5 Important COVID Questions to Ask Your Child Care Center
Let’s face it, sending your child off to daycare or preschool isn’t easy. My husband and I have always been very careful when choosing which people and places to entrust with the care of our 3 year old. COVID has only made this choice more difficult for parents and this may have you questioning when it is safe to bring your child(ren) back to their center, and how to protect them when you do.
As centers and schools continue to re-open there are several things you, as a parent, must consider. Today I want to talk through 5 questions to ask your childcare center in order to protect your child and make peace with your decision, whatever that might be.
1. Will my child wear a mask?
Each state and province has different regulations on masking depending on the child's age. It will also vary from school to school to some degree. If the answer to this question is important to you, be sure to ask what the center's policy is and make sure that you are ok with the policy they have in place.
Depending on your child and their needs this may need to be adapted. For example, if the center requires masks and your child cannot wear one, ask for a mask waiver. Depending on the center they will allow exceptions if you have a doctor's signature.
2. Will parents be let into the center or classrooms?
Make sure to also be clear on where parents will be allowed in the building. If parents aren’t allowed inside the building, ask if there are other ways to check in with the classroom teacher and/or watch your child.
If you are not allowed in the building, you may want to look for a center that specifically uses cameras. This is a great way for you to share some of your child’s day while ensuring that they are well cared for.
3. How can I communicate with my child's teacher?
Depending on visiting policies in different centers, parent-teacher communication will vary. If the center isn’t letting parents inside the classroom, make sure they have a plan in place for daily communication. So much can be missed without that face-to-face interaction with the classroom teacher.
Centers that have an app to share photos and updates can be of huge benefit here. The Sandbox parents app is a great way to ensure that you stay up-to-date and never miss a moment.
4. Will there be online tools if my child can’t attend school in person?
During these uncertain times there may be times throughout the year that your child is unable to attend class in-person. Find out if your center has any online tools to help your child when they are not in the center. This could include the ability to send curriculum resources home, having a zoom option, or sharing digital curriculum.
Depending on your child’s needs and your personal expectations for childcare, you may want to inquire about this before registering. Find out both what is offered and what the expectations are when your child is not in attendance. Don’t expect that all centers will be the same as policies can vary significantly from place to place.
5. What happens if someone in the classroom is exposed?
Lastly, ask what your center's policies are for COVID exposure. Especially if you are counting on your child being at the center in order to work or carry out other responsibilities, it will be important to know what happens if someone is exposed.
If the center plans to be closed for a two week period after exposures, make sure that you have a backup in place for child care so that you are not caught in a bind.
Parenting always has its challenges and rewards, but these days it can seem like the challenges pile up quicker than the rewards. Although uncertainty can cause anxiety and stress, it is important to remain calm while advocating for your loved ones by asking the important questions. By getting informed about center policies, advocating firmly (but politely) for your needs, and always having a back-up plan, you will set yourself up for success, no matter what life has to offer.
I wish you and your loved ones safety and serenity as you navigate these difficult times and encourage you to focus on the positives today while looking forward to better days ahead!