A Parents' Guide to Day Care: Finding the Best Alternative for Your Child


90 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 0-88908-586-2




Reviewed by Margaret E. Kidd

Margaret E. Kidd is a member of Toronto’s Child & Family Services
Review Board.


Here is another addition to the Self-Counsel Series of books published in Vancouver. Its author, Kathy Gallagher Ross, combines her professional knowledge of the field with her parent-experience with two young sons.

Well organized, including a bibliography and lists of day care information offices in every Canadian province and U.S. state, this book looks at day care as a service for sale, whose users are consumers. “Parents must refuse to use inferior situations and be prepared to assume an active role in choosing and using all types of day care.”

Ms. Ross reviews all opportunities for alternative care from child care in one’s own home to care in another’s home to group day care and part-time possibilities. She is also careful to point out the importance of understanding feelings about using day care at this time of societal change, when some parents feel guilty about leaving their child with others for whatever reason.

Her suggestions include excellent questions for interviewing nannies and standards to look for in family and group day care. She puts the responsibility squarely on the parents’ shoulders: “Although many day care center staff are trained and thus seen as professionals, there is no assurance that the center will offer good experiences for every child.” She emphasizes that the needs of the individual child have to be the guide.

This book introduces us to what is available and how to check that in our own community. The estimates of cost are probably based on national averages and are low for the Toronto area. We are reminded that government standards are minimal and thus a parent should not use a center that does not comply with them. The needs of young children and how these might be met in specific activities are analyzed.

I found this guide to be objective and careful to present several points of view. Using this book should help you choose the best alternative for you and your child!


Ross, Kathy Gallagher, “A Parents' Guide to Day Care: Finding the Best Alternative for Your Child,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 26, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/37821.