BILLINGS - Choosing a child care provider is a big decision. You want your kids to be safe and secure when you're not around. In today's Angie's List report, we'll help you find quality child care.
"We have started searching for daycare options and it is quite stressful," said Ashley Wiley, a mother-to-be.
Ashley is expected a baby girl this October.
"I've looked at in-home daycares. I've looked at church facilities. I've looked at daycare facilities. Not really knowing yet what we are going to do," added Ashley. "I've gotten quotes from all three, so we are still trying to make a decision."
One key is to start looking early.
"About the time that you're telling all your family members that you are expecting is really when you should start looking for child care because there's likely going to be a wait list," suggested Angie Hicks, the founder of Angie's List.
Ashley said, "We're kind of looking for a combination of three things for a daycare: price being one of the things as well as safety for our child and also location."
Before you start calling around, create a list of qualifications - sort of like a job description. Decide what qualities are important, the skills you want the caregivers to have, their level of education and how many years of experience they have. Once you start the interview process, have your children there to see how the applicant interacts with them and watch how your children react, too.
"But, in a recent Angie's List poll, 20 percent of the respondents didn't even check whether their child care provider was licensed or had the proper credentials and that is something you must do," advised Hicks.
Angie's List said once you have found quality child care, your job is not done. You need to stay involved and constantly assess your child care arrangement. Spend a few minutes each day to talk with your caregiver about your child and ask your child what he or she does during the day.