Are you looking for a daycare centre for your child? If so, the thought of leaving your baby with someone else must be worrying you a lot.
Don’t worry. You are not alone in this. All working parents go through this as they prepare to go back to work after their parental leaves are over.
Finding a daycare is indeed a tough decision to make, especially for new parents, because you are trusting someone with your most precious family member.
Let’s try and make this decision easier for you by going through some basics of how to find the right child care!
1. Seeing is believing.
While friends’ and neighbours’ recommendations are worth a ton, it’s a lot better to visit the place yourself. And here are some important things you need to observe when you visit a daycare centre.
First of all, child care centres need to be safe, clean, and healthy for kids. Children have weak immune systems and are susceptible to sickness/allergy by germs. The cleaner the place, the better it is for kids.
Secondly, make sure they have enough caregivers to attend to the children. A place with less staff and more children means there is a chance that your child may be left unattended for a while. And leaving children unattended for even a small period can be risky, even if they are sleeping. A 4:1 child to caregiver ratio is what most people recommend.
Then, check out the resources they have to entertain and educate kids. Children get bored relatively quicker, so make sure they are stacked with enough books and toys for all children in the centre.
Of course, you can only confirm these things by being there physically and checking out the entire facility. Daycare facilities like Raising Stars Child Care allow parents to drop by for a tour.
Ask about their policies and routine.
To understand what your child will go through at the centre, you need to know what policies, regulations, and daily routines they follow
Make sure they have a limit for the number of children at the centre and stop the enrolment once that number is reached. Because if it’s too crowded, each child will get less individual attention.
Also, inquire about their schedule or daily routine of activities. How much time is given to books and training? Is there a television for the kids? If yes, are they allowed to watch it all day, or is there a set time for that?
Ask these questions to understand what your child will go through on a regular day. Also, ask whether the same caregiver is assigned to each child because frequently changing caregivers can be a source of anxiety for the child. If a daycare has a high employee turnover, you need to find another one!
Are they prepared for a medical emergency?
Children play and do all kinds of things with toys — they may throw them, stick them in their mouths dangerously, or may just hit somebody with them. These are everyday things that are normal and expected where children play together.
The important thing to know is the staff’s course of action in case of an injury. Are first-aid kits available at the centre, and does the staff have basic first-aid training to deal with an accident?
The same goes for any other medical emergency or sickness. Do they have a paramedical or medical person on-site or quick access to a child health centre? If not, you need to know how they handle sick children.
Make sure you ask about these things to ensure the safety and well-being of your child at all times.
At this point, it’s also probably a good idea to find out whether the staff has been background-checked. People with a criminal record are not really the best caregivers.
Do they have enough space?
This might seem trivial, but it’s vital for parents with newborn babies to check if the centre has enough space to segregate children age-wise.
Infants and babies should have their dedicated area where older toddlers don’t get to mix with them. Older children sharing space with infants is dangerous and would need supervision round the clock. The reason is you never know how an older toddler will try to play with a baby.
Older children are a potential source of harm for infants. Plus, you simply can’t ignore choking hazards if they bring toys to the infant area.
Also, keep in mind that growing babies need extra floor space for moving around. This movement is necessary for the development and strengthening of their muscles, so a teeny tiny daycare center won’t work.
Pay attention to staff’s behaviour.
Finally, to make sure your child gets a warm and loving one-on-one experience with his caregiver, pay close attention to how the staff interacts with the children on your visit.
Children need an intimate and interactive relationship with adults for nurturing good habits and polite behaviour. Depriving a baby of attention is actually harmful to them and can lead to a condition called psychosocial deprivation with serious consequences like stunted growth and a lack of basic trust in the child.
Besides staff’s behaviour with children, observe their relationship with other staff members and see how they communicate with guests (and other parents). This is important because your child will be spending a significant part of his day with them, and you want to ensure he learns to be respectful and courteous.
In addition to behaviour, focus on their teaching methods too. Try to learn about the techniques that caregivers are using to teach children to become disciplined. Ensure it’s less about scolding and punishing and more about fun learning and instilling good habits via good teaching practices.
And that’s a wrap! If you keep these 5 very basic things in mind, it will be very hard to choose the wrong daycare facility!
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