Child Care: Before and After School In-Home Care
What is before and after school in-home care?
Before and after school care is generally for children 6 to 12 years of age. Care is also provided holidays, school breaks, and vacations. In-home care means hiring someone to care for your child in your own home. The caregiver may be a friend, neighbor, relative, or professional nanny. If you hire the person through an agency, a background check should have already been done. Some states have resources that allow you to do background checks. For further information, contact Child Action at 916-369-0191.
Ask the prospective caregiver:
- Can you tell me more about your background and experience?
- What are some reasons you enjoy taking care of children? Do you have children of your own?
- How will you get to and from work?
- How will my child be transported if you leave the house?
- What are your expectations regarding length of commitment?
- Do you smoke? Do you have any health problems?
- Have you had training in first aid?
- What kinds of activities might you plan for my child?
- What are your views on discipline? Meals? Television? Friends?
- What would you do if . . . ? (Give examples relevant to your situation: medical and personal emergencies, common problems with child.)
- Can you give me several references, preferably from former employers?
- What questions do you have for me?
Observe or ask about:
Does my home have:
- child-sized furniture?
- ample toys and art materials?
- plenty of indoor and outdoor space?
- special areas for quiet and active play?
- safe, creative outdoor play equipment?
Does the caregiver:
- welcome my questions and suggestions?
- share my childrearing philosophy?
- take time to share my child's experiences with me?
- sensitively handle feelings of fear, shyness, upset, and anger?
- respect my child's unique background and interests?
- really listen and talk to my child?
- establish and consistently maintain limits?
- provide consistent care so my child has a stable, predictable daily routine?
Will the activities the caregiver provides:
- balance active, physical activities with quiet, restful ones?
- prohibit play that could quickly get out of hand?
- patiently encourage toddlers to solve some problems on their own?
- help children deal with feelings constructively?
- provide security through a well-defined, predictable schedule of daily activities?
- balance structured and unstructured activities?
Health and Safety
- Is each child required to have an up-to-date immunization record?
- Does the facility meet state standards for how many children can be taken care of by one adult?
- Are staff and children taught to wash hands with soap and water after using the restroom or contact with body fluids?
- What is the procedure for medical emergencies?
- Is the caregiver trained in first aid?
- Does my home have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers? Regular fire drills? Alternate exits?
- Are important phone numbers posted near the phone? (Examples include police, fire, poison control center, hospital, children's physician, ambulance.)
- Does my caregiver always know how to get in touch with both parents?
- Can all doors, inside the home be opened from the outside at all times?
- Are the outside doors and windows locked?
- Are the rooms well ventilated and comfortable year-round?
- Are stairways and walkways free from clutter?
- Are small, sharp, or otherwise dangerous items out of reach or locked in a cupboard, drawer, or cabinet? (Examples include pins, thumbtacks, paper clips, matches, lighters, knives, plastic bags, scissors, guns, razor blades, glassware, appliances.)
- Are poisonous items stored out of reach or locked in cupboards, drawers, or cabinets? (Examples include cleaning products, polish, bleach, medicines, cosmetics, perfumes, aerosol cans, and first aid supplies.)
- Is the outdoor area fenced and free of hazards?
Written by Donna Warner Manczak, PhD, MPH.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2011-01-28
Last reviewed: 2009-05-26
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes
available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical
evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a health care professional.