Five Steps to Finding and Choosing Child Care
Many families reassess their child care needs as they shift from summer into a new school year and fall routines. 

No matter if you're enrolling your child for the first time or making a change, finding child care requires an investment of time and can sometimes feel overwhelming.  

Check out these five tips to guide you through the process and help you make an informed decision about your child's care .
Take Five_1
Contact Child Care Aware. We maintain an online database of North Dakota  child care providers where you can generate a list of options. Better still, you can call  800-997-8515 to speak with a referral specialist to discuss your needs, ask questions, get a customized list of referrals, and alternative solutions. Both options are free.
Take Five_2
Conduct phone interviews.  When you have a list of options, start making phone calls . Ask general questions such as, "Do you have an opening?" "How many children do you care for?" "What are your rates?" If you are satisfied with the responses, set up a time to visit the location to see the setting and talk face-to-face with the care provider.
Take Five_3
Visit child care programs.  Visit and visit and visit again at different times of day to get a complete picture of the daily operation of each program. As a consumer, you have the right to gather the information you need to make an informed decision. The Child Care Aware Checklist   can help you know what to look for and what questions to ask.
Take Five_4
Check references. Ask your potential providers for names of families who have or are using their services. When talking with references, give them your name and explain that you received their information from the child care provider as a reference. The Child Care Aware Checklist offers a list of good questions to ask when talking with references. You can also research a program's quality care rating at Bright & Early North Dakota
Take Five_5
Make a decision. You've researched your options, now it's time to ask yourself: "How do I feel about this program?" "Is it a pleasant place?" "Would I feel comfortable leaving my child there each day?" Once you've made your decision, request a two to four week trial period to ensure that the choice you made is working well for you, your child, and the care provider.

Q.  I'm not sure if I want my child in a large group program or an in-home care setting. How do I decide ?
A. Choosing the type of program can be a challenge. There are pros and cons for each and everyone has different views on what is the best. As you search for care, use the same interview questions for both the in-home and facility settings.  Things will look different between a home and a program with several classrooms, but the same care and concern should be placed on quality no matter what the setting. 
It will also depend on your child. If you are more comfortable with a small group of children for your infant, you may prefer an in-home setting. If you notice that your older child prefers being around children their own age, then a child care facility that has separate classrooms for each age group may be your best choice. 
You may also find that you are comfortable starting in one setting and then later choose something different. That's okay. This is your child care journey. As the parent, you will ultimately know what is best for your child and family .

Explore These Resources to Learn More:

Do you have a question or a topic you'd like us to explore? Contact Parent Services at
PSstaff@ndchildcare.org or call 800-997-8515

Choosing and Using Quality Child Care
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