Finding a Daycare

Articles to help parents of young children find quality daycare in their area. Tip, tricks and questions to ask to ensure you find the best daycare.

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Daycare Assistance and Subsidy Programs for Parents

Did you know that there is assistance available for paying
Childcare Expenses to parents who qualify?

What is a Free Grant?

Every year the United States government and private foundations give away billions of dollars in free grants. Unfortunately, most people don’t know these programs exist.

A free grant is free money from the federal government or a corporation that is given to people that could use the money to improve their lives. Each year over $10 billion is given away and every American is eligible.

For the Year 2010 there are over 1,000 Federal Programs, 24,000 State Programs, 30,000 Private Foundations and 20,000 Scholarship Programs available. There are over 1500 Government Grant Programs administered by 57 different Federal Agencies!

  • You can apply for as many grants as you want
  • No credit checks, no collaterals and no co-signers
  • You do not have to repay anything

Click here to Learn More

Daycare Grants & Loans for Providers: The Real Scoop

Grants-loans-boxHow to Get Daycare Funding Through Grants & Low-Interest Loans
One of the things I get asked most often is, “Are there really grants out there for starting a daycare, and how do I get one?” I wrote this special report to answer this often-asked question and to provide you with the REAL secrets to getting a grant or low-interest loan! In this report you will learn:

$49.00
On Sale $9.95

Where to find grants and loans

  • How to apply for grants and loans to maximize your chance of success
  • How much you can expect to receive from these programs
  • Much more!
  • 17 Pages, Available as a downloadable E-Book

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One of the biggest concerns of starting a daycare is the daycare license requirements. The myths and stories surrounding these requirements can be challenging for anyone. Just finding the rules is the first challenge, and then you find the rules written in some foreign lawyer speak. In the end it really doesn’t need to be that challenging. So here are 6 things you should know about daycare licensing requirements.

  1. You may not need to be licensed. Yep, let’s start with a big one. Depending on the number of kids you take care of and where you care for them you may not need to be licensed at all. Generally speaking small home based daycares are free to operate without a license.
  2. Each State sets it own rules. States are the regulating authorities for daycares, often thru their health departments. Because of this rules and requirements change state by state. However, the rules tend to be similar. The main point is to make sure kids are taken care of just like you would like yours to be cared for.
  3. Licensed providers can charge more. Licensed providers are in greater demand, and can be paid by many state programs for child care. This allows them to charge more, and still be full, what a great combination.
  4. Not expensive to get licensed. You would think it would cost a lot to get licensed and be allowed to charge more, but you would be wrong. The biggest cost is the cost of time to complete the paperwork. Other than that the cost may be no more than a small filing fee. Don’t let the cost of becoming licensed hold you back from going forward.
  5. Finding the rules is easy. Because this is one of the most common questions when starting a daycare I have done a lot of the hard work for you. You can find the complete state by state listing of daycare license requirements here. You will find a brief overview of the rules along with links to all the specific rules.
  6. You should not be afraid of becoming licensed. It can be scary to start the licensing process, and doubts will start to fly around in your head. Don’t let this stop you. Remember the rules are only set for the basic safety of the kids you will be taking care of, and are nothing more than what you would want for your own child. If you are taking good care of children already and showing concern for their safety you have done what every state would want.

In the end the choice is yours about whether to become licensed or not. But don’t let a lack of knowledge stop you from becoming a licensed daycare provider.

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Daycare Centers or Home Daycare Programs:
Whether you’re seeking full or part-time care, either of these options could provide your children with a summer of fun. Many programs not only offer terrific activities on site, they also offer field trips and transportation to outside activities, such as trips to the zoo and swimming lessons.

Teen Babysitting: Another option could be a part-time teenage babysitter (with a car) who can take your kids to the pool, the library, the playground, and other fun places. If you choose this option, be sure to hire a responsible teen with a clean driving record. Ask for references, then check them.

Day Camps:
The best resources for finding camps in your area, are more than likely your local Parks and Recreation, Athletic Clubs, Swimming Pools, Dance and Gymnastics Academies, Community Churches and Children’s Museums. By choosing a variety of camps and alternating them, your child can experience a well rounded summer by attending those that offer sports, arts and crafts or educational activities.

