Tips for Choosing a Daycare for Your Kids
One of the most important decisions you will make as a parent is choosing a daycare center for your children. If you choose the wrong fit, it can be a nightmare. However, a perfect fit can be childcare gold for you and your child.
The following five tips can help working parents choose an excellent daycare for their children:
Tip #1- Do your research
An excellent daycare will be known for its friendly atmosphere and nurturing environment. Doing daycare research before choosing a daycare can help reveal a center’s true nature. A vital research path starts with discovering the center’s policies.
You want to choose a daycare center that shares your parenting philosophies. Discipline, television time, feeding, sleeping, and other subjects should be investigated. If you believe a child should only be exposed to television sparingly, you do not want to pick the daycare center that leaves the tv on all day long.
It is also helpful to know the daycare center’s sick-child policy. When is the child sent home? What symptoms prevent a child from attending daycare? When you have narrowed the field of potential centers, you should ask other parents and/or your pediatrician for recommendations.
Tip #2-Ask for a license
Even though a license does not guarantee an excellent fit, an unlicensed daycare center should be avoided. License and credentials should also be doubled checked through your local social services department. A facility that has passed the accreditation process required by NAEYC is an excellent choice because these requirements are stringent.
Your chosen daycare center should also be able to meet or exceed your state’s licensing regulations for safety and health. Some states do not require daycares to hold a valid license. In these states, it is critical to evaluate the caregivers themselves.
Tip #3- Inspect the center for cleanliness and safety issues
Exceptional daycares are clean and sanitary regardless of the time of day. You should pay close attention to the floors, kitchen area, walks, and walls. When inspecting a center, the food prep area should be away from the toilet and diaper changing areas.
Excellent daycare centers follow basic rules of safety, which include keeping the toys and other equipment in good repair. Any upstairs windows should have safety bars or screens, also. Another basic safety rule is medicines, and other hazardous substances should be stored out of the reach of the children at all times.
Tip #4- Ask questions
Until a child is old enough to talk, a parent must rely on the daycare provider to tell him or her about the child’s day. You must be able to communicate comfortably with your child’s caregiver to ensure a positive and honest interaction.
Ask the provider how they communicate with parents. Is there a procedure for providing information about the child’s day? You may want to know how many diapers, how long the child napped, etc. An excellent daycare provider will have procedures in place to ensure you know all the crucial details.
Tip #5- Visit the daycare unannounced
You should make a visit or two to a potential daycare site before committing to the daycare. As you are visiting the site, be sure to look down. Pay close attention to how the providers interact with the children. An excellent daycare’s providers will typically be on the floor playing with the kids or participating in other one-on-one activities.
Regardless of the facility, the providers should be warm, responsive, and engaged with the children. You know when something does not feel right. Trust your gut when choosing a daycare center. If something does not feel right, look into other options.