Returning to work seems like a daunting task for any first-time parent. You’re trying to balance the responsibilities that come with being a parent along with your own expectations of what kind of parent you should be. On top of all of that, you’re thinking about returning to work and trying to figure out how best to ensure the proper care for your child while you’re working. Sounds like a daunting task for any person to take on.

One of the first steps to take when considering childcare options is to determine what works for you. There is no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to childcare and there are many different options for childcare. Your family could look at accessing everything from daycare, pre-school, and out-of-school care programs to licensed group childcare depending on age and needs of your children. Some questions that you need to consider before you begin your search are: do you prefer a smaller setting or a family setting for childcare? What hours of service would accommodate your family’s schedule and childcare needs? Do you want to use a program that is participating in Alberta Child Care Accreditation program? What fees are affordable for your family?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry. As an operator of two licensed, accredited childcare facilities in downtown Calgary, we know a thing or two about what to look for. Check out our top three questions to consider when choosing childcare in Alberta!

1. Is the childcare program licensed?

A licensed childcare facility MUST meet the requirements laid out in the Child Care Licensing Act and the adhere to Child Care Licensing Regulations for Alberta. These rules ensure children’s health and safety needs are being met. These facilities and programs are regularly inspected through Alberta Human Services.

Licensed childcare centres also have to meet developmental needs of children and set a minimum standard that must be met in a licensed childcare program. All this ensures your child receives consistent and high-quality care by caregivers who have met the necessary levels of education and experience.

2. Is the childcare program accredited?

Accredited childcare programs provide a level of excellence in childcare that goes beyond provincial regulatory requirements. Accredited childcare programs must promote and nurture children’s positive sense of self and belonging through supportive relationships, demonstrate respectful, positive interactions and communications with children and incorporate well-designed physical indoor play-based learning environments to foster the optimal development in children as some examples.

Quality childcare in the early years is critical for brain development to help develop children’s ability to think and make sense of their world. High-quality childcare contributes to this critical growth in children.

3. What are the relationships like between caregiver and child?

Caring, qualified and highly trained caregivers will play a critical role in promoting social, physical, emotional and cognitive development of your children. It’s important to understand how they interact with the children because it illustrates the way they will act with your child. Does the caregiver call children by name? Listen when they speak? It’s important to know that your child will be safe and enjoy their time with their caregiver! Part of that also includes ensuring that the centre meets the staff-to-child ratio changes. It’s important that your child get the time and attention they need to encourage their development.

Finding reliable childcare is a challenge almost every parent can relate to. For women in transition, it becomes even more vital as they work to heal, secure housing, or find work.  Lack of affordable and appropriate childcare can become a barrier to women participating fully in their community.

Finding care for your children is a big decision, but it doesn’t have to overwhelming. There are a variety of resources available to you and your family to ensure that your child gets the best care possible.

YW’s Childcare Centres are licensed and accredited facilities that offer full-time, part-time and drop-in space for children one to five years of age. We believe in quality childcare that encourages your child’s individual development, emphasizing creative play and child-centered activities. For more information, visit: