Quality Child Care – 10 Essential Factors To Look For

There are many reasons why a parent chooses to put their precious child into a quality child care centre. Whatever the reason is, there are some essential factors you should take into account when you are looking at your possible options.

1. Certification – the first thing you should be ensuring is that the center has up to date certification. Do not be embarrassed to ask the latest inspection report which has been undertaken by the relevant agencies. This will put your mind at rest that all the necessary checks and balances have been complied with.

2. Child ratio – having too few staff can put your children at risk, but having too many staff will mean higher fees.

3. Help with Childcare Costs – check to see that the staff have qualifications which are relevant to the area they are working with. For example, it would be beneficial for staff working with the babies to have some nursing experience, whereas for the older children teacher training would be more helpful.

4. Environment – is the environment appropriate for the age group who are using it?

5. Child development and learning – there are many areas of development which need to be taken care of in a child care center. These include physical, intellectual, emotional, social and creative developments. One example would be, does the center get the children to participate in game and activities which help to develop their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

6. Nutrition – a quality child care center will ensure that the children are provided with nutritious snacks and meals at appropriate times throughout the day.

7. Child safety – this obviously plays a very big part when choosing your child care center. Is the center hygienically up to standard? Are there safety gates where required? Is the playground equipment well maintained and supervised? What are the procedures in place in case of a medical emergency? Once again, do not be afraid to ask questions of the staff and take a look at the relevant documentation.

8. Continuity -a more recent development is for quality child care to be provided for your children right from baby through to after school care. Many centers these days will provide different centers all on the same property, e.g. a baby center, an under two center, a preschool center and then another center which provides care for school age children, both before and after school. This system has many advantages. For parents, they know that their child care requirements are taken care of for many years to come. The children can move seamlessly from one center to the next, already being familiar with the staff in their new environment. This is a very family oriented approach and one which parents will love and find very convenient.

9. Is your involvement encouraged? A quality child care center will make the parents feel involved in their child’s day care experience by having regular events to which parents are invited, and making them feel welcome at any time.

10. Observe – one of the best things you can do is just to spend time at the child care center and observe. Look at how the staff interact with the children when they don’t think they are being watched. Look to see the children are happy.

This article only gives a brief overview on essential factors to be aware of when selecting a quality child care center but we hope it gives you a good starting point.

by Erin Brough

Factors Affecting Consumer Behavior

Consumer behavior refers to the selection, purchase and consumption of goods and services for the satisfaction of their wants. There are different processes involved in the consumer behavior. Initially the consumer tries to find what commodities he would like to consume, then he selects only those commodities that promise greater utility. After selecting the commodities, the consumer makes an estimate of the available money which he can spend. Lastly, the consumer analyzes the prevailing prices of commodities and takes the decision about the commodities he should consume. Meanwhile, there are various other factors influencing the purchases of consumer such as social, cultural, personal and psychological. The explanation of these factors is given below.

1. Cultural Factors

Consumer behavior is deeply influenced by cultural factors such as: buyer culture, subculture, and social class.

• Culture

Basically, culture is the part of every society and is the important cause of person wants and behavior. The influence of culture on buying behavior varies from country to country therefore marketers have to be very careful in analyzing the culture of different groups, regions or even countries.

• Subculture

Each culture contains different subcultures such as religions, nationalities, geographic regions, racial groups etc. Marketers can use these groups by segmenting the market into various small portions. For example marketers can design products according to the needs of a particular geographic group.

• Social Class

Every society possesses some form of social class which is important to the marketers because the buying behavior of people in a given social class is similar. In this way marketing activities could be tailored according to different social classes. Here we should note that social class is not only determined by income but there are various other factors as well such as: wealth, education, occupation etc.

2. Social Factors

Social factors also impact the buying behavior of consumers. The important social factors are: reference groups, family, role and status.

• Reference Groups

Reference groups have potential in forming a person attitude or behavior. The impact of reference groups varies across products and brands. For example if the product is visible such as dress, shoes, car etc then the influence of reference groups will be high. Reference groups also include opinion leader (a person who influences other because of his special skill, knowledge or other characteristics).

