Ask the Expert: When to Change Child Care Providers
by Joy McCall, Paths to QUALITY Coach
Changing child care providers can be challenging for many families. Knowing when it is time to find a new provider may be an even bigger challenge. Change is hard for everyone involved in this process. Children need stability and a warm nurturing environment where they can grow.
So, what things should you look for as signs that it is time for you to find a new provider? Below are some questions you can ask yourself to decide if now is the time to look for a new program.
Has your child outgrown their current program?
Many programs can get infants and toddlers off to a good start but do not offer children a challenging program that will meet their needs as they get older.
Does your child’s teacher or caregiver seem consistent?
Many child care programs struggle to keep qualified, educated staff. If you notice a lot of change around your child’s care, you should speak with the teacher and director about your concern before making a big change.
Are you hearing the caregivers talk negatively about your child or other children in the program?
This would be a huge red flag for all parents. If you feel the negative vibes, so does your child. Start varying the time you pick up and drop off your child to observe the environment. Go with your gut. If it doesn’t seem right, it usually isn’t.
Is your child still crying every day at drop off time?
Sure, every child has some adjustment to being away from their parents. That is just what it is: an adjustment. Trust your child’s own temperament when deciding how long this adjustment period should last. If it continues for more than a four-week period, this could be an indicator that your child is not comfortable in their environment.
Does your child have unreported injuries?
Many child care providers have a written policy on making parents aware of injuries and through reports sent home with you. If your child is coming home with unreported injuries on a regular basis, this could be a sign there is lack of supervision, and it may be time to change providers for your child’s safety.
Overall, changing child care providers is a tough decision and is hard for all involved. As parents, our number one goal is to ensure our children are safe, healthy, and cared for properly. Through personal and professional experience, I have learned that building a relationship with your child’s teacher/caregiver is important for your piece of mind as a parent. We are leaving the most precious part of us with someone else to care for them.
When making this decision, please take time to explore your options. There are resources to aid you in making the best decision for your family. Check the FSSA website for information about inspection reports and Paths to QUALITY rating. These tools will help you in making a educated decision for you and your family. If you need help finding a quality child care provider, Child Care Answers can help.