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No Nonsense Guide to Childcare

Finding the childcare arrangements that best suit your needs and lifestyle just might be the most critical and challenging parenting task. For most parents, it can be almost as life changing as making the decision to have a child. The person and/or people that care for your child is going to have a profound affect on your family so it is important to consider many things.

 First, you must decide what childcare avenue is best for your situation. There are three basic choices of childcare to choose from:

  1. Nanny: live in or out
  2. Daycare: profit or non-profit
  3. Dayhome: agency regulated or private

While looking at these choices, ask yourself:

  • Which childcare option is right for us, considering our lifestyle?
  • Will we need weekend or night care?
  • Do we need someone that can cover shift work?
  • Will drop-in care be the best solution?
  • Should our childcare arrangements be close to home or close to work?
  • Are there any special needs or requirements (allergies) we need to have accommodated?
  • Do we need someone that can transport to schools/preschools or extracurricular activities?
  • What kind of qualifications/education do we want our provider to have?
  • Will we need someone that can provide subsidy?

Next, you will have to consider the pros and cons of each childcare option. The following is a pro example for each option:

One of the best reasons for having a nanny is that whenever your child is sick and needs to stay home, you don’t experience the guilt of getting them up and out of the house to a dayhome, daycare or school. It is nice knowing that they are home and getting rest. Also, you don’t have to miss any work.

Daycare facilities are popular with parents that value peace of mind. The providers are qualified through the Early Childhood Education program and the Provincial Government does spot checks on the facility to make sure they are within compliance of the regulations.

Dayhomes are only allowed a maximum of six dayhome children, which allows for a low child-adult ratio. Most children, especially toddlers and preschoolers, thrive in this environment as it is home based.

Once you have narrowed the field down to what type of childcare you need, then you can start looking. Refer to Childcare SOLUTIONS for appropriate links or use the Internet, a referral agency, word of mouth or your community newsletter. By spending the time to investigate and research childcare options, parents can successfully find the right solutions for their families!


Regardless of the choice you make, parents need to ensure they review the following list with the potential provider:


  • Make sure your childcare choice has the appropriate licence (if applicable) and does not exceed the child-adult ratio.
  • Does the provider have a current certificate in Infant and Child CPR and First Aid?
  • Does the provider have a valid Police and Social Service check?
  • Are meals provided and are they in accordance with the Canada Food Guide?
  • What kind of activities will be provided for your child?
  • Request a Parent Handbook that will outline all the policies and procedures of the facility or individual.
  • Arrange a visit and look around: Was the playroom child-friendly and were toys easily reached by little hands? Are the children happy and engaged; or bored and unhappy?
  • Does the provider get down on your child’s level when they address them?

Ask for references of current and past clients and don’t be afraid to ask some tough questions!


Krista is the owner of Childcare SOLUTIONS, a private consulting company for both parents and childcare providers. For more information visit


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