Author Archives: childcare

Child Care Complaints – Your Rights

Child Care Guide

Sometimes while your child is in child care things don’t run smoothly and problems can occur, these can range from little problems that can be quickly dealt with and corrected to more serious issues which need outside help.

In the UK this outside help is called Ofsted, different countries will have protection and names will differ but basically all provide protection for regulating the quality of day care centers. Day care centers which are regulated include:

  • Pre schools
  • Day nurseries / child care canters
  • Out of school clubs for children under the age of 8

All child minders and day care providers have to by law meet certain standards set by Ofsted and this is the organisation you can get in touch with if you have any concerns about the standard of care provided by your day care center. They will help you resolve any serious issues that you have regarding the child care provider.

What should I do if I have a concern?

Most concerns can be resolved by talking with the head of the child care service you are using, if you feel the problem is not resolved through talking then the next step would be for you to write your complaint down.

The law states that all child care providers must keep parents well informed and deal with any issues promptly and all child carers must have a written complaints procedure for parents to follow.

What will the child carer do?

If you make a formal complaint in writing then the child day care provider must by law investigate the issue fully. They must provide you with a written account of the investigation within 28 days of you issuing the complaint.

This should include any action they have taken to resolve the issue or action they are going to take. Child carers are also required to keep a record of complaints and by law they have to show parents on request.

What can I do if I’m still not happy?

If you are not happy with the outcome after following the procedure then you can contact a member of staff at Ofsted, Ofsted will want to know any key names, times and dates and will want this in writing as well. Ofsted will try to keep your name confidential while investigating though sometimes this is not always possible.

What if I have concerns about my child’s safety?

If you suspect that your child is being abused in anyway while being under the care of a care provider then you should report your concerns immediately to Ofsted. According to the nature of the complaint they will take the appropriate action, if the complaint is against a member of staff at a day care center then Ofsted will ask the center to investigate.

The day care center will have to work closely with a member of Ofsted keeping them informed with the conclusions they reached and any action taken. Occasionally during an investigation the child care provider may get their registration taken away especially if Ofsted think that children might be at risk. If this happens the day care center cannot operate and must close until the matter has been resolved fully.

If you have a complaint and have gone through the procedures outlined above but are still not happy then you can contact:

Early Years Complaints Line on 0845 601 4772

Is Your Child Being Bullied At Child Day Care

Child Care Guide

Bullying is something unfortunately that happens in any system where groups of children are together for any period of time and day care centers are no exception, but fortunately all establishments will have a policy on bullying and how they deal with it.

Information on the particular day care center’s policy regarding bullying is always available and any staff member will be more than happy to provide you with details on how to get this information.

Signs that your child might be getting bullied

  • Your child develops a reluctance to go to day care.
  • Your child makes excuses such as feeling ill on a regular basis.
  • Your child has problems going to sleep.
  • You see cuts, bruises or scratches that can’t be explained happening on a regular basis.

Bullying can have a drastic affect on your child they can quickly turn from a happy go lucky child who enjoys life to depression and often withdraw into themselves which then affects development. If you think that your child is being bullied while attending day care then it is essential that you talk with members of staff at the center.

Centers usually assign one member of staff to work with a group of about five children so this is the place to start, sit down and talk with your child’s care provider and tell them of your fears and any evidence you have to substantiate those fears. All child care centers will have a policy in place regarding discipline procedures and bullying isn’t taken lightly.

What the center should do

  • Take you seriously when you approach them regarding bullying.
  • Pay special attention to your child when in their care to ensure bullying doesn’t continue.
  • Talk with the parents of the child who is doing the bullying.
  • Discuss ways of dealing with the bullying in the future.

What you can do if the day care center doesn’t take you seriously

  • If you are not happy with what’s been done at the day care center regarding your child’s problem then ask to speak to the head of the day care center and voice your displeasure.
  • If the day care center is run by a council then write to the council voicing your displeasure.
  • Work with the day care center closely maybe even stay for one or two times with your child and observe firsthand.

What you can do to help your child

  • Encourage your child to keep away from the child or children who are bullying.
  • Make sure they understand they are not facing the problem alone and that help is available to them.
  • Make sure they know to stay near a carer and always ask for help if they need it.
  • Role play a bullying incident and make suggestions of better ways to handle it should bullying occur.

