As a new parent, you probably want to spend as much time with your little one, however, the realities of life will eventually creep in. Yes, some parents are able to stay at home and take care of their children on a full-time basis, but not everyone has that luxury. If you’re a regular parent, you’ll eventually have to go back to work and will need to entrust the care of your precious child to others.
In some countries and cultures, young children are left in the care of extended family. Aunts, uncles and grandparents would happily step in to take care of your child while you go back to work. However, if you don’t have relatives living close to you, or if they too are busy with their own families, you’ll have to enrol your child in a daycare centre.
A daycare center or child care center, is a place where children are left and cared for while the parents are at work. It is said that the first day care was started in France at about 1840, and was first established in the United States in the 1850s.
Today, daycare centers can be found in almost any city in the world. With so many options to choose from, how would you know if the facility is the best for your child? So, apart from having a safe and clean internal and external environment, and a valid practicing certificate, what other factors should you look for when selecting a daycare for your child? Here are 5 signs which reflect the quality of the day care facility.
It is Recommended By Other Parents
When looking for a daycare for your child, it’s not enough that you physically inspect the property and talk to the owners or care givers, you need to talk to other parents who have children there and get their feedback. Since you would most likely want to get a daycare near your place of work or where you live, you can ask your officemates and neighbors for advice. Ask them where they put their children and ask about their experiences. You can expect your child to be treated the same way as their children.
House Rules are Discussed With You
When you visit daycare centres, ask about their house rules. Are they flexible enough to let you pick up or drop off your child at different times or do they only allow drop offs and pick ups at specific times? What’s their sick-child policy? Will they call you immediately when your child is not feeling well? Do you need to show a doctor’s certificate when your child is ready to go back? The daycare should be able to provide you with a written list of “do’s and don’ts” and allows you to come and go as you please. A center that limits your interaction with your child may have something to hide.
The Staff are Qualified and Well Trained
It goes without saying that good daycare centers will have qualified and well-trained staff. When you visit the daycare facility, observe how the staff interact with the other children. Are the children comfortable with the carer? How does the carer treat the children, especially those who are being “naughty”? For your own peace of mind, ask what qualifications the carers have.
They Have Activities for the Kids
While you’re asking about the staff, ask about the activities they have for the children. Will the children be placed in front of a television most of the time so they can entertain themselves? Will there be games that would foster social development? Will they have little activities that would aid your child’s cognitive and physical development? Do they have established sleeping and play times?
Food and Feeding
Food and feeding can be tricky … some daycares would rather that the parents provide the food for their child, and this is especially true for daycares that care for infants. If your child is no longer dependent on formula and has started eating by himself, ask what food the daycare would provide to your child. Will they provide snacks or main meals? What kind of food do they have?
These should help you narrow down your choice of daycare for your child. And once your child reaches the school age, you will have to go through the same process in looking for a pre-school, ideally one that offers an after school care program. An after school care program is for children who will need to be looked after from the time classes end until the time you are able to pick them up. You can use the same checklist, just add or remove items depending on how relevant it is to your child. Remember, although the school may change, the intrinsic services they offer (to care for your child in the best way possible) should remain the same.
Michael Liam is a professional blogger that provides information on after school care. She writes for The Learning Experience, a leading after school program with locations nationwide.