through on all agreements.

Providers have personal lives, too, and they should be able to expect that you will pick up your child at the agreed upon time. If it takes you 15 minutes a night longer to get home than you expected or if you find it more convenient to stop at the grocery store before picking up your child which makes you 30 minutes late three times a week you need to work out a new agreement with the provider or find a way to abide by the original one. If you agree to provide diapers, formula or other supplies, you should bring them before they are needed.

Not to send sick, hungry or overly tired kids.

Agree with your child care provider in advance about when you can and cannot bring a sick child. Never bring a child whom you know is not feeling well enough to be away from home and family. Likewise you shouldn’t expect your child care provider to cope with a child who has not had breakfast or who went to bed four hours late last night.

Payment on time and no rubber checks.

Child care providers have to pay the rent and buy food, too, so make arrangements to see that they get their pay on time.

Respect.

Realize that taking care of children is a job and the child care provider is a worker, often a working parent, just as you are. Recognize also that this is not an easy job. A child care provider is not “just a baby sitter”. She is one of the most important people in your child’s life and in yours, too.

No jealousy.

Try not to be jealous of your child’s attachment to child care providers. Children who spend hours every day with a baby sitter or day care worker come to love that person. That love, though, doesn’t diminish the love the child feels for you. Don’t feel that you have to compete with your child care provider for your child’s affection.

No surprises.

Your baby sitter shouldn’t learn on Friday that you have decided to take next week off from work so you won’t need her or pay her, either. Your family day care provider shouldn’t learn that you now expect her to pick up your kindergartner after school because the car pool you have been using has dissolved. Child care providers don’t like surprises any better than parents do.

 

A Balancing Act, The Care of Children and Early Childhood Educators

Growing numbers of working mothers, dual-earner families and single-earner families continue to increase the need for high quality, affordable child care. According to the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, in March 2016, six out of every ten mothers of children under age 3 were in the labor force. Seven out of every ten mothers of children age 3 to 5 were in the labor force. Children are entering child care settings at earlier ages than ever before.

As we learn more about brain development and how crucial the early years are to later learning, we know we must add a focus to who is caring for our young children. These first years are a very important and pivotal time for a developing brain. This intense period of brain growth and synapse building happens only once in a lifetime and we have a brief but golden opportunity to help our children stimulate the formation of their growing brains. Patterns for much of their future learning are established during this time.

And yet the more we learn, it seems we are no closer to providing the children or their caregivers with that which they need and deserve.

First, our children need a quality care environment with trained, skilled and nurturing caregivers. Respect for children demands that we pay attention to their abilities and provide meaningful, relevant and interesting ways for them to expand their understandings. Nurturing relationships require adults to be as responsive to children’s social-emotional needs as to their intellectual demands. Intellectual development and social-emotional development are inseparable.

As important is what we provide our Early Childhood Education teachers and caregivers. First, we must offer them a living wage. There were 2.6 million persons employed in these occupations in 2016. Child care workers in private household, who work full-time, had median weekly earnings of $211; early  childhood teaching assistants had median weekly earnings of $275 and pre-kindergarten and kindergarten teachers had median weekly earnings of $440. These low salaries coupled with a lack of benefits contribute to a high turnover rate of child care providers. How can we attract young professionals into the field if they know what awaits them is a job with low pay, no benefits and not much respect?

Without qualified, trained, respected caregivers, how can we provide our young children all that they need for optimal brain development?

We know that childhood experiences form the child. According to Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D. Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, “Humanity is created in childhood.” In a recent article he states, “An appreciation of biological relativity and the crucial organizing power of childhood  experience have never been more important.”

Children are born with brains that require wiring. Caregivers with an understanding of the neurological foundation of learning enables them to support young children’s individual learning styles and support appropriate care and education practices. They are able to address the total developmental needs of young children. Growth towards a healthy brain  involves: responsive nurturing, avoidance of stress, a secure emotional relationship and educated caregivers.

This is why early childhood teachers and care providers deserve our respect and attention. In today’s ever changing society, many children are cared for and educated by multiple adults in numerous settings. The choices we make will have a profound impact on our future as a society. Policy makers must discuss how society will support systems to protect, nurture, educate and enrich our children. We must make it a priority to find ways to provide a living wage for early childhood teachers as a means to address the teacher shortage. The time is now.

Choosing Home Child Care That Is Right For You

Choosing Home Child Care That Is Right For You, What Parents Should Know.

Why Choose Licensed Home Care?

Licensed home child care is a better choice for infants and toddlers when they are being cared for outside their own home. The key to quality care for infants and toddlers is the quality of relationships – the relationship of family to child to caregiver. These relationships play an important role in early development. A small group and a home setting allow for daily
interactions with a responsive, affectionate adult as the infant/toddler learns to master the challenges of the world.

A person who has successfully completed the DCFS licensing process is demonstrating a professional level of commitment to children and child care. This is not someone “baby-sitting”but someone who sees this as her career.

What does it mean, a licensed home?

By state law, any person is subject to licensing by the Department of Children and Family Services if they regularly care for more than three unrelated children under the age of twelve.* ( this includes their own children)

Many communties support home child care providers by permitting residents to provide child care in their homes as long as they are licensed and comply with all DCFS regulations and state laws regarding home child care. Check with your community to see what standards are set for home care.

*NOTE: A caregiver who is legally exempt from licensing is caring for no more than three children under the age of twelve. ( including her own)

What should I know about the caregiver?

First and foremost, parents should remember that a home setting will be as individual and flexible as the person providing the care. The key is to find a setting that feels right for you and your child.

A licensed provider has had her home inspected and meets state standards for health and safety. The caregiver holds a current certificate in Infant/Child CPR and First Aid. Licensing also requires that all members of the household 18 or older have an FBI background check and be fingerprinted.

How will my child spend the day?

Your child deserves the best care when away from you. A quality day care home is clean and organized, with age appropriate toys. A daily schedule is posted which includes learning activities and nap times.

Like a “family” the caregiver will assist children as they learn to get along in a group. Television and video viewing are kept to a minimum. The caregiver models good health practices and nutritious snacks and meals are served.

A quality caregiver treats a child with respect, disciplines gently, and fosters independence with frequent positive interactions. Her day is devoted to the children’s needs and her attention is not diverted from them for personal chores or activities.