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Day care is getting a bad rap: Gentle Leahcim Newton proved it page 2


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RICHARD AMRHINE
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Date published: 5/6/2001

continued

What the issue should come down to is that people with kids in day care should feel as comfortable about that setting as they feel about their home environment.

Abusive or neglectful parents might not care who watches their kids, and the result will be bad kids. No surprise there.

Parents who do care will strive to find the best possible setting, and their kids will end up happy, healthy and well-adjusted.

The fact that we have been happy with our caregivers is no accident. We're careful. We get references. We ask questions--or I should say, my wife asks questions, as a veteran news reporter would.

If you're paying attention, you can get a pretty good idea about the care your child will receive, whether you'll enjoy a healthy interaction with the caregiver, whether the caregiver exudes a conscientiousness that lends you peace of mind.

No child-care setting can be a mirror image of home, nor should it be. But there should be agreement on how unacceptable behavior will be handled. Parents should expect to be and want to be informed about their child's behavior, both good and bad.

Parents who lose confidence in their child care must be ready to act quickly while learning from the experience.

I don't mean this to be a lesson in choosing child care, but rather an explanation of why I roll my eyes at studies that purport to inform the public about whether child care is wounding a generation of children.

We were as worried and naive as any parents would be when handing their children over to strangers for the first time. We agonized over the process of finding the best possible care. Putting all objectivity aside, our children are turning out wonderfully.

The real story of child care is not found in thousands of case studies. It's found one family, one child at a time.

And if you find your caregiver has someone like Leahcim around to help out, you'll know you've found a place that loves kids.


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