I am so excited to be guest posting for Charise while she snuggles with her little girl during her babymoon. I am Shannon of The Artful Mama and I write about being an attachment parent of two adorable little boys who also works full time outside of the home. Today I’d like to share with you some resources for choosing the right childcare provider for your family.
One of the considerations that working parents need to make is who will care for their children while they are at work. Every parent will weigh this decision carefully and take into consideration their ideals and parenting style when choosing the caregiver. As a natural-minded attached parent I wanted to find a caregiver who would respect my parenting practices. I also needed to make the decision between in-home childcare or daycare center. I knew I could not afford a nanny though that would have been nice – it just wasn’t an option for us. I needed something reliable since it would not be practical if our childcare provider was sick for us to find short term care or to take off of work. I weighed the two options and decided on daycare center.
Since I had made the decision to use a daycare center that would be monitored by the state I needed to do some research since Little Man was in cloth diapers not only for the environment, cost-efficiency and cuteness factor but for his health since he has a latex allergy. I am a teacher myself so I know about accommodations for health restrictions but I was not clear on how that could work with cloth diapers. I did a little research about the regulations that govern daycare centers in my state and found that there was a policy about cloth diapers and that it was possible to use them even without a health condition. I printed that out to take with me when I was interviewing centers. The center we chose was willing to work with us since I already had a plan in place and was able to show them how easy cloth diapering in the center could be.
More importantly I needed to be assured of their support of our breastfeeding relationship and whether they would be able to accommodate our needs. The center was very supportive and also already had features and practices in place to meet our needs. They had a fridge in the center where the milk could be stored daily or if I wished I could store my expressed milk overnight. The center also had a rocker in the room that I could use when I arrived to nurse Little Man right away. I actually did use this rocker a few times and it was nice because the teachers were comfortable and did not make me feel awkward or rushed. We chatted while I nursed and they cared for the other children.
The daycare I chose was also open to babywearing. I did not need to provide a carrier with Little Man because he was not there during a period when his teachers were not able to hold him if he fussed and needed their hands for other things. However, there was a child that entered the school after him that the teachers used a carrier with. They found it much easier to care for the other children and keep this little one happy when they used the carrier. Most likely when my second son enters daycare in the fall we will be sending a carrier with him. He loves to be worn and is much more content then to lay in a crib or baby bouncer.
I also asked them about their philosophy of childcare and how they handled discipline issues with the children. Their philosophy was to love the children as if they were their own. They handled discipline with redirection instead of punishment or timeouts. The one time that I did feel uncomfortable with how I saw a teacher handle a discipline issue with another child, I was able to speak to the director about the issue. The director was very open and understanding to my concerns and spoke with the teacher without making me feel uncomfortable as well.
The most important consideration when choosing a childcare provider is that you are comfortable with them. You made the decision that practicing attachment parenting was the right decision for your family and that returning to work was also a beneficial choice as well. Even though you might not want to be away from your child you should feel confident in the people and the place that you are choosing to care for your child in your absence. Below you can find some resources to get you started when you begin your childcare search. Another good place to start is to ask other parents in your area for recommendations.
- National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education
- Real Diaper Association – Tips for Using Cloth Diapers in Daycare
- Dinker & Giggles – Babywearing: Childcare Providers Need Sanity, Too
- CDC – School and Childcare Vaccine Requirements, Exemptions and Web Links
About the author: Shannon writes at The Artful Mama about her choice to practice Attachment Parenting as a working parent. She and her husband “shift parent” so that their boys spend most of their time with a parent during the day and both parents can work full-time jobs outside of the home.