now reading: Tips for selecting a reliable childcare centre OR babysitter!
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Tips for selecting a reliable childcare centre OR babysitter!

Selecting a reliable childcare provider or babysitter - wow is it that time already?!! 😮‍💨 It's amazing how as a new parent, you can go from a complete novice, where everything is new & daunting, to finally having that moment of clarity, where you finally feel like you're getting into the swing of things, routines
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Then you realise that the reason this has happened is not all to do with your natural parenting abilities, but in fact, time has simply flown past! You look at your calendar & magically, you've had your new role for over 6 months - WTF! You've been so focused on being a new parent, perhaps became a bit of a hermit (at least this is what happened with me!), & for those of us who are on parental leave, the dark cloud covers the sunshine as realisation sets in that returning to work is coming sooner rather than later!

& if you're like me - due to my financial situation, returning to work was not a choice, but a necessity. So, choosing the right carer is essential. I had to cut the emotions out of my decision-making process when it came to childcare (it's damn emotional thinking about leaving your child for the day – let me tell you!) & go into practical list mode. I became very practical & focused on mine & my child's needs.

I'm going to share with you some tips to looking into either centres OR a babysitter – they're kinda same, same, but different!

For starters, below is my list of 10 for childcare centres - you may like to add to this list or prioritise them in a different order. This can be a great starting point for you! Then when you go to visit potential childcare centres, you will have a check list at the ready, & also a great convo starting point! ALWAYS ask the questions that are important to you - & remember, no question is too stupid!

10 things to consider when choosing a childcare centre:

  1. Location: Is it conveniently located near your home or workplace? There is nothing more stressful, than finishing work late or being held up in peak hour traffic. Most childcare centres will charge you a late fee if you don't pick up your child on time. & remember it's also traumatic for your lil ones if they’re the last one there!
  2. Safety: Are safety measures in place, such as secure entry systems and emergency procedures? You want to know that your kiddo is safe, no matter what. It's peace of mind knowing that they are in good hands, right?
  3. Staff qualifications and experience: Are caregivers trained & experienced in childcare? You want someone who knows what they're doing & can give your bub the best care. It's like having an extra pair of trusted hands!
  4. Ratio of caregivers to children: Is there adequate supervision for the number of children present? It's important that your child does get enough attention & support, so they can learn & grow. Plus, it means fewer meltdowns & more fun!
  5. Curriculum and activities: Does the centre offer a stimulating & age-appropriate curriculum & activities? Diverse & engaging curriculum tailored to your child's age promotes their cognitive, social & emotional development, laying a strong foundation for future learning.
  6. Cleanliness and hygiene: Is the facility clean, well-maintained & conducive to a healthy environment? A clean environment keeps your kiddo healthy & happy.
  7. Nutrition: Are nutritious meals & snacks provided, & are dietary restrictions accommodated? You want your child to eat well & have plenty of energy for all their adventures. It's one less thing to worry about during your busy day!
  8. Parental involvement: Is there open communication between staff & parents, & are parents encouraged to participate in their child's care & education? It's important to feel connected & know what's going on with your child's day. Plus, it's nice to be in the loop about all those cute little moments!
  9. Licensing and accreditation: Is the centre licensed and accredited by relevant authorities or organizations? You want to make sure they meet the standards for quality care.
  10. Cost: Does the cost fit within your budget, & are there any additional fees or financial assistance options available? You want the best for your child, but it's gotta fit within your budget too. It's all about finding that perfect balance between quality & affordability. & most countries do have laws that support childcare subsidies. Googling “do I qualify for subsidized childcare”, will let you know how & what you may be entitled to.

As for when to start considering a childcare centre, it's best to begin the search as early as possible, ideally several months before you'll need to enrol your child - some people start looking & even book before baby is born, due to waiting lists already growing with some centres! This allows ample time to research options, visit facilities, & make an informed decision based on your family's needs & preferences.

Now on to finding the right babysitter, not the local random! Personally, I went down the childcare AND babysitting route. It’s quite funny how sometimes we as parents forget to be as pedantic with babysitters as we are with childcare centres! I think we are more relaxed because our child is in our home. However, even at home, there may be situations where they need certain care & experience, so having a qualified babysitter with CPR certification & experience working with children with special needs can be crucial. Additionally, finding a babysitter who shares similar values & parenting styles can ensure consistency in your child's routine and discipline.

Here are 10 important things to consider when it comes to babysitters:

  • Experience with infants: Ensure the babysitter has experience caring for infants, including knowledge of feeding, diapering & soothing techniques.
  • CPR and first aid certification: Verify that the babysitter is trained in infant CPR & first aid, providing reassurance in case of emergencies.
  • References: Ask for references from previous families the babysitter has worked with to gauge their reliability, trustworthiness & competence.
  • Background check: Conduct a background check to ensure the babysitter has a clean record & no history of criminal activity.
  • Compatibility with your child: Arrange for a trial period or meeting between the babysitter & your child to assess their interaction & compatibility.
  • Safety precautions: Ensure the babysitter is aware of safety precautions specific to infants, such as safe sleep practices & avoiding hazards like small objects & choking hazards.
  • Emergency procedures: Review emergency procedures with the babysitter, including contact information for you, emergency services, & any relevant medical information about your child.
  • Availability and flexibility: Determine the babysitter's availability & flexibility to accommodate your schedule, including evenings, weekends & potential last-minute needs.
  • Communication: Establish clear communication channels with the babysitter, ensuring they provide updates & communicate any concerns or incidents promptly.
  • Trust & intuition: Trust your instincts & choose a babysitter you feel comfortable & confident leaving your child with, prioritizing trustworthiness, responsibility & attentiveness.

Taking all these factors into account will help ensure you find a reliable and competent babysitter who can provide attentive & nurturing care for your bub!

One thing that I know from experience is that to be the awesome parent you will be, you do need balance. Choosing the right childcare centre OR babysitter will not only develop your child's socialisation and independence, but you yourself will begin to discover YOU again, a grown ass individual who is so much more than being so-in-so's parent!

For you to be able to do this, there are times you need to concentrate on filling up your own cup. I will leave you with this Diane Johnson quote:

“Fill our own cup first and feed everyone else from the overflow. We must first nurture and fill our own cup with the sweet nectar of self-love, self-nurture and self-care.”

Sofia 🩷

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