Most respected and well established child care centers run by professional staff will do everything that is in their power to quickly deal with a bullying situation, most will teach the children to respect other children and encourage them to help each other.

The majority of cases regarding bullying will be confronted with and dealt with efficiently but if you are not satisfied with results taken by the center and the bullying continues within the care center then outside help may be needed.

There are several options available if you are not satisfied with the results including calling the organisation directly which is in charge of the day care center and getting help from organisations that can give you more information on your rights such as kidscape and childline.

Making Sure Your Child Is In Safe Hands

Child Care Guide

If you are leaving your child in the hands of a carer for several hours each day then it is essential that you have peace of mind and know your child is safe in your absence. The type of care that you choose for your child will affect the options available to you for finding information on your chosen care provider.

Is your child safe?

Essentially all people who work with or near children in main organizations such as child care day centers, schools and after school care clubs run by authorities or schools have to by law have a criminal records check made, this includes everyone, care providers, teachers, meal providers and parents who volunteer their services within these establishments.

The check is referenced using a computer which checks your background for any criminal offences that you have on record with the criminal records bureau.

However this only works for those in organisations and any person you employ through means of your own, for example hiring a carer through an advertisement, background checks will have to be made by yourself.

Parents who choose to hire a nanny, au-pair or child carer themselves cannot apply for a criminal records background check, however if the nanny, au-pair or child carer is supplied through an agency then the agency can ask for a criminal background check to be made.

Day care centers

Staff working in day care centers run by local authorities will have had the screening process automatically when they applied for the position, this will have included the criminal background check with the criminal records bureau.

After school clubs

If the after school club is organised by a school then full background checks will have been made on teachers and also any parent who volunteers to work in the school system, the background check will have included a criminal records check with the criminal records bureau. Day care centers will also have been screened thoroughly to ensure no person with a criminal background works with children.

Nannies

If you employ a nanny from an agency then they will have had background checks and screens with the criminal records bureau before being taken on by the agency.

Au-pairs

If you hire an au-pair through advertising yourself then it will be down to you to make a background check on the person and ask for references, as most au-pairs have come from other countries this can be difficult.

Childminders

All child minders have to registered by law and have adequate training and as such will also be screened for any criminal activities.

What you can do to check the background of a prospective child carer

If you decide to hire a child carer yourself then you cannot check their past with the criminal records bureau you will have to try and find out for yourself if the person is suitable to be working with children. It is always a good idea to ask for references from other positions the candidate has been employed in.

The carer should have references from families they have previously worked for and should offer these to you during the interview. Always follow up on the references which should include telephone numbers, call the numbers and ask about the child carer, questions such as:

  • Was the carer trustworthy?
  • Why did the carer leave the position?
  • What was the level of care provided by the child carer?
  • Was the child carer punctual?
  • Were the parents happy with the level of care provided?
  • Would they recommend the child carer?

Background checks can be made by companies specialising in tracking people and several web sites also offer the opportunity of conducting background checks on people.

The level of information you can find out about a person having a background check performed on them varies from simple checks such as history of addresses, age, if they have children or not to more expensive and through checks including any criminal convictions.

It is always wise to tell the person you are going to conduct a background search on them before doing so and if they have nothing to hide then this won’t cause a problem.

Word of mouth can also be used and friends can often recommend baby sitters or child minders they have used in the past who are trustworthy. Whichever method you choose to take always remain vigilant and on the lookout for signs that something could be amiss.

Making The Transition Into Child Care Easier

Child Care Guide

Leaving your child with strangers for the first time is hard for the mother, it can be an emotional time especially if this is the first time that you will have left your child for any length of time, for some children entering childcare can be a stressful time too.

The first day is always the hardest and tears can often be expected from both the mother and the child. Some children take longer to settle down than others it all depends on the child.

There are however steps which you can take to make the transition a little easier for the both of you, for if your child is more settled when you leave them it also makes it easier on you. Below are some helpful tips to make the transition easier:

  • Sit and talk with your child about attending child care

It can be helpful if you sit quietly with your child and talk about them attending the day care center, explain to them that they will be taken good care of and they only have to ask the carer if they need anything.

Explain to them that you are not leaving them forever, try and find an easy way to associate the length of time you will be away from them to something they can relate to.

