Category Archives for Childcare

Why You Should Use Adventure Kids Playcare

After you have kids, it can be very hard to juggle the balance between being a Mom, a Wife, an Employee, and even a Friend. You might feel like you are being pulled in thousands of directions and it can be hard to find a good babysitter to watch the kids that is reliable. What’s a Mom or Dad to do when you have a last minute work meeting come up or a friend in town you haven’t seen in years when you have no family in town? Enter Adventure Kids Playcare. They are your guilt-free childcare when you need it!

Read their mission statement: “Our mission is to provide a safe and fun environment for kids while giving parents the ability to take a little time for themselves without feeling guilty!”

Can you think of some times when you are in need of some drop-in day care services? I certainly can! Here are just some ideas!

Why Might You need a Drop in Day-Care?:

  • Mommy/Daddy Date night
  • Meet Friends for Happy Hour
  • Go to the Doctor/Dentist Kid-Free
  • Run Mommy Errands All Alone
  •  Work Meetings after school hours
  • Mom’s Night Out
  • Take Classes
  • Enjoy some alone time
  • Babysitter Cancelled
  • See a Movie
  • The list can keep going on and on!

Now that you have a need, why should you choose Adventure Kids Playcare? Here’s why…

Reasons to Choose Adventure Kids Playcare:

  • Convenient locations around the DFW area (one in Plano)
  • All crew are CPR/First Aid certified (and passed criminal background checks)
  • It’s a clean environment
  • Very secure (the front door is locked)
  • Parents must show ID to collect kids
  • Kids take shoes off when entering facility
  • Serves ages 6 weeks to 12 Yrs old
  • Convenient hours (most centers are open late and even later on weekends)
  • Most of all… kids have FUN

I recently tried out Plano’s Adventure Kids Playcare and the Staff and Center were wonderful!! My little guy was thrilled to see a huge play area filled with slides and climbing areas and even fun games. He ran away from me so fast, he didn’t even say goodbye!

The center is great for so many ages groups and sectioned off appropriately for younger kids (babies/toddlers). They even have a preschool designated area where they do curriculum lessons and some sort of an art activity each day.

They also have a nice kitchen and eating area where kids will eat snacks and lunch/dinner. Parents can send lunches/dinner or pay an additional fee for this to be provided.

Guess what? They also do parties and Parents Night Outs! This is a great time to start and get signed up.

For more information about rates and hours for the Plano location, please visit the Plano site or the main site for more locations and hours. Like the Plano location on Facebook for more information.

 

Did you know they have a great referral program? If you refer a friend that has never used Adventure Kids Playcare before, you will get 1 hour of childcare for FREE! Your friend will get $10 off the price of a new membership.

 

How to Choose a Quality Preschool

Choosing a childcare can be an overwhelming process. There are too many options and it is not easy to discern which is the best choice for your child. Thankfully, there are a few resources available that should allow you to see through the true strength of a childcare’s offering.

how to choose a quality preschool in Plano

But first, you must ask yourself what is important to you. Beyond the basics of safety and cleanliness, how important is curriculum to you? And if the curriculum is important, how does the center implement their program. Does the owner decide the curriculum or is there an expert team that designs the curriculum? Does the curriculum have proven results?

The State of Texas has an extensive list of regulations that have been developed over decades of experience. These rules have been developed based on things that went wrong, so those same experiences are not repeated. Unfortunately, not many centers do a great job in following Licensing standards. The good news is that you can search the compliance history of any child care by visiting this link and searching for the Texas child care:  This link will show you any deficiencies the center has had and how serious the deficiencies were.

 

 

Most important though, is the feeling you get when you tour a facility. Here are a few questions to think about when you tour a childcare facility?

  • What did you think about the ownership and management? Are they all about the money or do they have a passion for childcare? What about the teachers?
  • What do online reviews say about the childcare? Are those genuine reviews? Beware of campaigns that artificially boost online reviews.  Ask them about a recent customer who has written a review.
  • Try talking to current customers to get the good and the bad
  • Did the center focus on safety and cleanliness? What processes are used for keeping the center clean? What processes are used for ensuring proper hygiene? What processes are used for changing diapers? Does the center have a safe sleep policy for infants?
  • What processes do they use to drive learning? Is there evidence of learning in the center?
  • Are there any audit processes to keep the center running to some standards?
  • In the prices charged, are there other hidden fees that may not be apparent (supply fee, activity fee, etc.)? Are there any activities that are included in the program (for e.g. dance, music, yoga)?

A thorough process of review should help you separate hype from reality!

 

A great place to consider is The Learning Experience at Plano or Allen for your child’s education. They believe in offering a quality product to their customers. When you come into the center, ask about the specials for Planomoms that they are running. If you register on the same day you tour, they will give you a $50 discount on registration if you print this page and bring to them (offer ends 10/31/17). We would also encourage you to follow this process of selecting a childcare to find one that cares for your little one like you do yourself!

 

Mom’s Best Friend Childcare

Finally, reliable childcare!

