What do I need to bring on the first day of care?
When starting Cuddles Academy Childcare, you will recieve a list of items you need to supply for your child. Typically this list is: change of clothes, clean bottles, diapers, wipes, and diaper cream. Check out Cuddles Academy Welcome Information for a full list of items that will help with the transition.
My child cries when I leave in the morning...How can I support him/her?
Transitions can be confusing for a little one. Children are still learning the concept of time (how long will you be gone?) and object permanence (where do you go when I can't see you?).
I've found that consistency is the number one key in helping a child with any transition.
1) Decide ahead of time where you will say goodbye: some parents say goodbye when they meet me at our childcare, others go with us to help their child wash their hands. (this will also be dictated by how flexible your morning schedule is.)
2) Decide how you want to say goodbye. Here are some examples: talk together on the car ride each morning about how many kisses you are going to say goodbye with, or have a set pattern (kiss on the forehead, one on each cheek, on lips, hug...and bye bye!), or use the goodbye time to plan something special that you're going to do together after daycare.
Keeping the where and how of your goodbye consistent will help your little one know what to expect each day, relieving the uncertainty that leads to tears.
Additionally, many children do not yet have the vocabulary to fully express just how much they love you, and that they will miss you. We will both have opportunities to talk with your little one about “that feeling right here” (their heart). Transitions are a great opportunity for us to explain and guide your little one through experiencing emotions.
My child has a food allergy. Are you able to accommodate a change in diet?
Your child will need a doctors note for most food substitutions. With the doctors information on file, we will provide an appropriate substitution (example, if your child is allergic to eggs, we will subsitute a different protein such as chicken or cheese.) This is regulated by the USDA food program that oversees our child care, so we will be turning in the documentation and confirming with them through the process.
If you do not have a doctor's verification of an allergy or medical need, please refer to the question below “Our family chooses to follow a specific diet.”
Our family chooses to follow a specific diet (such as glutton free, vegetarian, etc.) Can I bring food for my child's meals instead of joining your meals?
You have the choice of either bringing your child's food, or having your child eat the meal we provide. This is a choice for the entire meal, not just individual items in the meal. If you choose to provide your own food, your child will be served at the same time as the other children and the food will be pre-plated for your child. (The children eating our meal will pass around the food items learning to serve themselves.)
It's my child's birthday! (or other special occasion) Can I bring treats to share with the group?
Yes, with the following limitations:
1) All food served to the children is prepared meeting food safety standards (I have received training and obtained CA Food Handlers Card). To consistently meet this standard, any food brought by families to share with the group must be store bought (this can include purchased bakery items).
2) It is very important to please speak with me first so that we can discuss any allergies or limitations that children in care may have.
Please make sure to speak with me before bringing food. This will avoid disapointment if I am unable to serve the item to the children in care. Also, there are other great options for celebrating with friends such as: treat bags, stickers, and coloring pages.
What are some steps I can take to verify that a childcare program is good?
For a list of best practices, click on our Program Design Checklist and scroll to the bottom of the page. This breaks down the different things to consider such as safety, curriculum, and environment to help you asses if the child care program will meet your needs.
Here are some additional suggestions for evaluating both childcare centers and childcare homes:
1) You are able to look up a facility's licensing reports through the California State Licensing website https://secure.dss.ca.gov/CareFacilitySearch/. Here you can see if any complaints have been filed against the facility, and read the full reports from inspections. You are able to search by the “Facility Name,” but the easiest way to search will be using the licensing number or “Facility Number.” Legally all childcare's are required to list their licensing number on any advertizements/websites, but if you cannot locate it they should be able to easily provide it to you.
2) If a childcare chooses to have other certifications and affiliations this may be seen as a sign that they are serious about their responsibilities and that they see themselves as professionals. (Note that this is not a requirement, simply a suggestion of signs that may help you feel comfortable in your choice.) Does the facility have other certifications beyond the required state licensing? Are they affiliated with other child development organizations?
3) Most importantly, pay attention to your instincts. When I first opened Cuddles Academy Childcare, I only had one state inspection, no additional certifications, and was affiliated with only one other organization. ;) We all have to start somewhere. Years later, I asked my very first childcare parent why they chose me. “I could tell your heart was in the right place, that you were being sincere.” Examples of what to look for: How comfortable does the provider seem when discussing the childcare? Is the environment clean and safe? If so, does it appear that this is the natural state, or that it was cleaned for your appointment?
4) One final note: Check in with your provider throughout your time in care and pay attention to any changes that your notice during drop off and pick up. In both childcare homes and centers, the childcare environment and care can be effected by business or personal stress that workers may have.
Where can I get help paying for childcare?
This information, including links to payment program websites, is listed on our Payment page.