• Family

Buyer behavior is strongly influenced by the member of a family. Therefore marketers are trying to find the roles and influence of the husband, wife and children. If the buying decision of a particular product is influenced by wife then the marketers will try to target the women in their advertisement. Here we should note that buying roles change with change in consumer lifestyles.

• Roles and Status

Each person possesses different roles and status in the society depending upon the groups, clubs, family, organization etc. to which he belongs. For example a woman is working in an organization as finance manager. Now she is playing two roles, one of finance manager and other of mother. Therefore her buying decisions will be influenced by her role and status.

3. Personal Factors

Personal factors can also affect the consumer behavior. Some of the important personal factors that influence the buying behavior are: lifestyle, economic situation, occupation, age, personality and self concept.

• Age

Age and life-cycle have potential impact on the consumer buying behavior. It is obvious that the consumers change the purchase of goods and services with the passage of time. Family life-cycle consists of different stages such young singles, married couples, unmarried couples etc which help marketers to develop appropriate products for each stage.

• Occupation

The occupation of a person has significant impact on his buying behavior. For example a marketing manager of an organization will try to purchase business suits, whereas a low level worker in the same organization will purchase rugged work clothes.

• Economic Situation

Consumer economic situation has great influence on his buying behavior. If the income and savings of a customer is high then he will purchase more expensive products. On the other hand, a person with low income and savings will purchase inexpensive products.

• Lifestyle

Lifestyle of customers is another import factor affecting the consumer buying behavior. Lifestyle refers to the way a person lives in a society and is expressed by the things in his/her surroundings. It is determined by customer interests, opinions, activities etc and shapes his whole pattern of acting and interacting in the world.

• Personality

Personality changes from person to person, time to time and place to place. Therefore it can greatly influence the buying behavior of customers. Actually, Personality is not what one wears; rather it is the totality of behavior of a man in different circumstances. It has different characteristics such as: dominance, aggressiveness, self-confidence etc which can be useful to determine the consumer behavior for particular product or service.

4. Psychological Factors

There are four important psychological factors affecting the consumer buying behavior. These are: perception, motivation, learning, beliefs and attitudes.

• Motivation

The level of motivation also affects the buying behavior of customers. Every person has different needs such as physiological needs, biological needs, social needs etc. The nature of the needs is that, some of them are most pressing while others are least pressing. Therefore a need becomes a motive when it is more pressing to direct the person to seek satisfaction.

• Perception

Selecting, organizing and interpreting information in a way to produce a meaningful experience of the world is called perception. There are three different perceptual processes which are selective attention, selective distortion and selective retention. In case of selective attention, marketers try to attract the customer attention. Whereas, in case of selective distortion, customers try to interpret the information in a way that will support what the customers already believe. Similarly, in case of selective retention, marketers try to retain information that supports their beliefs.

• Beliefs and Attitudes

Customer possesses specific belief and attitude towards various products. Since such beliefs and attitudes make up brand image and affect consumer buying behavior therefore marketers are interested in them. Marketers can change the beliefs and attitudes of customers by launching special campaigns in this regard.

by Asifo Shah

CCLD Presents – “How to Register For Family Child Care ONLINE ORIENTATION”

CCLD Presents – "How to Register For Family Child Care ONLINE ORIENTATION"

The Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD) has created an Online Orientation process that permits prospective licensees for Family Chld Care Homes to register online rather than go through…



Changing Diapers in Child Care

Changing Diapers in Child Care

Training based on best practices for diapering in child care.



Daycare Business Plans – How to Start a Daycare Business

Want to know how to start a daycare business? Running a daycare can be very rewarding and a lot of fun. There are five rules that need to be followed for your daycare to become a success.

1. There are those who imagine babysitting as a day spent reading storybooks and watching children play. The truth is you will spend much of your time wiping noses, and finding lost socks. People who have had little experience with children should start small. Take care of two or three children in your home for a minimum of three months. After this time, decide if a daycare is truly what you want.

