What Do You Look for with In-home Childcare?

Updated on August 06, 2008
C.B. asks from Richardson, TX
4 answers

I have never used in-home childcare but I am considering it for my 10 month old. A few weeks ago I made a post looking for part-time childcare for my son and many local moms replied saying they could care for my sone in their home. My husband is against it because he thinks there is no regulation, this is a stranger and how do we check into them, and it is a private home with potential safety issues. Childcare centers are (supposedly) regulated by the state, of course there are still the occasional children who are left in vans and/or walk over to Hooters, which happened in Denton a few weeks ago.

So what about these stay-at-home moms who take care of 1-3 children in addition to their own? What do I look for? This is new to me so any suggestions would be appreciated. I do not mean to disrespect the moms who replied to my post but I really think this would be the answer if I can convince my husband.

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answers from Dallas on

In home child care can be wonderful for lower ratios of children to caregiver which means more individual attention and reduced illness occurances than a child care facility. The advantages of a child care, however, are that there are multiple caregivers incase there is personal illness or emergencies. Also there is a more steady flow of visitors (more eyes) that see what is happening throughout the day. Some child care are also accredited by DAEYC with lower ratios and higher education for caregivers. Basically they meet a higher standard of care.

If you choose in home care, I would definitely check into licensed in home care providers. You could probably get a list of licensed providers from your local child care licensing office. Then you know that the individual at least meets the minimum requirements as far as CPR and First Aid certification, criminal history background checks, and home safety, etc. I would look for a provider with an open door policy so that you can come in unannounced at any time during operating hours to see the activities. I would also require references. You need to consider what you are comfortable with and ask questions such as... Will they be driving with your child? Will there be visitors in the home that have not completed criminal background checks? Are family pets current on their vaccinations? Is there a back up careprovider in case the primary caregiver becomes ill or has an emergency? For more info you can visit the Texas Licensing Website


Good luck in finding the perfect fit for your little one.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Definitely be sure they are registered and licensed with the state. A lot of times the smaller ones don't get the more intense one (I think it's the license) because of the hassle. Although, obviously, this doesn't necessarily mean you won't get a bad apple, but it does show a commitment to being a careful and trustworthy provider. The state does inspections at set interval rate and posts the results, so you can check out how they rated.

Second is to make sure you check references. Ask for references from people no longer with them, as well as people who are currently there. Ask a lot of questions. If you can swing it, ask the provider if you could spend a day (or part of a day) with her. She would probably enjoy the help and the conversation and you can see firsthand how she relates to the kids and the schedules she follows. At your interview with her, it's very important to see how she interacts with your child. Does she just talk to you and not really even pay attention to your son? Or, does she only pay attention to your son and not seem to want to be professional with you? You would want a balance. For instance, she sits down with you, but also introduces herself to your son and tries to engage him somewhat (at 10 months though, he may hard to pin down!). Of course, look for all the obvious things - clean home, babyproofed, etc. One other idea is to see if the provider is active in the area day care provider association (yes they have these). You can always call the president/chair and ask how involved this provider is. This will help you gauge if she's getting the training that they provide and if she has a support network.

If your hubby can do these things with you, that would be ideal. You can also visit some corporate daycares to see the difference. We opted to go with an in-home daycare because of the family feel. We love it and feel so blessed that we found them. Good luck - it's a tough, but very important decision!!



answers from Dallas on

I go to an in-home daycare and have been really happy. She is regulated by the state. Certified and has her current CPR and keeps everything updated and has inspections as well. We are going through a tough time with our daycare b/c she sets different prices for everyone and doesn't really have rules. The kids are very disciplined, which I like but you need to bring up biting issues, what happens when someone does bite. What you want to be told about what your child does wrong and also how you can work together to correct the situation. I'm sure there's more but that's what I'm going through right now. She never drives with my kids and she keeps a good eye on them constantly.

Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

I have used an in home child care provider for my son about a year ago. Overall it was a good experience. My son got a bad staph infection when I started him in regular daycare, so I pulled him out after he was hospitalized for it and found an in home provider until he got a little older. Definitely find one that is registered and licensed and all that jazz. I will tell you the drawbacks. The lady I used was great with my son, he did really well there. However she had her elderly mother living with her, and her mother got sick and had to be hospitalized. Not to discredit her mother's illness, but when I got a phone call at work that her mother had to go to the hospital, it put me in a jam. My suggestion is too definitely have a back up in case they call in sick. I also had to leave work early one day because the lady's dog got very ill, and had to have emergency surgery or it would die. Now don't get me wrong animals are great, but you are watching people's children and you expect us to drop work to come get our kids because your dog is sick. So I had to go in and tell my boss, I have to go pick up my son because this lady's dog is sick and hope she doesn' freak out over the dog and try and take the kids with her or something else God for bid. So needless to say have a back up or 2 or 3. I do agree with your husband, that if something goes on that you don't like at a regular daycare you have more recourse there than you would with an individual. It's all on what you feel comfortable with. For my son personally it was great for him when he was younger to go to an individual.(He started with her at about 8 or 9 mos. old). He stayed with her until he was about 1 1/2. Then as he got older and started walking and talking more I moved him into a regular daycare where he could get more interaction with kids, and have more a preschool environment.
Good luck with your decision.

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