Give them plenty of reassurance that you will always come back for them and try not to let them see any anxiety in you, try and make it sound like an adventure. Explain fully the type of activities they can take part in while they are there and point out that they will make friends while there.

  • Read your child a story or watch a video on day care centers

There are several books available which you can read to your child about attending day care centers, these are story books with pictures that the two of you can share, some of them have flaps your child can lift which makes the whole process fun.

It is also worth paying a visit to your local library as you might be able to borrow books. Pick up a video on child day care centers and watch it together explaining if necessary what is happening in the video and how it relates to your child.

Before your child attends the day care centers pay them a visit together

Having chosen the day care center, take your child with you and spend a little time there, most day care centers will offer you this choice automatically and it is worth taking them up on it. This gives your child the chance to explore his/her new surroundings and meet the carer’s and the children who attend the center.

Go with a positive attitude because children pick up on their mother’s feelings and if you are showing signs of apprehension then your child will pick up on it. Who knows your child may surprise you and leave your side the moment you get there.

  • When the day comes be prepared to stay for a while with your child if necessary

If your child is really upset when the time comes to leave them it may be necessary to stay with them for a short while until they settle down, different nurseries will have different policies regarding this and it is worthwhile finding out the policy of your chosen day care center beforehand.

Some carer’s think from experience that sometimes it is better for the parent to just walk away and leave the child even if they are upset. This might seem cruel but most times it is surprising how quick your child will settle down once you are out of sight.

Others think this method is unfair on the child and the mother and will ask that you stay with your child for a short time until they have a chance to settle down.

Child Care: Questions To Ask

Child Care Guide

Whichever form of child care you choose to take, be it a day care center, nanny or baby sitter there are several very important questions that need to be thought about or asked before choosing who to leave your child with. Listed below are just some of them:

  • What is the ratio of carers to children, are there enough carers?
  • Do the carers seem happy in their work?
  • Do the children in the center seem happy?
  • Are the children encouraged to talk with the carers?
  • When a child acts out what is the carers response?
  • Is the care center in good order?
  • Does the care center look bright and cheerful?
  • Is the equipment in the center in good repair, is it safe?
  • Is there a list of daily activities, does the list include things such as quiet time, rest and story time?
  • Is the nappy changing area clean and well sanitised?
  • Does the care center have a menu on show and if so is the diet a healthy one?
  • Are menus given to parents beforehand and are there choices?
  • Does the food that is given actually match what’s on the menu?
  • Are the toys suited to the age range of the children?
  • Are the toys within easy reach?
  • Is there protection around play items such as slides and swings?
  • Is the outside play area fenced off?
  • Are the premises safe, do they have an alarm system on the main door or can just anyone walk into the center?
  • Is there any rock, ditches or uneven surfaces in the outdoor play area?
  • Are children encouraged to wash their hands after using the bathroom and before eating?
  • Do the children have easy access to clean towels and toilet paper?
  • Do carers wash their hands when moving between groups of children, before handling food or feeding the children?
  • Do the carers wash their hands after touching any bodily fluids such as wiping a runny nose or treating a cut?
  • Does the center use disposable paper towels which ensure that each child uses his own towel?
  • Is any medication that children take safely locked away and does it each have its own label clearly printed on it stating the name, age and address of the child?
  • Are there separate sinks for food preparation and cleaning and hand washing?
  • What kind of first aid policy does the center have?
  • Does the center have carers that are trained in first aid and hold certificates?
  • What is the center’s policy in case of emergencies?
  • Does the center keep up to date information on names and addresses of all the children who attend?
  • Has any of the staff had training in how to deal with a problem child?
  • What is the centers policy regarding bullying?
  • How do the carers chastise any bad behaviour?

Summer Camps For Your Child

Child Care Guide

School summer holidays are particularly long and if parents work who can take care of the children during this time? Some child care centers are open during the school holidays and are there to take care of your children of course but as an alternative why not try a camp?

This will make a pleasing change for your child and the choices of camps are varied with something suitable for everyone and are there for the entire summer holiday period. Children can spend as little as a single day or the entire summer holiday at camp, taking part in various activities which are usually scheduled throughout the day.

Camps are usually run in a structured format from morning until tea time then the children often have free time to choose which activities they want to do. The children are supervised all of the time be it structured or free time and camps will usually cater for children aged between 4 and 13 years old.

