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Child Care Options

Month 20

You love your child, but you can't always be with her. The idea of leaving your toddler with a new person may fill you with dread, but finding a babysitter or child care center doesn't have to be a scary experience. 

Here are some tips to help in your search:

  • Start by asking friends, co-workers, and family members to recommend a sitter or child care center they trust.
  • Do your homework. Check references and certification. Ask a lot of questions, like:
    • How many years of experience do you have/How many years have you been in business?
    • Do you/your staff know CPR?
    • What kinds of activities do you do with the children?
  • Trust your instincts. If something doesn't feel right about the sitter or day care center, don't leave your child with them.

Your Toddler's Development This Month

When you play music, does your little superstar start moving, grooving, and bopping to the beat? Toddlers love music, and it can do some amazing things for their brains.

Music helps create new pathways between nerve cells. A few years down the road when your child starts school and is a math and reading whiz, Mozart and other musical friends may be partly to thank!

Month 20 Tips

  • Start your own family sing a-long, sharing fun songs like "The Wheels on the Bus" or the "Hokey Pokey." You don't need to sing in tune, you just need to sing!
  • Songs are a great way to teach simple skills. The ABC song teaches your child the alphabet. "This Old Man" helps kids learn how to count.
  • Before you leave your toddler alone with a new sitter, go over your house rules, your child's routine, and what to do in case of an emergency.
  • If you're evaluating a childcare center, watch how the staff interacts with the children. The staff-to-child ratio should be one staff person for every three to five young children.
  • When your child pushes the plate away, it means she's full. Don't force her to clean her plate -- it could lead to an overeating habit.
  • Grandparents can be great role models -- not to mention babysitters! If the grandparents don't live close enough to visit often, use the phone and Internet to keep your kids in touch.
  • No matter how much your toddler screams or gets under your skin, don't spank. Giving her a time-out or taking away a toy is a safer and more effective way to stop bad behaviors.

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