Summer School or Enrichment Classes :
If you’re looking to enrich your child’s summer with learning, you may want to check with your Community College, Parks and Recreation Department or Local School District. Typically a variety of courses are offered from all three resources on topics varying from acting and writing to foreign languages and math.

Regardless of the type of care you choose, be prepared by having a back up plan in the event that the class, camp or center is closed or canceled due to lack of enrollment or already filled to capacity.

Above all else, when you are selecting care for your child at any level, it’s a good idea to ask the following questions:

For small or private facilities:

  • How long has the business, organization, class or camp been established?
  • Do they have references?

For all types of facilities:

  • Can you tour the facility prior to enrolling?
  • Do the teachers, aides, coaches and providers have background checks?
  • How many children are enrolled?
  • What are the child to adult ratios?
  • How are illness or injuries handled?
  • What are the discipline policies?
  • What safety precautions are taken regarding the arrival and departure of your child?

With a little planning and thought, you and your child can experience a summer filled with fun activities.

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As a new mom, with a successful career, I began my search for the “perfect” daycare setting. I knew many women were able to manage career and child and thought that I would have the same experience. After changing daycare providers four times in one year, I was frustrated and guilt ridden. Dealing with the guilt of not being there to watch all those “firsts”………….first steps, first words, first discoveries, was hard enough, the search for the best childcare environment was simply overwhelming.

My husband and I agreed we needed to change our current situation, and discussed the possibility of opening a home daycare. We knew that making a career change would mean a change in our lifestyle and our spending habits, what we didn’t know. is the positive impact this change would make not only in our family life, but in the lives of other working parents.

The experience I gained as a parent searching for daycare, and my corporate background offered structure and business sense to my new found venture. I was “schedule-bound” and established a daily routine filled with fun and educational activities, nutritious meals, arts and crafts, which appealed to many working parents.

Although my new career provided instant gratification for my family, I was constantly troubled by the increasing number of phone calls I received from working parents searching for quality childcare. I could only care for so many children, and maintained an ever growing waiting list. I knew there had to be a solution, to assist these mother’s searching for childcare providers and for those who considered opening a home daycare, but didn’t know how to start the process.

Becoming a quality daycare provider is not a complicated task, but it can be time consuming, when you don’t know where to begin. Preparing your home, creating a schedule, planning activities, operating the business aspects, creating or locating the appropriate forms, maintaining records and bookkeeping, defining polices and procedures and knowing who to contact and what questions to ask them.

In 1999 I launched the Daycare Hotline to offer my product line to providers, free childcare information for parents, a childcare search and article database for home daycare providers. If you’re considering becoming a Daycare Provider, I think you’ll find my Daycare Success System , the most affordable package of information available, not only to assist you in the start up phases, but to guide you through managing the business aspects of your Home Daycare.

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Quite often, dealing with friends and family in a business sense can be frustrating. You definitely need to be strong and make sure that your personal relationship can endure the working one. I suggest that before agreeing to care for the children of family or friends, you make sure they understand the following:

1) The working relationship cannot affect your personal one, i.e. no favoritism and no hurt feelings should issues arise between you.

2) The rules, policies and pay dates for your daycare, apply to everyone-friend, family or otherwise and that they too must sign a contract agreeing to abide by these rules and policies established for your daycare.

3) Their children must also abide by your rules and be disciplined in the same manner as the other children.

4) If they cannot agree to the above, then you will not be able to provide care for their children. In a situation where you are already working with the friend or relative, I suggest that you provide them with a written contract and ask them to sign it. Although late, it’s better than not having one and this allows you time to cover your policies and possibly correct any misunderstandings regarding your daycare policies that person may have. If you have a signed contract with your friends or family members, enforce those rules just as if they were any other daycare family.

On the first day of care for any child, regardless of who they belong to, make the rules of your home daycare perfectly clear. If the children do not listen, or follow the rules then apply the appropriate discipline. It is imperative that you be consistent and follow through after every warning.

Providing quality childcare is a team effort, one that involves everyone, encourage teamwork from the beginning of care, no matter whose children you are caring for.

