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Choosing and Adjusting to Childcare for Toddlers

August 3, 2013 by HealthyFamilies BC

woman playing with two toddlers


Finding quality childcare can be stressful.  

And, once you find it, you may face challenges getting your family into the new routine. Here's some information that can help.

Childcare options can be divided into two main types: outside your home and inside your home.

Only you and your partner can decide what's best for your family:

  • How much care do you need? Full time? Part time?
  • When do you need care? Regularly? Overnight? Only occasionally? A few days a month?
  • Can you get your toddler to childcare or does the caregiver need to come to you?
  • How will you transport your toddler to the childcare setting? How much time will it take?
  • What kind of care approach do you want? Lots of time with people? Free play time?
  • How much can you pay?

Read more about the options on the Childcare Options page

Childcare spaces fill up quickly, so it’s best to start looking long before you need it. Follow these tips to help you make the right choice:

Follow these tips:

  • Talk to other parents.
  • Check your public health office for referrals.
  • Check with neighbourhood groups.
  • Check local newspapers, Yellow Pages, community bulletin boards.
  • Find a Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR) program in your local area. 

Once you’ve identified childcare providers in your community, set up interviews. When meeting potential care providers, consider these key questions:

  • Will my toddler be safe with the caregiver?
  • Is the caregiver qualified?
  • Do I agree with their approach to child care?
  • Will they help to encourage my child’s development?
  • What are their values and beliefs about children?
  • What is the financial cost?
  • Will I trust the caregivers with my toddler?

Adjusting to Childcare

It’s important to help your toddler adjust to a new childcare situation, especially if he's new to childcare. Talk to your child and read books together about childcare. Let your toddler meet the caregiver and the other children and spend time with them before you leave him with the caregiver.

Here are some additional tips to help your toddler get used to childcare:

  • Plan to stay as long as you need to on the first day. When you do leave, arrange with the caregiver to give your toddler extra attention.
  • Have your toddler choose a blanket or toy to take along (if the childcare is outside of your home).
  • Tell your toddler when you're leaving. Don’t just disappear when he starts to play. Although it may seem hard to say goodbye, it’s a cue to your toddler that you will always communicate change. This will make her feel less anxious.  Make sure to tell her you'll be back, too.
  • Develop a leaving ritual or routine. Say and do the same things each time you leave.
  • Telephone your caregiver if your plans change. This will help to stop your toddler from worrying or being afraid that you won’t come back.
  • Develop a returning ritual or routine. Give your toddler special attention.

Resources & Links:
HealthLink BC: Choosing Child Care
HealthLink BC: Child Care: Interviewing Care Providers


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    3. Toddlers (12-36 months)
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