Local day camps

Day camps provide daily course or play schemes during the week in the summer holidays, they will usually offer different programs on an age basis including nursery schemes for children under the age of 5 to action packed activity courses for teenagers.

Prices vary from venue to venue but on average a day will cost around £25, this will include activities throughout the day, usually up to 8 activities will be structured over the day with some free time for your child to relax in under supervision. Activities for teens include:

  • Snorkeling lessons
  • Horse riding
  • Go-kart racing
  • Gymnastics
  • Circus training
  • Quad bike

Residential adventure holidays

Residential camps are becoming increasingly popular with children and teenagers during the summer holiday break from school, residential camps usually run for at least a 7 day period and most camps of this type are multi-activity theme camps, which mean they provide activities based on themes such as sport, drama, outdoor, water and games.

Camps of this type will also provide entertainment during the evening for your child such as a themed disco, cinema and karaoke nights. Activities provided for children and teenagers include:

  • Rock climbing
  • Archery lessons
  • Basketball
  • Arts and craft lessons
  • Drama lessons
  • Singing lessons
  • Scuba diving
  • Water polo
  • Water basketball

Special interest clubs

For those children who are into a particular hobby or sport there are several clubs that offer specific courses for children, clubs of this type will normally take children between the ages of 7 and 16 and are usually provided for at least a week. Some of the activity weeks that clubs such as these provide are:

  • Golfing courses
  • Football and rugby
  • Motor sports
  • Pony trekking
  • Science camps
  • Music camps
  • Swimming camps
  • Art camps
  • Water sport camps

Most clubs will offer package deals, for example the longer you book the cheaper the price becomes, price includes all activities throughout the day, full board and meals and snacks throughout the day, the price also includes evening entertainment.

All staff has to be fully trained in first aid and have qualifications in child care and all camps are inspected and have to meet certain regulations regarding safety. In most cases staff will have had to pass a criminal records background check and staffs who works with children under the age of 8 year old will have to be registered as child minders by law.

Child Care Options While You’re At Work

Child Care Guide

There are various options open for parents needing someone to care for their children while they work, the decision will have to be made wisely as your child will be with your chosen carer for many hours a day every day of the week so it is essential that you have peace of mind they are safe and well looked after as well as receiving the stimulation needed for learning and development in the early years. Listed below is a comprehensive guide to the different types of care that is offered:

A Nanny

Nannies will care for your children in your own home and often form a close bond with your child or children because of this; a nanny has to be registered as a child minder with local authorities.

The nanny will provide your child with activities during the day depending on the age of the child and may also perform some light duties around the home such as cleaning the child’s room; the nanny will also assist in the social development of your child.

There are several nanny agencies that will take your needs and the age of your children into account and pair up suitable candidates which you can then interview in your home; this is often the best way of choosing a nanny.

After school clubs

Many schools now offer an after school club to provide your child with care in between leaving school and you returning home from work, activities will be made available for your child and they will have the option of purchasing snacks and drinks.

Some day care centers offer after school care and some have a separate facility from the main day care center specially providing activities and snacks for your child.

An Au-pair

Au-pairs are usually young and often do not have any qualifications in child care as such, they will live in your home and provide care for your child as well as performing household duties, they will essentially take care of the home for you while you are working often performing shopping, cooking and cleaning duties.

Child day care centers

Day care centers can be an expensive form of child care especially if you live in a big city, staff at the centers will hold certificates in child caring on various levels and will have been trained in dealing with problem children and children with special needs.

Care centers will provide meals and activities for your child based on age and some centers have after school care programs suitable for older children. Children can benefit from attending a day care centers, mixing socially with other children the same age but are more at risk of catching childhood illnesses from mixing.

Child minders

A child minder has to be registered to provide care for children and babies, a child minder will generally look after children in their own home and an inspection will have been made into the suitability of the home beforehand.

All child minders will have had a criminal record check made to rule out any criminal activity and they will have attended a registration course and first aid course. They will be up to date on topics such as child nutrition, health and safety and food hygiene.

Family members or friends

This option is particularly appealing as you know your child will be safe with relatives, also your child won’t have problems when you leave because they know the person they are with. Family members are usually more flexible than nannies and make an excellent choice for after school arraignments for your child.

