Finding Quality Child Care with Confidence

Are you looking for quality child care like so many others? Are you a new parent finding childcare for the the first time? Have you had challenges with your searches in the past? Or are you considering offering care to others, so that you can stay at home and provide your own early childhood learning for your child(ren)?

I am a mom of two and an early childhood educator. I’ve been through the search for quality care both as a parent and as a child care provider. I’ve also been through the process of setting up my own family child care services.

Getting started

When I first needed care I had a bit of an inside scoop. I was trained to provide quality early learning and care. How hard could it be to find the right caregiver for my family? It turned out to be much more challenging than I’d imagined.

I started my search with family dayhomes. We’d decided that we wanted a small home-like setting where our children could remain together all day. It turned out that our area did not have a large number of providers who treated home based care in a professional manner. The supply of quality care was very limited.

Dealing with crises

Some time after our children had been in a fantastic centre that we loved, our circumstances changed. We found ourselves in a pinch looking for flexible care, and unable to make things work for our family. We explored many different options, only to have each one fall through.

We tried a dayhome provider who turned out to be less than ideal. As I will advise every parent I know, when your gut says it’s not right, follow your instincts. We terminated our contract with this provider before any harm was done. Others who chose to remain weren’t so fortunate.

We hired a few different in-home (but not live-in) caregivers, only to have one move away, one become-ill and another return to school full-time. Finally we settled on a cooperative arrangement with friends. This turned out to be the best option for everyone. Our children were happy, and I could be confident they were in good hands.

Options for care

Sometimes the right solution is a creative one that wouldn’t ordinarily have been the first choice.

Just how do you determine:

Child care costs and what fits within your budget?

What qualities of care are most important to you?

How do you evaluate all of the possibilities to determine the right fit for your family?

How do you assess if the caregiver has what you are looking for?

How do you monitor your child care arrangement once it has begun?

The child care search
The child care search in the fall, and how to take the scramble out of the search for quality care.
Your child care choices and finding the right one
A discussion of your child care choices and how to find the right program or caregiver for you.
Child Care Costs
Helping parents determine true child care costs, including tax benefits and deductions, and other costs associated with specific types of care (i.e. in-home/nanny care).
Child Care Laws
Where to find relevant child care laws and regulations


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Finding the Right One – the challenge of securing quality childcare

Digging into my archives I found an article that I wanted to link to in my next blog entry. This is several years old, but the still applies. I’ve updated the links, since I can no longer find my own article that was referred to here.


Finding the Right One

– the challenge of securing quality childcare

I have had many people ask me how to go about finding childcare, what questions to ask, what type of care I would recommend…

I worked in most different capacities of early childhood, prior to having my first child. One thing that cemented my decision to stay home with my children is the challenge of finding the quality childcare.

There are basically three options of childcare to consider: licensed group childcare; home-based childcare (licensed and unlicensed); and in-home care (Nannies).

What age will your child(ren) be when they require care? Space is often limited for children under two years of age.

How many children do you require care for? Once you have 3 or more children in care, it is often more economical to consider hiring in-home care.

Do you require ‘full-time’care (typically Monday to Friday, 7am to 5pm)? Any flexibility required will affect availability of childcare space.

What are your children’s temperaments? Will they thrive in a large group of same-age children? Do they require an intimate, mixed age-group setting? Are they flexible and able to adapt to new routine easily? Do they need their familiar environment and routine to cope well?

Once you have determined the type of care that works best for your family, how do you secure and maintain quality childcare? There are some obvious and some subtle things/questions to help you determine if the care you are considering is quality – you can visit and for some suggestions.

The bottom-line is that licensing does not equate quality. While it should give you piece of mind that a centre or caregiver has met the minimum standards set by licensing, it is ultimately up to the parents to monitor quality of care. I am a huge advocate for childcare licensing, however it is my opinion that the standard set by licensing is 1) difficult to enforce, and 2) a minimum standard that any quality childcare centre should strive to not only meet, but to exceed.

I cannot stress enough: if anything about a care arrangement does not sit right with you, go with your gut. This is a very personal decision, and one of the most important you’ll ever make in your child(ren)’s formative years. Taking the time to strive toward a long-term arrangement for your family will benefit your child(ren) to the utmost.

Most importantly, observe your children in care! Even after all arrangements have been finalized, be sure to re-evaluate how the arrangement is meeting the needs of your family!

Trish McCourt

ECE and mother of 2