- July 26, 2013
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Are you a parent or guardian that uses or has used a daycare facility for your children? Don’t put yourself down if you do. Many parents use this type of option if one or both parents are working outside the home. However, there may be some things about daycare that you would want to know and that may surprise you.

There are few parenting issues as hot-button as daycare -- is it good for kids or a glorified form of neglect? According to iVillage Health, recent studies have weighed in on both sides, saying that poor quality care can lead to behavior problems, while more nurturing, attentive environments can lead to higher test scores in grade school. But to many parents, exactly what happens in that romper room between 9 and 5 is still unclear. According to some mothers who’ve popped by unexpectedly and longtime daycare workers, a lot more goes on than you think. Here is one of the sixteen tips they suggest are worth your time to know:

Your Child May Be Calling the Daycare Teachers “Mommy”--Kids, especially young ones, often transfer feelings of affection from one person to another -- and the language that goes with it. If your children spend all day with someone who is feeding them, changing them, hugging them and treating their boo-boos, it’s perfectly normal for your child to attach the name usually reserved for that role -- “Mommy” -- to that person. Often the daycare worker will be embarrassed that she’s been given this name, however, and forgo telling the parent.

What to do: Don’t take it personally. It doesn’t mean your child loves you less, or wants to pack a bag and move in with “Miss Kathy.” It does mean she feels comfortable with her caregivers. Consider it a bonus that your child is being well-cared for and loved.

For the other 15 tips on daycare expectations, you can find them at this website: .

Also, according to this website , one of the important functions of a daycare facility is to keep an eye on the weather. Watching the weather is part of a child care provider’s job. Planning for playtime, field trips, or weather safety is part of the daily routine. The changes in weather require the child care provider to monitor the health and safety of children. What clothing, beverages, and protections are appropriate?

1. Clothe children to maintain a comfortable body temperature (warmer months - lightweight cotton, colder months - wear layers of clothing).

2. Beverages help the body maintain a comfortable temperature. Water or fruit juices are best. Avoid high-sugar content beverages and soda pop.

3. Sunscreen may be used year around. Use a sunscreen labeled as SPF-15 or higher. Read and follow all label instructions for the sunscreen product. Look for sunscreen with UVB and UVA ray protection.

4. Shaded play areas protect children from the sun.

Much more information about daycare in general can be found at their home page website: .

A good quality daycare facility can be expensive. Options range from in-home with small numbers of children to large urban locations with large staffs, many workers, and lots of kids. Some are secular and some are faith based. The size of your city and whether you choose a center or in-home care can affect the rates. You should research how full centers usually remain, the training/experience of the childcare provider, and what is included in the rate. What you pay for childcare is not as important as whether you are comfortable with the care your child is receiving and whether your child is in a safe and nurturing environment. More information with lots of regional examples for pricing are disclosed at this website: .

About 8.2 million kids—about 40 percent of children under five—spend at least part of their week in the care of somebody other than a parent. Most of them are in centers, although a sizable minority attend home day cares, according to New Republic magazine. Experts recommend a ratio of one caregiver for every three infants between six and 18 months, but just one-third of children are in settings that meet that standard. Depending on the state, some providers may need only minimal or no training in safety, health, or child development. And because child care is so poorly paid, it doesn’t attract the highly skilled. In 2011, the median annual salary for a child care worker was $19,430.

Do you have a back up plan? Regardless of your child care setting, family child care or center-based, it is important to think about a back up child care plan before you need one. There may be times when you know your provider will not be available and there will be times when your provider may have to be closed on short notice due to illness or an emergency, according to the Child Aware website. To avoid last-minute searches for back up child care, have a plan in place when you start with your primary child care provider. Here are some helpful hints:

--Check with your provider. Your child care provider may have information about back up child care that they suggest or have made arrangements with.

--Plan ahead. Know your provider's schedule. Make note of dates they will be closed (holidays and vacations). These may have been included in the parent handbook or contract. While you can not predict illness, you can be prepared for the planned closures.

--Have more than one back up. You may have family in the area willing to help out from time to time. There may be a stay-at-home mother who has mentioned that she's available if you ever need someone. Create a list of those willing to help out when back up care is needed.

Will your employer help out? Check to see if there are any back up child care programs available through your company. Some employers may offer on-site back up care that employees are able to access. There are also companies that have designated "back up spots" at child care centers within the community. Depending on your job, you may be able to work out a telecommuting arrangement while your provider is closed. More details about daycare and available options can be found at this website: .

Back up is not just back up. When locating a back up provider take the same steps you did in your initial search. Ask the questions, conduct the interviews, visit the location, and ask for references. A temporary solution can still leave a lasting impact on your child. You want to make sure you and your child are both comfortable with the arrangement you select. Do your research so you can feel comfortable with your choice of a daycare facility, according to's website.

Also, there are pre-tax credits available that can help you save money using those dollars to offset the out of pocket costs you pay for daycare. Daycare and childcare payments can take a big bite out of your paycheck. That's especially painful in a tough economy, when you are looking for ways to cut expenses. Fortunately, you can recoup some of the costs by either enrolling in a flexible spending account (FSA) or taking the childcare credit at tax time.

To qualify for either an FSA or the childcare tax credit, both you and your spouse must have earned income. Exception: One of you was a full-time student for five months of the tax year. If you work for a company that offers an FSA, here's a website that is very detailed that can show you how to figure out which option is best for you. Either way, it's like getting a sale price on childcare – something that's virtually never marked down. Go to : .

Regardless of your situation, when daycare is involved, you can bet that you will have a certain amount of angst when it comes to making your decision. However, with the right location, and the right personnel, you can leave your child with confidence. That being said, it’s never easy. Many parents are concerned about their children's safety, health, social and emotional feelings, and more. In most cases, those fears are soon dissipated. If you ever have concerns, though, about any daycare or its staff, always do the right thing by considering the welfare of your child above all else. As well, report any problems that you notice, no matter how slight. After all, their job is to take care of your kids. Your job is to make sure they do it right.

Until next time.

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