My son, Drew, informed me he didn't like his babysitter who we will call "Sally." A million thoughts started going through my head about what could be wrong with Sally, a nice stay-at-home mom who watched my two sons on a drop-off basis while I worked.
Upon further questioning, I discovered he didn't like Sally's cooking, in particular the "cold macaroni and cheese." His brother explained that Drew's macaroni and cheese was only cold because he left it on the plate because it touched his peas. I sighed with relief.
Still, I started to think about all the fears I've had about leaving my children with various child care providers through the years.
When I thought about it, our experiences with home daycare situations were the most positive.
Peace of mind
One of the things I liked about my in-home child care provider was the fact that she attended orientation training and had to go through a background check in order to receive her license.
In Indiana, where we lived at the time, in-home child care providers have to receive a license from the Office of Family and Children if they care for a minimum of six children, according to information from the National Resource Center for Health and Safety.
When my children were attending the daycare in my community, they had strict rules about when I could drop off and pick up the children. I didn't want to leave them at a daycare the entire day since my schedule was always different. I liked the stay-at-home moms who offered me the flexibility to drop off my children for just a few hours here or there. Unlike the big daycare centers, the moms didn't charge outrageous hourly fees either.
I would have continued to send my sons to their first babysitter because I loved the family atmosphere she created in her home, but she moved out of state. It took some time to find a new provider. I found the best way of locating a dependable at-home child care provider was by asking friends with young children. I also hung out for about an hour before leaving my children with the new sitter who was kind, patient and thoughtful. I felt as though the schedule was similar to our schedule at home. And, my sons had the chance to make new friends of different ages.
When my sons started pre-k and kindergarten classes at a nearby Lutheran school, I continued to use Sally for occasional drop-offs when I had to get to one of my work assignments.
I knew they liked going because they ran to her front door and talked about all the friends they made. I adored the little crafts and art drawings they did at Sally's house.
Still, my son never grew accustomed to Sally's so-so cooking, but that made me feel like a Rock Star mom when I served him a hot dinner with the chicken, pasta and vegetables spaced generously apart on his favorite plate. Unlike the "babysitter," I'd never let peas touch the pasta.
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