Choosing A Babysitter Tips

Child Care Guide

Whether you need a baby sitter for the odd occasion or if you need one on a regular basis, there are certain precautions that should be taken before entrusting your child or children in their care. Always trust your better judgment when choosing a baby sitter and write down before hand any questions that come to mind before interviewing possible candidates for the job.

Where can I find a babysitter?

  • Ask friends who they use and how long the person has been babysitting for them.
  • Enquire at local colleges, look on notice boards ,quite often students will be looking for work as baby sitters especially if they are taking courses in child care.
  • Look in your local library for notice boards.
  • Look in your local newspapers.
  • Look in the yellow pages for listed agencies that supply baby sitters.

Requirements a baby sitter should have

  • Do they have the patience needed to look after a child in difficult circumstances for example if the child is unwell or starts crying?
  • Are they able to stay calm and know what action to take in an emergency?
  • Is the baby sitter competent in first aid, would they know what to do if your child was choking or having an asthma attack.
  • Are they responsible and are they willing to accept responsibility for your child’s life?
  • What chastisement would they give if your child was unruly?

Points to consider when interviewing a potential sitter

  • Make sure they understand how many children they would be expected to look after, the children’s ages and any special problems relating to your children.
  • Determine how the sitter will arrive and return home, if you are late returning home then often it is courtesy to take the sitter home or pay for a taxi.
  • Go over any restrictions such as access to your phone, refrigerator, whether they are allowed to bring a friend into your home and rooms that are out of bounds.
  • Present a few “what if” scenarios to see how the sitter would react.
  • Make your expectations clear of the care you wish for your child.
  • Ask about the sitters fee.
  • Ask if the sitter would be flexible and how they would deal with unforeseen events such as you getting held up in traffic.

Information the sitter should know before you leave

  • Allow time for the sitter to become accustomed to your home, show them around and if need be go over anything that isn’t clear.
  • Make sure you write down information such as heating milk and food for the baby/child.
  • Make sure the sitter knows when bedtime is and discuss any special requirements such as reading bed time stories.
  • Make sure the sitter knows if your baby uses a pacifier or sleeps with a certain stuffed toy.
  • If your child needs medication then make sure the sitter understands the correct amount or how to give help with inhalers.
  • Be sure the sitter knows what to do in the case of an emergency, make sure they know where the first aid box is.
  • Discuss what action to take in the event of a fire.
  • Make sure the sitter knows exactly where you are and is given a telephone number to reach you in case of an emergency.

What you can do to help the babysitter before they arrive

  • Minimize unpleasant tasks such as changing the baby beforehand and if it is close to bedtime have them bathed and in their nightwear.
  • Leave food for the sitter, maybe sandwiches, crisps or popcorn.
  • Try and return home at the specified time and if you are going to be late make sure you give the sitter warning where possible.
  • Be sure to leave clear instructions before you leave such as what time the child has to be in bed and if they are allowed snacks.

Unruly Child Behaviour In Child Care

Child Care Guide

Most children can be a little noisy, energetic and sometimes get a little too excited but sometimes just a little too much and this can turn to unruly behaviour and problems especially when in school or child care.

When behavioural problems crop up on a regular basis parents should then begin to suspect whether or not their child has a behavioural problem and also what they can do about it, If it becomes a big problem then schools and day care centers may refuse to take your child until their behaviour improves.

What has an affect on a child’s behaviour?

Parents/carer’s

Your child may not think you are spending enough time with them and by acting out through being naughty this gets your attention, it is important to let your child know that you are there for them and love them but that sometimes you can’t spend the quality time with them that you would like.

Try and set clear rules about behaviour and make sure the child knows that they won’t get what they want just because they throw a tantrum. If you are a two parent family then both partners must stick to the same rules otherwise children will play one parent against the other.

If you are a single parent and your child spends time in day care then make an appointment with the day carer, if the behaviour hasn’t already caused a problem within day care it could soon jeopardise your child’s place in day care.

Talk over with them the rules you set ay home regarding bad behaviour and ask them how they would deal with it in child care.

Genes

Some children are more excitable than others and can often be very boisterous but behaviour is usually controllable. Children such as these will take a lot of looking after and need constant stimulation to keep their excitability under control.

