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Ds is 18 months and we are having to look at using part time day care - likely a couple of days a week. I have been home with him since birth and the thought of someone other than dad or the grandparents watching him is tough. So to you mamas who have BTDT...<br><br>
What makes your caregiver wonderful? What questions did you ask that got the best information? Any other helpful hints? TIA!
 

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Looking back, I chose care providers that I like. I interviewed 3 women and one was nervous and a little hyperactive. The other talked in a high pitched voice and seemed intense. The woman I chose would be friend. She's calm and has the similar ideas about children (they're a gift and little people). And it makes sense that if I like someone because they're like me, then of course my child will be comfortable. Other than that, I asked about:<br><br>
--menu<br>
--activities<br>
--how to deal with a child saying "no" or not following directions<br>
--personalities of other children<br>
--available hours<br>
--location<br>
--own children (ages, personalities, relationship with parents)<br>
--spouse's personality and frequency he is around (my first caregiver had a jerk of a husband and ended spending a lot of time at home with my child)<br>
--attitude towards parents' wishes
 

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I generally screened for folks who I could communicate well with, trust (combo of gut and thorough reference checks), and relate to in some way.<br><br>
* For caregivers who worked in our home... I always had the dog interview them too. She's rather shy and if she likes someone upon first meeting they are usually a good soul.<br>
* Gut/ instinct<br>
* Put their interactions with the kids first when weighing all the factors.<br>
* Involve other people - we always hired with share or co-op situations so the poor childcare providers would interview with at least 2 kids and 4 adults around (sometimes more). I appreciated the extra perspective, and it lead to some wonderful caregivers for our children.<br><br>
For my last childcare provider (an in home daycare provider) it was the words "no TV" and "fresh air" in her ad that got me to click in her website, her politics (had a rainbow ally sticker on her car and an all families welcome decal on her website) and location that excited me about the possibility of finally finding a fit, but her houseful of happy pets (3 dogs, gecko and fish) and children waiting to play with my kids, and her toy selection and warm space and personality that solidified the deal. I wanted to stay at her house all day instead of going to work <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Well we through a lot of providers before we found the perfect one. This is a woman who I kept hearing about as the best daycare person in the area. But she was always full so it took us a long time to get in.<br><br>
When my oldest was a baby we had 3 different Mennonite families. The first one was one that my nephew went to and they were wonderful. The kids were just part of their family and I loved that. The the mom decided she was a little overwhelmed (she ran a pie baking business out of her house and had my son and niece and nephew) so her daughter in law asked to keep him. She was by far the best woman I've ever had watch my kid. Then she got pregnant and about a month before she was due decided to take some time off before her own baby was born so her sister in law asked to watch him. That did not work out so well. So we moved him to a small in home daycare run by an older woman who was supposed to be wonderful. I moved him from there after he came home one day saying his back hurt and that Rhonda had hit him. Turns out he'd pooped in his pants (he was not quite 3 and just potty trained) and she'd spanked him. We never went back. Then we found an opening at the current daycare woman's and he's been there ever since. Now my youngest is there as well.<br><br>
She is the most patient woman ever. She's just nice and kind and I love everything about her house. The food she serves is good homecooked actual food instead of hot dogs and mac and cheese, the kids go outside to play all the time, she plans great activities with them, does field trips and she actually listens to my concerns and wishes and does them. Its been great.
 

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For me, it was the moment that I walked into the center. It was a quiet day, and the worker's in the infant room were sitting on the floor in a cushioned infant play area, gossiping pleasantly while babies crawled all over them.<br><br>
Nonetheless, I asked about feeding, diapering, how they felt about drop-in visits, what they wanted me to send in with my kid, rates, hours, how they deal with emergencies, staff turnover, hiring policies... I can't even remember everything I asked now. It was so important to me to be able to talk comfortably with the center director and the staff, so I drew the conversation out a bit to make sure I was comfortable.
 

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I don't know that there is "the right one". Realistically, there are a lot of people out there who will do a great job of caring for your child and your child will thrive, even if your parenting philosophy and theirs don't match up 100%.<br><br>
I think the key is to weed out the rare potentially unsafe or uncaring providers and then think about what is most important to you and choose the best fit from the pool of possible caregivers. You'll undoubtedly have to compromise on something -- location, price, hours, diapering or sleeping or feeding or TV/computer practices. Just don't compromise on safety or on a provider who doesn't genuinely like children and your child will be fine. If it doesn't work out, you can always find someone else.
 
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