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By Linda Raas
www.Nestfamily.com/lraas

 Definite changes concerning the issue of RESPECT within our society as a whole, have taken place since the 1950’s. More and more, we see those who step over that invisible line, with behaviors that they allow themselves to exhibit unchecked, from someplace deep within. Today, people feel at risk on the highways, in the schools, at work. Where the rage is coming from is complex, to be sure. While we are in this present phase of Retro from the 50’s being ‘in’ and fashionable once more, maybe we could also revisit some of the values that were present at that time. Respect was emphasized, and ran like a thread through the society at a much higher-level, than it does today. Respect is a building block for our children’s future, and that of our society’s structure. Respect breeds kindness in a society, and is a key character trait on which other values can build.

Media is a big influence on all our lives in any time period. Today, many Sitcoms, the Cartoon fare, music, and video games insidiously seep in, and many continually feed, images of disrespect of ‘kids to parents’ and of ‘kids to kids’, laying down a foundation for hostile actions and violence being acted out. These constant images are a real problem, and one to take seriously.

“Lighten up!” they say? When Respect is sacrificed without showing consequences for doing so, there is a price to pay. Our children are paying that price. Don’t allow yourself to think it isn’t a big deal. It is a very big deal. Even if a kid is so street smart that he or she has ‘seen and heard it all’, it doesn’t mean that the child needs to see or hear anymore of it. Attitudes are being learned and absorbed continually. Our children are like sponges, absorbing all that is around them, the good stuff, and the bad stuff together.

A child’s forming attitude of respect is a very important thing to guide in them. Their attitude of respect can, and will be, a future protection for them. Not only will it lead to a happier and better life, but children and adults who have a basis of respect in their integrated value system, are not as readily affected by violent scenes that they may and will have occasion to see, as are those children and adults who do not have this basis of respect as part of their integrated value system. If respect is the cornerstone of a person’s value system, this will in the end, make a difference in HOW they react to exposure they may receive. This is preventative. Feelings of anger won’t be stepping over that invisible line and exploding into violence. We can no longer only to be concerned about bad habits a person may develop over time, but are now dealing with school violence all over the country and in the workplace.

Respect must be taught as a core value to children at a very young age. A value system with respect integrated as part of it, will reject these ways of acting out they may see, while the opposite is true of those who have no basis of respect integrated in their value systems. Formal talks with children about respect, and why we have respect, need to take place throughout their growth process, and is a must. For parents to be thinking ‘they know’ is not enough. Talk, talk, and talk. Forming the attitudes of respect for authority and for one another, beginning at the Pre-School level and all the way up through the grades, can and will most definitely make a huge difference and outcome for the future society as a whole, let alone the life of the child. The time for teaching values is as soon as a child can understand direction and adult example. Values and choices kids make at 20 depend on the value system they learned before the age of 10. The time to impress values on children is when they are young. Some parents keep waiting. Teach children what is right, what is wrong, what is healthy for their lives, what is smart, and then teach them how to be strong enough to make the right choice. It is important to start NOW to train them to listen to and not to ignore or override their ‘gut’ feelings of what they know inside is the right thing to do. Teach values now.

Always keep in mind how much the media of television, movies, video games, and music matters. Much of the media is not concerned about the children’s values in the production of their products. They make what sells. Know what they are watching and hearing. Visuals, music, and words remain with us all. We store house all of it. It is in there. Protect yourself and your family from what you allow to enter your minds. Set your own family ratings, as the official movie ratings are unreliable. What is PG or PG-13 today, is not the PG or PG-13 of even 5 years ago. And believe how very much music lyrics do matter. What we hear over and over again we remember, store away, and incorporate. How many parents can recite almost word for word the lyrics of some of their favorite music of when they were young?

Media also has a very powerful positive side. Media can also be utilized to have a very positive effect, and is a very useful and powerful force for teaching. We can choose and enjoy positive choices for television viewing, movies, video, and music. We can use positive images and positive musical lyrics to form a base from which to build strong character values. What kids are seeing and listening to again, and again, and again becomes a part of them, and can be helpful to their growth process. You have heard, “You are what you eat.” We aren’t only what we eat, but what we hear and what we see!

