Finding the right DayCare for your child – What to ask and how to choose?
If the thought of leaving your child with someone (you don’t know) for the entire day gives you the chills, you are not the only one. It’s a big and of course the most important decision, especially if it’s your first baby. But if you are planning to resume office, you have got good options starting from nannies, babysitters to daycare centers.
One of the finest options available today is daycare, either group or home daycare. Many centers in the United States offer exceptional care with experienced and trained caretakers onboard. But then, one has to choose a childcare that’s best in terms of teaching, caring and obviously right for your baby’s age and personality/character.
Choosing a Daycare center for your child
Depending on where you reside, you need to start looking for options. For instance, if you reside in a big city, the choices may be plenty, therefore finalizing the best one may be a bit tough. Hence, you might want to start researching a couple of months before your delivery date. In fact, the ideal time to start your search is about six month before you need childcare, because:
- The top centers fill up fast
- You get enough time to verify the credibility of the center
Following are the few steps to take:
When choosing a childcare center, consider your child’s safety, your budget and daily routine.
- Do your homework properly – Do your research properly; get recommendations from other parents (they can be your friends or relatives) and your pediatrician. If you don’t have anyone whom you know to help you, go online and read reviews and testimonials by other parents, check with the state regulatory agency.
- Screen the centers – Search for the top daycare centers in your city, read about them online and visit in person to see if it fulfills all that was said on their website. Most of the times what you read online isn’t the truth or is partially correct. So, visiting the place gives you an idea about the place.
Sometimes unannounced meetings can be of great help. Consider stopping by without prior notice. This will give you a true picture of what the center is like when the staff hasn’t been prepared. If something doesn’t seem right to you, it may not be right for your kid, either; cross it off from your list.
- Check References – Contact former and current clients to find out the reality of the child care center. Their experience with the daycare will help you make an informed decision. The glorified testimonials that owners handover to their potential clients may not speak the truth. Reviews are easily edited (or even fabricated).
- Ask questions – Choosing a good daycare center for your sweetheart involves asking numerous questions and being vigilant. You may consider asking the following questions:
- What’s your fee and schedule? If they are over and above your budget and their schedule isn’t matching with your requirement, it’s easy – eliminate it from your list.
- What’s your accreditation?
– Group daycare centers: Those accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) meet even higher standards, including a good ratio of adults to babies; low turnover in caregivers; and a philosophy that promotes the health, safety and development of kids in its care.
– In-home daycare: If it’s accredited by the National Association for Family Child Care, the provider has met higher standards.
- What’s your staff-to-child ratio? Make sure it is not overcrowded. Check below the typical limit:
– Group daycare centers – max of six babies or 8 toddlers per group, with ideally one staffer for every 3 babies and one staffer for every 4 toddlers (13 to 30 months).
– In-home daycares – 6 kids (including the caregiver’s own) should be the limit, with no more than 2 kids under 2 years old.
Few of the other questions includes:
- What sort of qualification and experience do the teacher/staff carry?
- How are sick children handled?
- What do you serve kids to eat?
- What are your policies regarding vaccinations?
- Do you allow parents involvement in the events/programs conducted by the center? If yes, how?