Step 1 Gather up those numbers. Start with calling the “Who You Know’s”, numbers from the ones you trust (friends, family, co-workers).
Step 2 If you are unsuccessful move on to Government Agency Databases. For example in the Illinois area that service is Action for Children www.actforchildren.org. Using this service can help out a lot because they supply more information on the provider before you even make the call. There is also the option of the yellow pages, but try and let that be your last resort. Yellow pages can a bit overwhelming randomly calling but also you might be able to walk onto a gold mine.
Step 3 Now your list is finally together and you start dialing away. Just remember you are calling these providers to schedule an interview ONLY. Make it easy on yourself.
Step 4 When interviewing with the provider make sure you have all your questions handy. You will need to know the important details like; How long have they been in business? Are they licensed, and how long? What is the maximum limit of children being cared for and their age ranges? Also, be very clear of your expectations in regards to your child (Remember the provider is interviewing you too!)
Step 5 Once you think you’ve found a match, start out slow with a trial week of service. This could mean a couple of hours a day or a 2-3 days out of the week. 1 week should be enough time to give you an idea of what you’ll be getting. If everything still is going well, always keep the communication lines open. Reassuring your provider can come talk to you about anything in regards to your child will be very helpful to them and will make them want to do the same in return.