The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services which regulates childcare facilities and licensing for the state of Texas offers the following tips for choosing childcare:
- Once you have narrowed down a list of providers get details about their license to provide care. Each childcare facility’s regulatory history of inspections and reports is available online; refer to www.txchildcareresearch.org for more information.
- Visit the facilities. It is always polite to schedule a time with the director for your initial facility tour but make a second visit to observe a classroom when you are not expected to observe how the caregiver ensures a safe and healthy environment. Once you place your child in care stay involved and continue to ask questions about your child’s care and how he or she is adjusting.
- Look carefully at home or apartments that have a pool or are near lakes creeks or other bodies of water. Ask caregivers how they ensure the safety of children in and around these bodies of water.
- Discuss any concerns with the caregiver but also respect the care giver’s time—her main responsibility is working with the children. Don’t be offended if the caregiver can’t spend much time talking with you when you drop off or pick up your child. If you need more time to talk about your child set up a conference.
- It’s normal for children to have some fears and misgivings about starting childcare outside the home. Children need time to get used to new situations. Prepare your child for the change as far in advance as possible and discuss his or her concerns. It is important to let the caregiver know about things at home that may affect how your child is doing while in care.
- Talk to your child about his or her experiences in care. Choose a time each day when your child is calm and feeling secure and protected and then gently ask questions about how he or she is doing. Share their excitement about new friends skills and abilities listen to their concerns and give them a chance to boast about their achievements.
For more information refer to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services guide to choosing the childcare provider that is best for your child: www.dfps.state.tx.us/Child_Care/