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The quality of care your child is exposed to directly impacts their ability to learn, build healthy relationships, and become their very best selves. As such, the decision of where to place your child can be both tasking and confusing. This is particularly because most parents want a facility that provides a stimulating, loving environment for the child. Besides, the type of care you want for your child is one that helps to grow them mentally, socially, emotionally, and physically.
Whether you are looking for a formal child-care center or a family daycare, you want to fully size up the child-care options that you have. Steps to finding a daycare center include:
You first want to visit the potential site that is the daycare facility. Ideally, you want to find a facility in which the staff interacts consistently with the children. You want to go for a facility where you can see the caregivers on the floors playing with the kids or at least holding them on the lap.
This criterion is informed by the idea that children require close, interactive relationships in their formative years. As such, it would be prudent to go with a facility keen on offering a healthy dose of one-on-one time. Note that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that within a daycare center, there should be a ratio of one adult to every three babies up to 12 months of age.
Children need consistency and predictability in their care and routine. It is crucial to their development if they have a secure attachment to their primary caregivers. As you look around for a daycare facility, you want to ask that the management commit themselves through a periodic contract. Additionally, you want to inquire about how often you should expect a turnover as it pertains to the primary caregiver. Overall, you want to find a daycare center with a great reputation for retaining its caregivers over an extended period.
As a parent, you are likely looking for a daycare facility that has parenting philosophies similar to your own. This could include such matters as discipline, feeding, or sleep routines.
As such, it would be prudent to have said conversation with the facility pertaining to their child-care policies. For instance, you want to inquire about their policies regarding a sick child within the facility. Additionally, you want to find out what backup plans they have when the primary caregiver is unavailable on a particular day. Altogether, you want to ask as many questions as possible to ensure that you are on the same page regarding the child-care policies you most identify with.
While word-of-mouth referrals are great, you cannot always trust that the daycare facility will meet your needs. As such, it would be prudent to drop by unexpectedly. By doing so, you can access the environment for yourself. You can check on the cleanliness of the daycare facility. You can also check on how childproof it is and what toys are available to entertain the little ones.
As an additional measure, you want to check if the facility has separate areas dedicated to the different activities children would want to partake in. For instance, do they have a dedicated play space or spots where kids can sleep?
If possible, consider visiting the same daycare facility at different times of the day. In retrospect, this should give you deeper insight into how the facility is run and how the personnel interact with the children. Altogether, these visits should confirm if the facility is best for your child.
For any parent, especially one whose child is yet to express themselves fully, you want to keep the conversation going between you and the primary caregiver. This constant communication is key to understanding how your little one is fairing within the new environment. Besides, it could go a long way into unearthing any developmental concerns that you should keep your eye on.
Keeping a conversation going is essential to understanding if the facility fits what you are looking for as it pertains to the type of care you would want your child to receive.
At some point, you might experience a difference in opinion or conflict with the caregiver or the institution. As such, you want to look out for channels for problem-solving that should see the conflict or problem resolved respectfully.
A way around finding out if the institution is the type open to addressing any concerns you might have would be to bring up a difficult subject. In doing so, you can gauge the caregiver’s opinion and how they react when presented with a difficult scenario.
The decision to leave your child with someone else can be daunting. At its tenet, you will be entrusting the wellbeing of your child to another. Going into this, you want to lean into your gut feeling. Specifically, be on the lookout for what, in effect, does not feel right to you.
It would be best if you simply did not rely on what facility people in town are raving about. Consider what you feel your child deserves and under what conditions you believe they would essentially thrive. Overall, if something simply does not feel right, you want to investigate further or even consider terminating any commitment you might have made.
Child care is amongst the most expensive consumer goods or services that a parent has to deal with. Specifically, daycare facilities are exceptionally costly. It is reported that a parent has to part with approximately $16,000 a year for daycare services.
This cost can be attributed to the heavy regulation within the industry. While this significantly reduces the vulnerability of the children under the care of these daycare facilities, it translates to a higher cost per child. This translates to about 10% of the average household income being used on daycare alone. In hindsight, if you want to get quality care, consistent monitoring, and a support-centered approach, you have to be okay with paying top dollar for it. Concisely, you want to make a direct investment in the form of premium bang per buck if you want your little one to get the best possible care.
As you shop around for the best daycare for your child, you want to ask various questions before you lock in on one provider. Some of the questions to ask include:
The absolute first question to ask the provider is if, in fact, they are operating legally. You want proof of this in the form of proper documentation, as this translates to the idea that you will be leaving your child in the hands of a certified facility.
It would help if you were keen on what Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) rating they have. Additionally, ask for copies of state inspections. Finally, inquire on what violations they have been flagged for.
While you might already have a clue on the cost of the facility you will be checking out, you still want to ask for the exact rates they expect to charge you. It would help if you were keen on the cost breakdown. Ask about the late pick-up fees, extra charges you might incur on certain days, and if up-front payment is accepted.
You want to understand things like the classroom size and the caregiver turnover. Additionally, you want to know the teacher-to-child ratio as this is critical to your child being safe, well taken care of, and happy within the facility.
A ratio of around 1:4 for infants and 1:6 for the older preschoolers is best. Additionally, you want to ask about the certification of the caregivers. Look out for facilities whose caregivers are, for instance, certified in first aid and CPR. Additionally, a minimum of 2 years of college training in early child development goes a long way in assuring you that your child would be in safe hands.
Finding a daycare near you goes beyond just considering the convenience it offers and the cash you have to pay. You want to consider how old your child is, how much care they need each day, how many days of the week you will be seeking the services of the daycare service providers, and how far you are willing to travel.
Overall, your child’s needs should be the most critical consideration as you want your child in an environment that nurtures their growth.
At Wonderschool, we are committed to helping you find the best possible child care near you. Our vision is to ensure that high-quality child care is accessible to everyone. Families visiting our site should be able to browse through different programs closest to them in a bid to find the right fit. Additionally, providers should generally experience a seamless experience as the platform is supported by modern technological tools. The supportive community should help connect both caregivers and parents with solutions that best fit their needs. Access all of our resources designed to support early care and education by joining the Wonderschool community today.