April showers bring May flowers, right? We should have a glorious flower garden to enjoy based on this week’s accumulation of precipitation. As the remaining weeks of the school year quickly slip by, what are your plans for the summer? Do you have children and arrangements made for their care after school is out? It’s not too early to begin thinking about the upcoming change in schedule. Here are some things you might want to consider:
The Ohio Child Care Resource and Referral Organization has some great tips on their web site. (occrra.org) http://ohiochildcarefinder.org/files/Tips%20for%20Selecting%20Child%20Care.pdf they offer explanations to help you understand the details of center-based care. The tip sheet listed above will help you ask questions.
You know your children. Think about what your expectations are, the ages of your children and how often care will be needed. It may be different for a few weeks over the summer compared to during the school year.
Have you decided things such as your home or mine? Your supplies (i.e. food, art materials, money for outings, transportation, etc.) or mine? What will the rules be? How much screen time, outside time, etc.?
What level of experience is needed for your children to be safely cared for?
Are there special needs that require adult supervision vs. teen care taking?
If you are interviewing a care giver (regardless of age) for care in their home, an on- site interview without the children is advisable. Is there a time that you can observe other children in their care? Look for good health and safety practices such as outlet covers, smoke detectors and overall clean environment. Are you welcome to visit any time through the day? Do they have policies or procedures in place that you need to be aware of? Some of these may include a trial period, vacation days, sick days or when payment is expected. If you are thinking of a teen, these may not be things they have thought of, so it would be a good idea to sit down together and come up with a list of expectations, for both the care giver and the child, so everyone knows the responsibilities.
Whether you are the one doing the interviewing or the one being interviewed, you need to have your list of questions and concerns addressed. It is important for the child’s welfare to have supervision and quality care while on their “summer vacation.” If you need help in thinking of questions to ask, give me a call (330-264-8722). There are fact sheets available for both the employer and the employee.
As a parent, you want to have peace of mind that your child is happy, safe and building new skills during their time away from you. As the care giver, you want the peace of mind to know what you can provide and share with children in your care. Both parties need to share ideas and expectations and agree to address any issues that arise in a positive manner. Communication is the key to success.
Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.