My company, Kid Character Builders www.kidcharacter.com has brought together exceptional award winning collections of Character Education Resources, representing several companies whose goals are to educate the whole child. These Resources were created for Parents, Schools, Daycare, and any child-centered organization or program concerned with the topics of character education and child safety. The positive power of Film, Video, Music, Song Lyrics, and the Reinforcement of Activity Resource Books are used. Images and Music do shape what we think, talk and feel, and are useful as powerful tools for teaching the values of character education, and safety. Music is especially important as a learning tool, and has been shown to help with the actual retention of what is being learned, engaging a special part of the brain. With these winning collections, children learn positive character traits and values, with sing-a-long song lyrics set to engaging, fun music.

Educators know that children learn and remember best using a combination of their senses, through what they SEE, HEAR and DO. These programs have been a successfully used across the country, using these principles. The children look to us for answers and guidance. Start early. Kid Character Builders can help. http://www.Nestfamily.com/lraas

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When searching for quality daycare, ask for referrals or recommendations from:

  • Friends
  • Family Members
  • Coworkers
  • Neighbors
  • Elementary school staff
  • Members of any church or organizations you belong to

If the above contacts are not able to assist you, contact the Licensing Agency in your State or your local Resource and Referral Agency. You can find your local Child Care Resource & Referral agency (CCR&R) by going to www.childcareaware.org.

Keep in mind that just because a Provider is licensed, registered or certified, does not mean they are Quality Caregivers. It’s up to you as a parent to seek out the appropriate provider that offers the type of quality care you are seeking.

Ask yourself the following questions, before interviewing any providers:

  • What type of environment do you want for your children?
  • How many other children do you want in your child’s group?
  • Do you want your child in a mixed age group of children or in a group of children their own age?
  • Is home daycare or center based care the best option for your child?
  • What activities do you want available to your child on a daily basis?
  • How much of a commute time do you want between your child care giver and your place of employment?
  • What rules and policies would you like to see a provider offer regarding illness, discipline and safety?
  • What type of experience or training would you like a provider to have?

If the provider is new to the industry, ask for personal and past employer references. Create a list of questions to ask the references, regarding the character and demeanor of the provider.

 

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New research is suggesting babies learn to talk by watching how people speak and form words, and not just from hearing sounds.

Florida scientists have discovered that starting around six months of age babies begin to shift their attention away from eye gaze and start to study peoples mouths when they talk to them.

It does not take them long to absorb the information. .  Generally one year of age babies start begin returning their attention to the eyes.  However if they hear an unusual sound, like from a foreign language, they will return their attention to the lips in order to learn how to make the sound.

So what does all this mean.

Really it is just more support showing parents need to spend quality time with their babies, talking to them and reading to them.  This is far more important than just giving babies something to do, or watching the TV.  By taking the time and reading to babies so they can hear the words and see you speak, or just talking to them you can help your child learn to speak better and quicker.

When looking for a child care for your child you should also take this need into account when reviewing programs.  Be looking for child care providers who read to babies, and that have a ratio low enough to allow them to talk to each child several times during the day.

It looks like learning to speak is even more complex than we had ever thought.

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One of the biggest concerns of starting a daycare is the daycare license requirements. The myths and stories surrounding these requirements can be challenging for anyone.

