Finding high-quality, affordable, supervised care for children before and after school can be challenging for working parents.
It’s a good idea to explore all kinds of options, including family-based care, child care centers, school-based programs, or those offered through the YMCA, the YWCA, or religious organizations.
Here are some tips:
Visit several programs. Ask for references.
Does it look safe? Do staff members seem to enjoy interacting with the children? Are there other children your child’s age? Do the activities fit your child’s interests?
Ask if all caregivers have first aid, CPR, and child development training?
Are the discipline policies compatible with your own philosophy? Can children choose activities? Is there an effort to encourage independence and build self-esteem?
Count the number of adults. Be sure there are enough staff members to supervise all children during all activities.
Request the data. How long has the program been open? What percentage of children return each fall? Is the program certified or accredited?
Get informed. Find out about efforts in your community to expand options for child care before and after school.
Then stay informed. Once a child is enrolled in a child care program, be sure to visit and check things out regularly.