Helping care go smoothly
Ask providers if they require a written contract. If you pick a provider who doesn't use a contract, prepare one yourself. Include the
hours of care, payments, and other details that are important to you. Keep a
copy with your records.
Whether you choose an individual care
provider or a group care setting, make sure you
communicate and have an understanding with your care
provider about expected behavior, discipline methods, and appropriate
Changing or ending child care
Child care changes will occur and will require careful planning. As
children grow, their needs change. Also, personal preferences, a move, or other
life events may require a different arrangement. Allow time for both you and
your child to adjust by talking about it ahead of time. You may want to plan
something special for your child's last day at the child care center, such as
bringing treats and taking pictures.
your child about what to expect. Stress the positive parts of the change, but
acknowledge the challenges.
Worrying about the effects of child care
Many parents worry that the relationship with their
child will suffer for having another caregiver. Research on the
mother-child relationship shows that its quality is mainly affected by the mother's interaction with the child and other family
Another common concern of parents is whether
children will develop and learn to their potential in a child care setting.
Research shows that the quality of the parent's (in this study, the mother's)
relationship with the child best supports a child's mental and behavioral
growth.2 The more sensitive, responsive, and attentive the mother is, the better the child will do in child
Your child is more likely to become ill when he or she is frequently with
other children. One study shows that children in child care with more
than 6 other children and who are between 3 and 4� years of age have more
upper respiratory infections (such as a cold) than
those in nonparental care with fewer children or who are cared for at
home.3 The spread of many diseases can be
reduced by practicing healthy hygiene habits regardless of what type of child care arrangement you have.
Use hand sanitizer to clean hands if soap and water aren't available.
Having a backup plan
Plan what you will do if your regular provider cannot
keep your child or if your child is sick. Children with mild upper respiratory
illnesses such as minor colds usually can attend child care. (Usually, mild
upper respiratory illnesses are spread before symptoms develop.) Keep
your child at home if he or she has a condition that prevents attending child care, such as
a fever or a rash.
Some cities have child care centers just for sick children.