2. Every region has laws regarding daycares. It is vital to comply with adult to children ratios, criminal checks, safety codes and liability insurance. Whether you choose to open your home or lease a building, building and fire codes will need to be met. Talking to a lawyer will ensure that you understand and can abide by all regulations. Laws tend to change frequently, so volunteer your daycare for regular inspections to confirm total compliance.

3. You will need to take childcare and first aid courses, too. These courses will enable you to react accordingly to any medical emergency that may arise. Every employee hired must complete these courses as well. Although a child psychology course is not usually required, this knowledge will help you to recognize signs of abuse, learning deficiencies and behavioral problems.

4. You will be required to provide appropriate toys, sleeping arrangements, arts and crafts, and toilet facilities. You will also need to know how children will get to and from school. Consider, too, the hours your daycare will be open. Some daycares are 24 hours to accommodate parents with shift work while others are open only from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

5. Taking a business and a marketing course is another important part of making your daycare a success. A business course will teach you what to charge, how to budget and will educate you in bookkeeping. The marketing course will teach you how to advertise your business effectively.

Now that you know the 5 rules on how to start a daycare business, follow them and surely your daycare will be a success. Satisfaction will belong to both your clients and yourself.

by John Hughes

Organizing a Home Child Care Center

It is not always easy to run a home child care center. You will be giving up some of the valuable living space that you and your family have in order to turn it into space for your business. You may also face limitations under your license that are stricter than those operating out of commercial premises will face such as group size restrictions.

On the bright side though you will be saving a fortune on rent and the other expenses associated with leasing a building. This lowers your risk dramatically as your operating expenses will be much lower if you are doing business from home. You will also be closer to your own family and you won’t have the headaches associated with commuting to a job.

When opening a home child care center you have to think about how to make the most of the space that you have available. You have to create a safe and stimulating environment for the children that you will be responsible for as well as taking your own family needs into account.

Children need structure and routine so you should organize the space that you have into areas for specific purposes. At a minimum you will need a floor area with cushions for children to play and sit on the ground, an area with tables for them to eat or do art projects, an area for napping and an outdoor play area for their recreation and sports activities. Try to give children communal play areas where they can play with other children and also areas where they can quietly do activities alone if they prefer.

Install lockers where children can store their personal belongings and learn to take responsibility for looking after their property in a space that is designated for them and has their name on it. Having lots of storage space in general will avoid clutter and help you and your staff to stay organized.

Give the children some input into their environment. While you will have designed a basic layout, let the kids move things around to some extent. Let them put their own touch on the center by putting their artwork around the place.

You should safety-proof the entire area of your child care center, as well as other areas of your home, so that they are also safe in the unlikely event that children stray into them. Priorities here are to keep dangerous items away from children by locking them away, to keep children within safe areas by using fencing and gates and to protect children from hard or sharp objects by putting padding on them. You should safety proof outdoor areas as well by checking for poisonous plants or other dangers that you may have in your gardens. This area is really too broad for the scope of this article and you should look further into the subject. Check with local retailers to find out more about some of the safety products that are available.

Set up an area for the administration side of the business and ensure that this area is kept separate from the daycare. This area should also be well organized and have places where records can be stored in a safe place that is off limits to the children.

If you can create an environment that is clean, safe, organized and structured without being unappealing to kids then you are well on your way to having a home child care business that children will enjoy attending and adults will find appealing.

By Sienna Brown

Child Care Staff Development: Four Ideas to Motivate Your Staff to Keep Learning

As Child Care Professionals we often leave our institute of learning and think that’s it, we are now “fully developed” in our field. This is far from the truth. Staff development in any child care service is vital to remaining a fresh vibrant service, offering the best for the children in our care. The child care profession is physically and emotionally draining, and it can often be difficult to keep our staff motivated to continue professional development. Here are four thoughts to consider when motivating your staff in child care centres to keep developing professionally:

Develop a Culture of Continuous Learning

Whenever there is a pre-existing culture in any workplace, new staff tend to take this culture onboard in their own work ethics. In child care centres, if our current staff culture promotes and values professional development, new staff will quickly be energized by others around them.

