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Old 08-03-2004, 08:04 PM
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As a former childcare provider myself, I can say a couple of things – Ok a lot. I met few other providers that I would have left my child with at all. Some didn't believe in baby gates or couldn't comfort crying baby and just left them to cry it out. You will have to look at several and part-time infant care is very hard to find because of the demand and limited infant slots for someone trying to make a profit.

In contrast, I was very picky about who I would even take into my home. These were my kids playmates all day. I only took breast fed kids as they were generally healthier and had more committed parents. I made sure the parents really wanted their kids and weren’t just dumping them for 10 hours a day. No smoking families as their kids WILL have more colds and flu’s to share with everyone. Did they limit TV time to the recommended to 2 hrs a day? No Power Rangers tolerated. I encouraged early pickups and days off. I also delivered some kids to Dr’s appts and met mom there so the kids wouldn’t have to drive in circles.

Stats will show your child safest in an institutional care setting as no one provider will be left alone with a cranky baby and get mad enough to hit your child. On the other hand, the turn over at these places means your child won't always get that necessary bonding with one person.

A good place is an infant specialist. This person specializes in infants and is limited in most places to 3 babies. They will charge accordingly and deserve every penny.

I also used a neighbor girl who’s mom was always home to give her breaks and advice. And the local grandmother type. I worked only 3 days, then 1 day, then 2 again. What a wonderful boss I had. I had to stay employed to qualify for the house we were hunting for as hubby had just changed jobs and that meant he didn’t count. To weird. But they counted me as full time employed because I always had the option to do so from the boss.

I also recommend looking at their resume. A higher ed level means better overall skills. Some times a credit check can tell you a lot! You are hiring a surrogate parent. Take it very seriously. If they don’t have a contract, they are poor communicators and business people.

And don't rely on licensing agencies to do all the work for you. Inspect the safety features yourself and do lots of unannounced drop in visits. Anyone who won't let you drop in needs to be dropped by you. On the other hand, I had a woman who wanted every cupboard to have a lock. Oh, what a pain that would have been. And why would I lock a cupboard of canned goods or tupperware?? Anything sharp was in one drawer; anything toxic in one cupboard.

Personally, I won't use any provider who was over weight. I am trying to be truthful not mean. They don't carry babies like babies need to be carried. They don't exhibit good play skills and physical games with older kids. Nanny services find that same bias from families that I have; a chubby nanny doesn't do as much physical activity as one who is already athletically inclined.

You are right to do this part-time. Your child needs YOU as much as possible. Consider starting you own child care business. Then you can go to school at night easily. Or find another mom to trade days with?

Some good hard questions you need to ask yourself: Why are you going back to work? Do you know the true hourly wage you will earn after taxes, expenses (car, gas, lunch, to tired for cooking so you eat out or prepped microwave food) and then child care? At one point, I was earning only $1 net take home pay. Ouch. Some great books in the library about being a stay at home mom and the true cost of work. Try Miserly Mom.

Good luck!
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