  1. Provider Licensing/Registration: For your child’s safety, choose a caregiver that is registered with your State Childcare Licensing Agency. This ensures that the caregiver has met the State’s requirements and a satisfactory background check has been completed. It is strongly recommended that you contact the state and ask if any complaints have been filed against any caregiver you are considering.
  2. Location: The distance between your child’s caregiver and your place of employment can affect your daily routine in addition to playing a vital role in the event your child is injured, becomes ill or an emergency arises while your child is in the providers care. Choosing a program that is of equal distance between your home and work can reduce your commute time and will allow you the option of visiting your child should you choose.
  3. Safety: Every childcare setting should be properly childproofed with the appropriate safety precautions in place in the event of an emergency. Emergency Evacuation plans should be posted for Fire and Natural Disasters. The childproofing should be age appropriate for all the children within the providers care.
  4. Environment:  A quality childcare environment should offer: age appropriate toys & activities; space for resting, designated areas for eating, potty training and diapering, quiet & messy play; and access to safe outdoor play areas that allow development of gross motor skills. The interior play areas should provide activities that meet the needs of all the children in the group.
  5. Growth and Development:  Programs that care for a large number of children with too much activity and noise can affect your child’s growth and development by over stimulating them. Infants and toddlers can be greatly affected by their surroundings, especially those who are being introduced to a childcare setting for the first time. As you tour a caregiver’s home or center, ask yourself: Will my child thrive in this program? Are the activities and surroundings consistent with a nurturing atmosphere? Do the children currently enrolled appear to be happy? Does the program offer what you believe your child needs to grow and develop into a happy well adjusted child?
  6. Group Size and Age Span: Each childcare program offers a different age range and number of children within their setting. To determine the appropriate group size for your child, ask yourself how many children you want your child exposed to each day. Will the caregiver be able to provide quality care for all the children in the program? What age span of children do you want your child interacting with on a daily basis? Finding a program that places your child in the middle of the age group can offer an excellent balance, allowing them to learn from the older children and teaching them how to interact with younger children.
  7. Communication and Shared Philosophies:  The caregiver should be easily approachable and have the ability to address any concerns regarding your child’s development and well-being. The provider should also be able to effectively communicate with your child. Consider the parenting philosophies that are most important to you and compare them to those advocated by the caregiver. Finding a childcare program that offers similar philosophies will provide both stability and consistency in your child’s life.
  8. Interviews and Visits:  The childcare program you select must meet the needs of both you and your child. Your first course of action should be to interview the caregiver by phone. If you feel that the program meets your requirements, schedule a face to face interview within hours of operation. The first appointment should be without your child, so you can focus on what the program has to offer. Should you feel the program is acceptable, set up a second visit with your child. Do not hesitate to ask questions. Request a list of references for both currently and previously enrolled children.
  9. Written Policies & Procedures:  Every caregiver should offer written policies and procedures regarding the operation of their program. Request a copy of the caregivers policies, including a written contract listing hours of operation, rates, rules, policies, pay dates, and closures. It is very important to have a clear understanding of the policies and procedures to ensure that coincide with your schedule. To prevent misunderstandings once your child is in the providers care, ask any questions you may have, before you sign any agreements or authorization forms.
  10. Use your instincts: Only you can determine the best setting for your child. If something doesn’t feel right or you have any doubts, then your child does not belong with that caregiver. It will take time, research, and patience to find the provider you feel offers the best program for your child.
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Working at home with your own children as a family daycare provider offers many rewards and challenges. Having a positive attitude and operating a home daycare in a business-like manner plays a major role in the success you may or may not experience.

Your attitude can greatly affect how you act or react to the challenges you may encounter while caring for other children in your home.

Simply talking to your children or daycare children and being creative in how you handle certain behaviors or situations, allows you the opportunity to deal with those instances as they occur. Quite often, you can turn an unpleasant situation into something that is laughable or at least manageable.

It is imperative that your children feel special and loved. They need to know that even though they share you with other children during “Daycare hours” you love them and are available when they need you.

One great tip is to signal to your children when mom’s in “work mode” by wearing a special apron, visor, hat, or other clothing item with the name of your daycare & a cute logo. When you put your apron or visor on, it means the work day has started. Parents will also take you more seriously, and your kids will know it’s time to follow the daycare rules.

Following a daily schedule and being organized should allow the time needed to complete the necessary tasks of maintaining a home and running a business, while making quality time for your own children.

Enforcing strict hours of operation for daycare parents should reduce the number of early and late arrivals, which can greatly impact your family life and your children’s behavior.

It’s also important when you spend so much time at home, as a mother, provider and wife to make time for you as a person. Make a point to get out of the house every other night, if not every night. Go for a walk, go to the mall, the library, take a class, do whatever it takes to get away from the house on a regular basis and focus on you.

Scheduling ample “time off” not only for yourself but for your family to attend school functions, vacations and doctor appointments is also an essential element of providing home daycare. This allows you time to refresh yourself and spend more quality time with your family.

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