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Updated: 4/18/2007 7:11 am
Before you decide whether you'll employ a nanny, an au pair (oh-pare), daycare center, or family daycare provider, assess your child's stage of development and personality. An introverted toddler will be comfortable in a very different environment than a gregarious eight year old. On the other hand, even school-aged children may need a quiet atmosphere when their days are filled with a challenging curriculum. Some nannies, day care centers, and family providers maintain a structured and stimulating schedule, while others have a more relaxed, self-paced environment. Generally, daycare centers are the most structured option, as this type of environment helps provide safety when caring for multiple children. For a less formal daycare center option, investigate Montessori schools and pre-schools. If you select a family provider or nanny, question the caregiver's daily routines and childcare priorities to make certain you share the same development goals for your child. Finally, include a background search in your screening. For independent providers, initiate this check by obtaining their driver's license number and a signed waiver. This will allow a private investigator to search for relevant history. If you select a daycare center, request copies of the search performed on applicable employees. A notarized statement from the center documenting 'searches on named providers revealed no relevant criminal history' will suffice, also.

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