Preparing Your Child for Child Care
Your child's transition to child care will be smoother if you prepare your child ahead of time. If your child is old enough to understand, explain what will happen and when. Go over the details of the routine and activities. Visit the program beforehand with your child, several times if possible. Be aware of your own feelings. Your child will be able to perceive your level of confidence and comfort with the program and will likely feel the same way. When you do leave your child, always say good-bye and state that you will return and when. Never try to sneak away.
What's the Right Age to Start?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It depends upon many things. Research suggests that the most important factor is, of course, the quality of care. An infant will thrive if all its needs are being met. Another important factor is how comfortable the parent is about returning to work. If a parent feels good about working and the spouse is supportive of this action, chances are good that the child will have a successful adjustment to child care even if that child is a young infant.
In making your decision about when to begin child care, it may be helpful to know that there is a stage in an infant's development when anxiety over separation is somewhat higher than at other stages. Between the ages of 7 and 15 months, infants become acutely aware of the difference between parents and strangers. They cannot yet understand that when you leave their sight you are not gone forever. Some babies at this stage will become upset when their parents leave the room, even at home. Some experts believe that adjustment to child care would be less stressful if care was started before this period.
Whenever you start your infant in care, expect that the separation will be painful for both of you . Give yourself and your baby time to get used to it.
Sick Child Care
Children regularly get sick throughout the year. For working parents, these illnesses can cause enormous difficulties. They come at unexpected and inconvenient times. Be prepared. Well in advance, arrange a back-up child care plan for those days that your child must stay home. The back-up plan should consist of several alternatives. Talk to friends, neighbors, co-workers and your current care provider to get the names of people who could be called with little notice to provide occasional care for a sick child. Check these people out ahead of time. Talk with the referral service about specific programs in the area that care for sick children.
If you have a spouse, consider taking turns to be home with your child.
Children with Special Needs
The Americans with Disibilities Act (ADA) guarantees children with disabilities the opportunity to participate in all activities of community life, including attending child care. Although child care programs welcome children with disabilities, it doesn't mean that all child care settings will work for you. You need to look for a setting that suits the special needs of your child and a provider with whom you are comfortable. If your child requires medication while in care, you need to use a program that is approved to administer medication. Special needs children have the same basic needs as all children. Talk with the Referral Specialist at the Child Care Council about the care requirements for your child. They can help locate a program that can adequately meet your child's needs.
Child with Special Health Care Needs
All regulated child care centers, family child care homes, and school age programs must be approved in order to administer medicatrion to children in their care, or have an emergency medication waiver.
In choosing a program for your child, please ask yourself:
- Do you want your child to be able to receive medication like Tylenol when they develop a fever while in care?
- Does your child occasionally require an antibiotic that might need to be given while in care?
- Does your child have allergies that might require the use of an epi-pen while in care?
- Does your child have asthma that might require use of an inhaler while in care?
- Does your child take medication on an on-going basis that would need to be given while in care?
If the answer to any of these questions is YES, you'll need to find a child care program that is approved to administer medication. Not all programs or providers are approved to administer medications. Ask to see the program's registration or license. This will indicate if they are allowed to administer medications.