Mom’s Best Friend is one of the best nanny agencies in the country. They provide hiring assistance for anyone looking for reputable, professional nannies for their families. MBF also provides nanny placement for those qualified. They currently offer local services in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; and Aspen, Beaver Creek and Vail, Colorado. They also provide staffing nationwide.

Families turn to Mom’s Best Friend to find the best in Dallas and Fort Worth nannies and babysitters. They have a thorough screening process, resulting in a select number of nannies and babysitters. This saves you time and provides you and your family with peace of mind. They offer insight into the different types of Dallas / Fort Worth nanny and babysitter roles and positions, from nanny managers to child educators.

  • Extensive on-line application
  • In-Person Screening Interview
  • References checked and former employment verified
  • Extensive criminal background investigation
  • Sex Offender Search
  • Verification of Social Security Number as well as another form of legal identification
  • Motor vehicle records check
  • Highest level of education verified
  • CPR and First Aid Training
  • Agency Training: Nanny Professional Development or Babysitter Orientation

I know Moms are always looking for good quality child care services to have as contacts. Mom’s Best Friend is offering a great promo for all Plano Moms! Right now you can save $50 off our Temporary or Permanent Division Membership when mentioning #MBFchildcare.

 

Drop-In Daycare for Kids

It’s always good to have a place that can help you out if you have a meeting or just need a few hours to yourself. These are 2 great places for drop-in play centers and parents night out.

Drop-In Day Care

Adventure Kids Playcare- 4817 W. Park Blvd, Plano    Rates start around $10 an hour plus a yearly family membership fee that is $40. If you refer a friend you will get a free hour and they get $10 off the price of a new membership. They also offer camps!

 

Kiddin Around–    6209 Chapel Hill Blvd, Plano  9377 Lebanon Rd, Frisco         Rates start around $10 an hour plus a yearly family membership is required which is $30.  They also hold birthday parties here!

 

Parent’s Night Out

WOGA– Plano location Ages 5-12  select Fridays from 7-9:30pm.

ASI Gymnastics– 4051 Rosemeade Pkwy. North Dallas and 1280 Central Expy. North, Allen They do this EVERY Friday night from 7-10 pm for ages 3+ for $10 each. Monthly they will hold a night out on Saturdays! Check their site for dates.

CUMC One Friday a month and one Saturday a month (alternating dates) 6:30-10:00 pm. Kids will play, craft, and have a great time. It is $20 for one child and $30 for 2. Check the site for dates and money.

YMCA – For ages 2-12 years, On the 3rd Friday of every month from 6-10 pm. Drop in the kids for fun, play, food and a movie. The cost is $20 for members and $30 for non-members

 

Find a Babysitter in Plano

Every now and then you might need to find a babysitter for your kids. Maybe you have a date night planned or just need to run a few errands without kids. Finding a babysitter doesn’t need to be stressful. Here are some helpful tips so you can find the right babysitter for your kids.

Ask your Friends: The best place to find a babysitter is by asking your friends. Maybe they have an older daughter that babysits or maybe they have a great babysitter they use themselves. Having someone you know and trust is important.

Nextdoor.com: Check on nextdoor.com (a neighborhood website). There are tons of babysitters that neighbors have used and they will probably live by you, which is very nice.

Ask other Plano Moms: Check out PlanoMoms talk for referrals or ideas on the right babysitter. It will be good to make a list of their names and numbers that they suggest.

Care.com: Care.com is a site designed to help you find the best caregiver in your area. They offer many services including nannies, babysitting, and even in-home care for children.

Ask Teachers: If you have a child in pre-school or even elementary school it doesn’t hurt to ask if they babysit. I know so many teachers that babysit in evenings and weekends for extra money.

Once you get a list of names, start a running list of questions you will want to ask. Sittercity has a great checklist to help you get started with some essential questions.  I also suggest having the person out to your home to meet your kids and see if it will be a good fit for your family.

 

Hiring a Babysitter

A babysitter is one of the most important resources you can have as a parent.  If you are a new parent and the fog has cleared from those first 6 or 10 weeks, you may find yourself ready to get back out into the real world and then realize you can’t go too far without a trustworthy babysitter.   If you are a parent with two or three children, you already know good babysitters are hard to find and they stay pretty busy.  I am sure you have all had last minute plans and had to do the “call blitz” to every sitter you know and still came up short.

As you look for a babysitter, you need to consider several things before you hire one.  First, what level of trust do you have with people other than family members to care for your child?  Also, how much of the legwork do you want to do when finding and screening a babysitter?  Third, what are your expectations for care while you are gone?  Lastly, how much do you want to pay for your babysitter?

 Level of trust:

I remember the first time I had a babysitter come over to my house when my daughter was 2 months old.  Owning a nanny agency comes in handy at times like these, but as a new parent, I naturally had a bit of anxiety about leaving my new baby.  However, since I knew firsthand about our screening process, I felt confident leaving my newborn with the babysitter who came over that first time and the many others who have come in the last 12 years.