Alternatively, where there is a pre-existing culture of negativity about professional development, you can slowly begin to shift the culture by making this part of the induction program for new staff. Encourage new staff by sharing the positives of continued professional development and utilize their fresh new knowledge in developing the skills of current staff. Training does not always need to be formal participation in presentations. It can be through learning from each other.

Provide Innovative Training

When staff training and development becomes routine, then we quickly become bored and demotivated to learn. Teachers and educators develop skills in ‘selling’ learning, and as Directors and Authorised Supervisors we should be looking for training that excites and ‘sells’ to our staff.

Not only should the style of presentation be innovative, but the topics and professional learning areas should also be innovative. Offering training on the same topics each year usually brings forth comments from staff such as “yeah, done that one”, or “heard it all before”. Training should incorporate the latest research coupled with a variety of presenters from varied backgrounds.

Utilising outside training is good, but it shouldn’t be the only form of training offered. Why not have staff within your service present training for each other. Often when we research a topic to present to others we actually learn more than simply listening to information.

Respect Staff’s Time

Often, particularly in private child care services, staff are giving of their own time to attend training. Even when training is offered within staff’s allocated working hours, they are giving up programming time or time working with their children. If we respect their time and provide concise, impacting training, they are more likely to be motivated to participate with their full attention.

Training DVDs can be presented to your staff in your own early childhood setting. This removes travelling time to training venues, and allows staff to explore topics together. How often do we send one or two of our staff to training with the intention of them sharing the information with the whole staff, only to find other agenda items take our time and attention. On issues such as learning centres for example, each staff member hearing the training first hand allows the whole staff team to fully engage with the concepts and ideas, which facilitates better outcomes for the centre and children.

Provide Incentive Programs

After a hard day working with children, let’s be realistic and recognize that often we need some external motivation to participate in training. Whether this be recognition in our newsletters or on bulletin boards for parents to see, small rewards such as buying staff a coffee, a certificate for the staff’s portfolio, ‘early marks’ where child ratios allow, or long standing programs with end of year rewards (eg when staff attend 10 training sessions they receive a massage / spa and body treatment at the local beauty salon). Each centre needs to tailor this to their own staff interests and financial resources.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of Directors, Authorised Supervisors and Licensees to ensure staff maintain their professional development. Training motivates, refreshes, reminds, and challenges staff professionals, for the benefit of themselves, their colleagues, and the children and families in our child care services.

By Cassandra Eccleston

Child Day Care Safety Tips

The recent sexual assault of a 4-year old girl at daycare center should get the attention of any parent who is thinking about using a child daycare center. Police in Springdale Arkansas arrested 18-year-old Cesar Monarrez who worked at the Royal Children’s Academy part time. The 4-year old girl told her parents that Monarrez touched her with a knife. It is my understanding that this happened during nap time and the daycare center uses video surveillance which captured the assault.

Millions of parents drop off their small children each day at daycare centers with the thought that their children will be safe because these centers are regulated and you don’t hear of many cases where kids are assaulted at these locations. For the most part the vast majority of daycare centers provide a safe and loving environment for our children. Many daycare centers utilize video surveillance to further protect children from abuse and neglect. The use of video surveillance also affords parents the opportunity to check on their children from the internet while at work or home. I applaud the daycare centers who utilize video surveillance systems that have the feature where parents can watch the video feed from home or work. If I was looking for a daycare center for a small child I would most definitely select one that has this type of video surveillance.

An important safety element of daycare centers is the selection of employees who will be caring for your children while you are at work. I think many daycare centers are lacking in this area because they do not pay their employees well which leads to high turnover. Look for a school that has teacher/caregivers that have been at the facility for a long time. Stay away from daycare centers who have new teachers/caregivers starting every other month. Ask the daycare that you are considering about their employees and ask if they do thorough background checks. If the owner/administrator of the daycare center appears uninspired about safety precautions, leave and never look back.