Stages of behaviour

Tantrums

Most children will have a tantrum at some stage and these are not generally something to worry about though they can often be loud and particularly embarrassing if you are out in public.

It is important that you remain calm throughout the tantrum and providing your child cannot harm themselves then it is often best not pay too much attention to a tantrum, once your child realises they aren’t going to get what they want through causing a fuss they quickly calm down.

Nurseries and child care minders will be quite used to seeing children having tantrums and will know how to deal with them, however if you have any special preference to how you would like them to deal with your child when in their care then make sure you talk it over with them beforehand.

Naughtiness

All children can be naughty to some extent such as writing on walls, fighting with class mates and ignoring requests, this is a general behaviour pattern in growing children. Often behaviour of this kind is limited to isolated incidents or your child will go through a stage of naughtiness.

Behaviour such as this will often be a test to see how you or the child carer will react and how far they can go, sometimes naughty behaviour can be a way of getting attention, if there are a lot of children in the day care center then it may your child’s way of getting attention from the staff.

Day care center staff will have a policy for disciplining children who miss behave and this should be discussed by your child’s carer and yourself. A lot of day care centers will have a quiet area and usually children who persistently misbehave will be taken to the quiet corner for 10 minutes or so giving them a chance to settle down before returning to their class mates.

If your child persistently misbehaves and is causing a disruption in day care then you may be asked to stay with your child for a while and in rare cases children can be removed from day care due to disruptive behaviour especially if other children are threatened.

Getting help for persistent bad behaviour

Occasionally an illness will cause persistent bad behaviour in a child so if the pattern continues or worsens then it is essential you talk with your health visitor or Doctor regarding this.

Your Doctor will be able to rule out any medical causes such as ADHD and suggest ways of dealing with your child’s behaviour problem. There are also support groups where parents with problem children can meet and discuss how they cope with behavioural problems.

Volunteering For Child Care

Child Care Guide

Helping children and looking after them is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world, nothing can bring greater satisfaction than seeing a child improve or learn something new with your help. There are several ways in which you can offer your services and help to care for or to teach children without having to take certificates or get training. Listed below are just some of the ways you can make a difference:

Your local school

Schools will always welcome parents help with open arms, anyone working with children in any capacity in any authority run establishment now have to have screening, this check is made with the criminal records bureau and ensures that everyone who comes into contact with children does not have a criminal background.

The school will pay for the check and it takes about a month to complete in full before the school is given the report and you are given clearance. Areas that schools particularly need help in are:

  • Reading – Schools are often in desperate need for help with reading, here you will be asked to take children on a one to one basis and listen to them read for about 15 minutes per child. Usually you will work with one class on a regular basis going in two or three times a week for an hour or two.
  • Classroom assistance – Schools will often appreciate help within the classroom, this can be your child’s class or a different one if you feel uncomfortable working alongside your child. Assistance is given in a general form providing help with topics the children are working on in class; this can be help with spelling or answering questions children may have regarding the topic they are working on.
  • Attending day outings – Schools will often ask parents to accompany them on outings for the day, parents would be expected to be in charge of a group of children on the outing and make sure they stayed safe during the outing.

Usually a group of children would consist of no more than four children per adult. As well as keeping the children safe you would be also expected to point out highlights of the outing and the teacher will have given you reference material to look through beforehand on things to show the children.

Say for example the class are doing a topic on history and you are visiting an historic site then there will be certain things on the outing that the children will have to be aware of and part of your job would be to help point these out to children. Help will also be required at dinner time for usually on day outings there isn’t a lot of time for the children to eat and use the bathroom.

Child care centers

Many child care centers particularly those run by local authorities and volunteers will often require assistance, care centers will often post volunteer positions on notice boards or websites. The type of assistance they will need includes:

  • Working with pre school children – This usually entails reading and playing with children of pre school age, also helping them at meal times and possibly taking them to the bathroom.
  • Assisting older children in various activities such as supervising them as they play in outdoor areas and making sure each child isn’t left out from an activity.
  • Assisting children during dinner times, helping to feed young children and babies making sure they wash and helping with bathroom duties.
  • Working in after school care clubs – Many after school care clubs rely on volunteers to help them entertain children this could be supervising older children in after school care, assisting with homework. Supervising the snack and refreshment bar or helping in sports related activities, after school clubs that offer a pick up service for children often need drivers also.