At some point as a parent, you may consider placing your children in a daycare during the day while you work or for before and after school care. With this decision comes several things as a parent that you may want to consider so you can make sure you are choosing the best one for your kiddos.
Type Of Child Care
What type of child care are you looking for specifically? Child care centers, in-home daycare, and family care providers offer a range of services. It’s important to determine what will work best for you and your child. This will be the first decision you make on your journey to finding the right daycare.
Child care costs can be staggering, so you’ll want to consider your options and your budget carefully. While that one daycare you see listed with the cheapest prices may look appealing in terms of budget, proceed with caution. Sometimes what sounds too good to be true usually is.
Plan A Visit
When you’re visiting a potential center, make sure to pay attention to how to staff interact with the children in their care. Ideally, a caregiver should be playing with the children and supervising them closely. If you are looking for a facility for your baby, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises a ratio of one adult for every three babies up to 24 months. If you do not observe the proper number of supervision, this is a red flag. Also, consider taking your child with you. Oh, and be sure to ask to see a child-care license while you are there.
Don’t Be Afraid To Speak Up & Ask Questions
Ask questions such as:
- Are you licensed? Accredited?
- Do you have any history of violations?
- What are the experience and qualifications of your staff?
- What is the ratio of child care workers to kids?
- What is your staff turnover rate?
- What is your discipline philosophy?
- What are your procedures in case of fire or other emergencies?
- What kind of activities will my child be involved in each day?
- How many and what kinds of meals do you serve?
- What are your hours and days of operation?
- Are there holidays or other times when you are closed?
- Are there restrictions on who may pick up my child?
- Do you offer full- and part-time care?
- How much do you charge? Do you impose late fees?
- Do you offer a discount if I place more than one child in your care?
- Do you have pets?
- Does anyone else have access to the children in your home? If so, who are they and what are their child care qualifications?
- Do you or does anyone else in the house smoke?
- Do you offer backup care if you are ill?
Rule of thumb: get at least 3 references from your potential daycare choices. Review them, check them out, do whatever you can to ensure that each place is reputable. If they cannot come up with any, that is your cue to walk out the door and never look back.
So many people make the mistake of settling when it comes to anything in life. Daycares are no exception. The only person who loses, in the long run, is your child. I mentioned earlier that if it sounds too good to be true that it usually is. So go with your gut instinct. If a place gives you a bad vibe, avoid it at all costs. If the child-care price seems a bit (or extremely) low, run like the wind away from that place. If the references don’t pan out, move to the next center on your list.
Make Your Final Decision
Choose the daycare that is best for your child and his or her needs. Have confidence in your decision and faith in your provider. Now you can relax and hope that the transition into daycare goes over well for both you and your child.