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Choosing a suitable day care
program for your infant, toddler,
or elementary-age child can be a
real challenge. If this is the first
time that you have needed to find
child care, as it is for my husband
and I, you may feel that you’re
facing one of the most frightening
tasks of your life. You are not
With the rise of two-paycheck
and single-parent households,
child care is in heavier demand
than ever before. Parents are des
perately seeking places to go to
find stable, nurturing, convenient,
and affordable child care. What
are some of the actions that you
can take to find a provider that you
and your child will feel comfort
able with? Let me share a few
ideas for ways that you can begin
to explore child care options in
The first step is to consider
what types of child care options
are available. Child care comes in
many forms, ranging from estab
lished child care centers to family
day care homes, group day care
homes, or child care offered by
friends and relatives. All forms of
care offer their own advantages
and disadvantages, so it is import
ant to weigh each option carefully
and make a selection based on
your own needs.
People and organizations that
may be helpful to you in your
search for child care include rela
tives, friends, neighbors, co-work
ers, churches, schools, YWCA’s,
parenting groups, health and wel
fare offices, cooperative extension
offices, employment services or
local colleges. Other resources
may include classified sections in
local newspapers or community
Making the right choice once
you have narrowed your options is
a very important decision for you
and your child. According to Dr.
James Van Horn, associate profes
sor of family sociology at Penn
State, parents should select a day
care program much as they would
purchase any other service. They
should compare the different ser
vices available, visit day care cen
ters while children are there, talk
to the employees and check refer
“The last thing a parent should
do is make a decision in a rush,”
Van Horn says. “It’s better to
make temporary arrangements
while you search for a permanent
day care program than to place a
childs in the first available pro-
Some important questions that
you may want to ask a potential
provider include the following:
• Are you registered with the
State or affiliated with an associa
tion or agency?
• What kind of experience do
you have with children? How long
have you been providing care?
What sort of training or education
do you have?
• How many children are you
caring for now and what are their
ages? How many children will you
care for at any one time?
• What are the hours that you
provide care? Are these hours
• What are your rales? How
and when are payments made? Do
you pay when your child is sick or
when you take a vacation? When
are you closed?
• What is the daily schedule?
Do children go outside? Is there a
nap time? What kinds of educa
tional activities do you provide?
Do children watch TV and if so,
what programs may they watch?
• Are meals and snacks provid
ed? Can arrangements be made
for my child’s special feeding
• What is the policy for sick
children? Have you had training
in First Aid and CPR? Do you
have a safety plan to follow in
case of emergencies?
• May / visit the home at any
time when my child is there? (the
answer shoidd be yes).
• How do you discipline chil
dren? What are your rules?
In addition to asking questions,
observations can be made, of the
facility or home of the child care
provider. Some things to observe
include the cleanliness and com
fort of the facility, space alloca
tions, safety and age-appropriate
Lancaster Farming, Saturday, August 20,1994-B7
ness of equipment and toys, and
the general organization of the
feeding, sleeping, and activity
schedules in the home or center.
Observations of the caregiver’s in
teractions with children should be
observed and child-staff ratios
considered. Warning signals
should go off immediately for
caregivers who appear to be unre
sponsive to children’s needs, easi
ly irritated or overwhelmed by
their caregiving responsibilities.
The process of exploring child
care options and eventually arriv
ing at a decision about the most
appropriate form of care for your
child is sure to leave you caught in
a rather unpleasant battle of con
flicting emotions. Feelings of anti
cipation about finding a quality
provider or about being able to re-
i> 'd-aiim QAjomen
Lebanon Society 20
Lebanon Farm Women Group
#2O met at the home of Christine
Williams who read devotions fol-
lowed by the Lord’s prayer and
salute to the flag.
The program was about Special
Puppies by Sandy Smith and her
daughter Alice who brought their
dogs. They told about raising and
training them for about a year,
then giving them back for more
training to become Seeing Eye
dogs for the blind.
Twelve members answered roll
call to the question Do you have a
turn to work may be mixed with
less desirable emotions of doubt,
insecurity and guilt over leaving
your child in someone else’s care.
While such emotions are quite
normal, your child will experience
the best adjustment when you de
monstrate confidence in your de
cision, share a communicative re
lationship with your caregiver,
and make plenty of time to share
in quality activities with your
While my need for a child care
provider will not come until
March of next year, I’m prepared
to begin exploring my options
now. Wilih a little advance plan
ning, I’m looking forward to re
placing my anxiety and insecurity
with confidence and satisfaction
in my chosen caregiver.
dog? 1 guest attended.
A report was given on the FFA
food stand at the fairgrounds.
The county convention will be
held at the Quality Inn on Oct. 12.
Vera Gross, Pat Ziegler, Sarah
Funck and Mae Stamm helped in
the kitchen at the Lebanon Area
Fair. Marion Maulfair and Carol
Heagy helped in the dairy bam.
The group donated $25 to the
Seeing Eye Foundation.
The next meeting will be with
Elaine Shuey, program is Bingo