Whether you’re looking for a formal childcare centre, at-home care, family-friendly daycare, or even a babysitter, there are several factors that you must take into consideration to ensure that your little one is getting the best standard of care each day. Chances are, there will be many possibilities to consider before you finally decide upon a daycare option, so it’s best to know exactly what you are looking for to make it easier to narrow your choices down. Here’s our round-up of the best expert tips that we can find on choosing the perfect daycare centre for your child.
Tip #1. Watch Interactions
When visiting a potential daycare centre, it’s a good idea to walk around and see how the staff are interacting with the children that they care for throughout the day. Ideally, you should be seeing caregivers on the floor playing with the children, soothing them on their laps, and generally being warm, responsive, and supportive of the little ones throughout their early years. It’s important that young babies have close, loving, and interactive relationships with adults, so the perfect daycare centre should not only offer group social interaction but also plenty of one-to-one time.
Tip #2. Check Out Facilities
When it comes to choosing a daycare centre, there may be some facilities that certain children will need more than others. For example, if your child has a disability or health condition, then you may find that certain facilities, such as the restrooms, are far more important to you. If you are sending a toddler to daycare from a young age, then you should also check out the facilities that are available for potty training, so that this can be continued away from home.
Tip #3. Play and Fun
In addition to also being an educational place for your little one to be, daycare should also be somewhere that they can go to play, have fun, and socialise with other kids. Check out the play areas that are available and speak to the staff about the group activities, games, and everything else that will be taking place for your child. Check out Littlehandslittlefeet.org for a great example of what to look for.
Tip #4. Hygiene
Another factor that should be hugely important to you when choosing a daycare centre for your child is the hygiene and cleanliness. You don’t want your little one to be picking up germs in daycare, so have a look around to scope out the standards of cleanliness that the place is held to. You should see dedicated cleaners who work on a daily basis to ensure that everything is spotless!
Tip #5. Food Options
Today, daycare centres will ensure that your child eats a healthy and balanced diet – in fact, many will have guidelines on the type of items that you can send in for your child in a packed lunch if you’re going to be providing your own food. If you plan to let your child eat food prepared at daycare, it’s a good idea to take a look at the type of dishes that you can expect to see on the menu. If your child has any food allergies, ensure that you speak to the staff beforehand about this and determine how your child’s needs will be catered to.
Tip #6. Check Policies
Different daycare centres will have various policies for the children in their care, so ensure that you check out their policies beforehand to make sure that they are in line with your own ideas for parenting and childcare. For example, do the caregivers give time-outs to children who are being a little naughty, or are they more likely to be scolded? Is watching television encouraged, or given sparingly at certain points in the day? When are naps offered, and how are restless babies helped to sleep? It’s also a good idea to enquire about policies regarding sickness – what will stop your child from being able to attend, and what is the policy regarding children who are taken sick at daycare?
Lastly, you should choose a daycare centre or another child caregiver who you feel comfortable enough with to communicate freely with about your child. Bear in mind that until your little one is able to talk, you will rely on communication with their care provider to stay up to date on their progress.