Important questions to ask

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Updated: 8/12/2003 12:11 am
Often, discovering relevant information is a matter of asking the right questions. When choosing daily care for your child, there are several questions you'll want to include in the interviews. If you're considering family daycare, inquire about the caregiver's type of experience. As you might have guessed, caring for three school-aged children requires different skills than caring for infants. While both ages need patience and concern, the procedures for first aid and even monitoring body temperature are quite different. Next, ask about the potential caregiver's developmental goals for your child. Does this provider forego organized academics, or is there formal curriculum to supplement your child's learning? Don't forget to discuss vacation time. Does your family caregiver expect a paid vacation, such as you earn from your employer? Remember to ask for personal and professional references, as well as a driver's license number for a background check. If any applicant complains about this search, it's a good idea to cross them off the 'potential caregiver list.' On the other hand, if you're assessing daycare centers, ask about the programs used to encourage and develop your child's skills. Is the system self-paced or structured with traditional goals and standards? At first, a self-paced program won't measure your child's ability in reading or fact recognition, so discuss how progress is assessed. Be sure to ask whether the center will allow you to take a vacation without paying for care you won't be using. With family care or a center, you can expect that you and the caregivers might have some differing viewpoints. But don't forget, some issues aren't negotiable, so it's important to determine what your priorities are before you interview applicants.

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