Kate’s Corner: Choosing Childcare That’s Right for Your Family
Posted January 5, 2010on:
By now we are all very familiar with the African proverb that Hillary Clinton so famously paraphrased: “It takes a whole village to raise a child.”
I hear these words echoing in my head, and understand their importance, every time I sit and think about EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers and what we try to accomplish for the children in our care.
As parents, our needs are the same wherever we are, whatever we do and however we see ourselves. We need approval, support and a sense of belonging when we take responsibility for the upbringing of a child. For many families in today’s world, the “village” in a child’s life includes a childcare center of some kind, and the decision regarding childcare choices is often very personal and at times upsetting.
Parents make crucial and lasting choices almost every day, but family decisions regarding careers, schooling and finances pale in comparison to the thought and effort that goes into their children’s daily care. Deciding who will care for a child while the parents are at work is difficult and emotional; this needs to be recognized in our profession and in our everyday lives.
Parents are often met with family and community support when they make the decision to place their children into a childcare center. Grandparents, siblings, neighbors or coworkers frequently offer unconstructive criticism or pessimistic opinions as well. As a society with extensive access to incredible amounts of information, we acknowledge childcare experiences from excellence to dismal.
Through experience working with parents over the last 35 years as well as being a mother of three and now grandparent of children in childcare, I can say that I have never met a parent who took the decision of care for their child lightly. Employment circumstances, financial needs and family structure always influenced the final outcome, but the children themselves have always been the main issue.
I have been asked my opinion countless times about what to look for, who to talk to and what to do about meeting the needs of child care in families. My answer is always the same. Ask yourselves the following questions and answer them honestly before the search even begins for a care provider to meet your needs:
- Can we leave our child with someone else for extended periods of time?
- Can we support this decision emotionally and financially?
- Do we agree with each other that this is the direction we will take?
Once these questions are asked and answered, the next real issue is finding the care provider for your child. There are many options and opportunities for families who opt for outside-the-home care, either as a necessity or by choice. If we, as parents, are the ultimate authority when it comes to making decisions about our children, let’s make them positive, loving and informed.
Make learning fun!
-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director