Leaving your child with someone else as you head off to work every day is not easy: As a parent, chances are, you long to be with your child 24/7. This is especially true for new parents. However, once maternity leave has ended, even mom must return to work. While there are several child care options available, one of the best options available is daycare. That said, choosing the daycare center that suits the needs of your family best will require a bit of research.
Choosing a Daycare Provider: What Parents Need to Know
Some daycare providers have licensed caregivers. These licensed caregivers receive special training to ensure the children are given exceptional care.
10 Signs of a Good Daycare Center
1. A Stimulating Environment
When you visit the daycare provider, look for a stimulating environment:
- Is there a lot of interaction between the caregivers and the children?
- Do staff members sit on the floor with the children?
- Do the children seem engaged or are they daydreaming?
- Are the toys provided age-appropriate and in good shape?
- Ask about daily activities: These activities should include talking, singing, dancing, reading, and on-the-floor playtime.
Any day care that you choose should have a locked door policy. This ensures that your child cannot just roam around the neighborhood Ideally, only staff members, individuals touring the facility and adults who are dropping off or picking up their children should be allowed in the center. All adult visitors need to be closely monitored, including you!
3. Age-Group Separation
Toddlers and older children should not be mingling with babies who are under the age of 12-months. Toddlers can be highly-spirited and somewhat unsteady on their feet. In addition, they have yet to master the art of being gentle with infants.
4. A Clean, Healthy Setting
Look for a health and sanitation rules sign. This sign should address hand washing procedures related to food preparation and diaper changes. Additionally, it should outline the steps taken to wash and sanitize toys, feeding utensils, and pacifiers, etc.
5. A Safe Setting
Make sure there are:
- Gates blocking stairways
- No choking hazards
- Window guards on all windows located on upper floors
- Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers
- Clearly marked exits
- Uncluttered floors
- No fluffy bedding/pillows in cribs
- Clear warning signs
- Knowledge of First Aid procedure.
6. Licensed by the State, If Applicable
Each state and every local government have their own laws related to the licensing of childcare providers. Although current licensing does not guarantee the quality of a provider, licensure does display commitment. Look for a daycare provider that is accredited by the NAEYC.
7. Nutritional Snacks, Beverages, and Meals
If the daycare provider gives the children beverages, an in-house meal and/or snacks, try to find a childcare center that is dedicated to helping children develop healthy eating habits. In addition, the daycare provider should ensure that children with food allergies are protected.
8. A Good Reputation
Do not be afraid to ask for references; furthermore, you can check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) as well.
Find a childcare center that is open 12 hours a day.
10. A Strict Policy Relating to Illness
A daycare provider should have a strict policy relating to employees and sick children remaining at home. There should be a particular time frame for many parents to pick up their child should he or she become sick while in care.
Use these 10 signs to find the right daycare provider in your area, after all, you are trusting them with your most prized possession, your child development.