In the Springdale Arkansas case, the suspect was an 18-year old male part time employee. As a father who has had his daughter in daycare I can tell you that I would not choose a daycare center that uses male employees. It has been my experience over the past 19 years in law enforcement that men are more often the offenders in assaults on children, it’s a fact. If you visit daycare centers you will see that 99.9% of the employees are women and there is a reason for that. Most daycare centers understand that parents are not comfortable leaving their small children with men they do not know.

When you have found a daycare center that you like, check with your state business office and see if there have been any complaints or violations. Call your local police agency and try and ascertain if there have been any investigations/complaints at the daycare. Sometimes there may be a police investigation at a daycare center and it may not have been reported or logged with the state business regulation department. Crime stats are public information and many police agencies have log books that you can review to see where crime has been reported.

Once your child is going to a daycare center that you have chosen you still need to be alert for your child’s safety. Make unexpected visits to the daycare center at different times to see first hand the environment your child is in. When my daughter was 3 I had to find another daycare center for her because the travel time to her current daycare center was too great. I found a daycare center at a local church and a fellow police officers mother was the administrator. I toured the daycare center and found it to be very modern and fully staffed. The administrator was a very loving and safety oriented older women who had been working at the daycare center for years. The only concern that I had was the fact that the daycare center used 18 year old college students as part time teacher’s aides in each classroom. This was a concern to me because it is my belief that young women do not have the patience or experience to be caring for my child. My ideal daycare teacher/caregiver is mother or grandmother over the age of 30 who works in the daycare field because they love children and not because they are desperate for work.

I decided to go with this church daycare and I felt confidant that I had made a wise decision. I think that due to my job as a Police Officer I am more cautious and safe than the average parent. I would pick up m child in the late afternoon when my shift was over and my ex-wife was responsible for dropping her off in the morning. 2 weeks passed and all was well with the new daycare center. I was pleased that the entire staff was very safety oriented. One afternoon I arrived at the daycare center in my police cruiser and in full uniform. My daughter was on the fenced in playground with 2 teachers that I had not seen before. I walked to the playground and one of the teachers demanded picture identification from me in order to pick up my daughter. I was pleasantly surprised that she asked for my identification and I gladly gave it to her. Daycare centers must demand picture id from anyone picking up a child that is not known by the staff.

Several days later I was off and had the opportunity to take my daughter to the daycare center. I arrived at the school and walked my daughter to the classroom that is used for playtime in the morning. I walked into the classroom and observed a horde of kids playing and a teacher that I had met before and a student aide that I had not seen before. I then observed a girl sitting on the ground crying for unknown reasons. The female student aide looked down at the child and said “you know I don’t like cry babies, now stop crying” The aide then called a nearby boy by his name and said “Johnny, tell Abby that I don’t like cry babies” I kissed my daughter goodbye and left the school.

While driving home I thought about the incident with the crying girl and the student aide and it disturbed me. The parents of that child had no idea that their child was laying on the ground crying and the teacher and student aide did nothing to comfort her. The only action taken by the staff was the student aide ridiculed the crying girl and made fun of her in front of the other children. I turned my truck around and drove back to the school where I marched to the administrators office. I spoke with the administrator and informed her of the incident and the told her that I was extremely unhappy because that could have been my daughter that was being treated in such a cold manner by the staff. I told the administrator that I demand loving care for my daughter and was I observed earlier was cold and inappropriate behavior. That was my daughter’s last day at that daycare center.

I was referred to a large church in the city that has operated a daycare for years and all of the employees have been there for a very long time. The teacher in my daughter’s new classroom was very involved in that church and I found her to be a very loving teacher who thought of her job as a calling. My daughter spent 2 years at the new daycare and I have since referred many people there because I firmly believe that is a complete safe learning environment for small children.

As parents we owe to our precious little ones to be thorough in our search for a daycare center that is safe and employs the right people to care for our kids?

By Carl Dunde