Written by Audrey Silcox
Oftentimes, couples mutually decide when having children that one parent will stay at home with the children while they are young to be the full time caregiver. This usually affords many happy memories and contentment for the children unless divorce occurs. This stay at home parent is now placed in a less than perfect situation. Not only is this parent attempting to juggle responsibilities created by divorce but is now faced with gaining employment to become self-supportive. Divorce itself creates many concerns and decisions but when the need arises to not only seek employment but to entrust your child to a stranger who will be supervising their wakeful hours more than you, this can create much stress. This parent has now been tossed into many different roles at once and may lead the parent to become angry, when in fact the decision for this parent to stay home was a mutual decision between spouses. This parent is now faced with diminished resume skills when seeking gainful employment in the midst of the family’s lives in complete disarray.
When faced with the realization that daycare is imminent, searching for the perfect daycare where you feel comfortable for the safety and well-being of your child is a must. There are many factors that you must consider during this search. Guidelines that may assist in this search are listed below and it would be beneficial to continue building upon the guidelines for your interview. Obtaining information helps reduce stress as you obtain concrete knowledge concerning their policies, observation during the center hours, safety policies, etc.
Guidelines to consider when seeking the perfect daycare:
- When single parenting, you may not be able to depend on the other spouse to assist when it is your custodial time with the children, therefore it is imperative to know the hours of the child care’s operation. Is there an additional fee for arriving late for pick-up and if so how much? If either spouse’s job requires working second shift, how will that parent take care of the child? One question to ask if they are not open twenty-four hours is if there are any private recommendations for sitters if there is no extended family available to assist.
- If there are older children who attend school, does the daycare have an after school program, if not, does the school offer a program? Factoring in the cost of these expenses will be needed when you seek divorce as this is often considered. If you must drive to after school daycare and then to preschool daycare in two different locations after work, how will you accomplish this? A plan must be sought and established. If one parent has working hours that can accommodate the hours in the evening, maybe the other parent could assist with the morning hours. Working as parents in this manner will not only help each spouse but will also allow for the children to visit with both parents.
- What is the daycare’s policy to care for a sick child? Is a sick child allowed to attend and constitutes calling a parent when a child becomes ill during the school day, etc.? Now that both parents are working, when a child becomes sick, will both parents alternate who misses work, or what will occur when the child is sick? Asking the daycare if they have a referral nurse sitting service which may reduce the absence from work may be helpful. Also, what is the center’s policy for immunizations? Are the workers certified in CPR and know the proper procedures for child safety?
- How many meals and snacks does the center provide? If your child has a food allergy this should be discussed. If the center offers breakfast, this may be helpful with the morning routine.
- Visit the center without your child the first time to analyze the center without interruption. Watching the center’s activities, reviewing the time schedule and reviewing the overall visual surroundings, especially cleanliness will help you in the decision making process.
- How are children supervised if an employee has to leave the room, when taking naps, and on the playground? How many children are assigned to each teacher, thus teacher/child ratio? Does a classroom also have additional aides for supervision?
- What is the center’s policy for sanitizing? Where are the medicines that children bring from home? How are the toys sanitized to minimize germs?
- What are the director’s qualifications and degrees, if any? Knowing if the teachers have knowledge of what children’s needs are at different ages and how to nurture their growth and intellectual abilities may also be helpful.
- What are safety plans in case of fire, tornadoes, outside intruder entering the center, etc.? What are the safety measures for keeping medicines out of children’s reach, security cameras, keeping doors locked and children not allowed to wander around unattended?
- Have all the daycare employees had a background check to ensure the children’s safety? Do all employees work within a central location and is there a recording device in all rooms? Has there ever been a report filed against any of the employees or the center concerning safety or child abuse?
- What are guidelines for outside play? Is the play area fenced and how often are the grounds checked for safety issues such as ant beds, broken glass and holes in the grounds that may cause injury. Is the equipment such as swings, etc. checked often and is the sand box sand replaced on a regular basis?
- What is the policy for the child leaving with anyone except the parent who brought the child to daycare? If your divorce decree allows for custodial visitation, exchanging the child through daycare may be an option to ensure less contact with the other parent and minimize stress for your child.
- As your child matures, what curriculum is followed for teaching and the center’s goals? If field trips are taken, how are these conducted to ensure safety?
No one can take a parent’s place when raising their children but if daycare must be sought after divorce, knowing the questions to ask and what to look for when visiting daycare establishments is a must. This will help ease the transition of relinquishing parent responsibility when entering the work force.
Divorce Tool Box understand the transition that families face through divorce. Visit our website at www.divorcetoolbox today to see how our online sessions can help you.