Each person’s comfort level is different and personal. While some people need to know the babysitter and her family, others may only need to know a family that she has worked for in the past. Many others only feel comfortable with an agency that interviews and screens each sitter. Feeling secure depends on each family, and this factor plays a significant part in narrowing down whether you will go with a word of mouth babysitter or an agency.

Where to find a babysitter or agency:

 If you are trying to find a babysitter on your own, ask your friends and neighbors first.  If you are part of a church community, that is a great place to find reliable babysitters.  What I would not recommend is an online listing site or an ad placed in the newspaper or on craigslist because the screening is minimal, if there is any at all.  Most online listing sites do not check references and do not require a background check.  Anyone can sign up to be a babysitter on an online listing site in about 10 minutes!  If you don’t have a sitter who has been referred through word of mouth, I would recommend using an agency because of the rigorous screening and the important step of an in-person interview.  It is also important to consider the fact that the sitters who go through an agency are willing to invest time and energy on a lengthy application and interview process.  Their willingness to go through a serious screening process demonstrates their commitment as caregivers.

 Also make sure that any agency you use is a member of both the International Nanny Association (www.nanny.org) and more importantly, The Association of Premier Nanny Agencies (www.theapna.org) which enforces standards of professional industry practices.

Note from Plano Moms: Many moms look at Nextdoor.com to find local babysitters near to them or use a local agency like Moms Best Friend or College Nannies and Sitters, or national website Care.com

Legwork:

Regardless of whether you use an agency babysitter or not, it is important to make sure that they are adequately screened.  Agencies provide valuable standards that would be beneficial for families to use as guidelines.  For example, besides meeting babysitters in person for a screening interview, they also require: a minimum age for their babysitters, usually (18 or 20 years old); experience with children (at least 3 solid childcare references); a current CPR and First Aid certification; a valid driver’s license and reliable vehicle; eligibility to work in the United States, and most importantly, a criminal background check.  In addition to that, most agencies require a training course that highlights the basics of babysitting along with agency policies.

 Before you make your reference calls, write out 5-7 questions.  Make sure your questions are open-ended like, “What are some words you would use to describe ‘Susie’ when she is with your children?”  “What is one area she could improve in?”  Also, make sure to ask if they would they hire that sitter again.

Make sure you ALWAYS do a criminal background check even if you use a babysitter that is a friend of the family or a friend of a friend.  Commit to making that a family policy.  You can kindly say to people, “We decided as a family that anyone who works with our children must have a criminal background check run.  We don’t make any exceptions.”

 I recommend PFC Information Services, http://www.pfcinformation.com  Owner, Lynn Peterson is well regarded in her field and does an excellent job of all criminal background checks.  It is possible for you to do all of this “legwork”, or with one call to an agency, you have hundreds of pre-screened babysitters at your disposal.

 Expectations:

The expectations you have for your babysitter can help determine how you choose your sitter.  You need to think through what you expect your babysitter to do while you are gone and also make sure they know what is expected of them.

A young neighborhood babysitter can seem like a great choice.  However, they often lack experience and cannot handle a true emergency.  Additionally, I’ve often heard parents complain that their teenage babysitter tends to play less with the kids and spend more time on their phone.  A mature (20+), experienced babysitter can feed, bathe and put your children to bed, while a teenager may provide companionship as your child watches a movie and ensures that your child does not harm themselves.  For younger sitters, you can provide a list of activities that they may choose from.  For example, the list can include, reading, coloring, karaoke, board games, etc. and tell them you would like for them to do 3-4 activities from the list.

Most agency babysitters have completed either some child educational classes or are currently in a child related field of study, and most agencies require their babysitters to be interactive.  In addition to meeting your children’s basic needs, they will read books, make crafts and play inside/outside games with your children, and will completely avoid watching television.  Most agencies also require a daily log so that you can see what your children ate when they slept and what they did while you were away.

 Pay:

When determining exactly how much to pay your babysitter, you should consider three things:  their experience; their education and the job duties you require.  If you are going to use a neighborhood babysitter who is in junior high or high school who has limited experience and your expectations for the job is to simply watch the kids, you can pay the babysitter on the lowest end of the spectrum which is about $8-10/hour.

A more experienced nanny that has finished high school and has attended some college or is a college graduate comes at a higher cost but is certainly worth the extra money.  If she has 5+ years of experience and is actually engaging your children in educational activities, cooking meals, bathing, etc. you should pay no less than $13/hour but as much as $18/hour.  Also, consider tipping when you have a good experience with an experienced babysitter.

Do you have additional questions?  Feel free to email kim.winblood@momsbestfriend.com or call Kim at 972-446-0500 ext. 252, or visit www.momsbestfriend.com

 Kim Winblood is the Owner and VP/Chief Operating Officer of the Dallas/Fort Worth Mom’s Best Friend Agency. Kim received her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and then went on to achieve her master’s degree at Dallas Theological Seminary. Kim worked her way through graduate school as a nanny manager and subsequently worked as a teacher in the Dallas area for seven years where she taught Health and coached soccer.