When it comes to your child, you want to make sure you trust them to the best care available while you’re off at work. Choosing the right daycare can be tricky at first, but once you’ve got your priorities in order and know what questions to ask, you’ll be able to find a place that’s just right for you and your child. Here are a few basic tips to keep in mind when choosing a childcare center.
1. Ask About the Schedule
Many people have different ideas about raising children. For this reason, it’s important to ask for a full, drawn-out schedule of a typical day at any given daycare. Ask how often children are fed, and how often they’re put down for naps. Ask about the nature of the meals and snacks. Are they organic? Do they prioritize a certain diet plan? Get a sense of how hands-on the daycare is by asking about activities. How much television are the children exposed to, and how often do they get a chance to play outdoors? The more you know about a daycare’s routine, the better equipped you’ll be to specify your own child’s needs.
2. Drop In During Working Hours
It’s hard to get a sense of how a daycare works just by asking questions. The best way to figure out if a specific drop in day care is right for you and your child is to drop by during working hours and see everything in action. Take note of the children and the workers. Do the children look happy? Do the workers seem overly stressed? Does the general layout seem organized and under control? Make sure to stop by without notice a few times so you’ll get a real sense of how things work there.
3. Ask Other Parents
One of the best assurances of quality for any particular daycare is to ask other parents if they’re satisfied. Try to schedule some time to talk with the other parents and ask what their expectations were at the start, and if those expectations are being fulfilled. It can be hard to plan these meetings as a busy working parent, but even asking a few basic questions via email can end up being extremely helpful.
4. Find Out About Policy
It’s important to know just where a specific daycare stands on key issues like food, health policy, playtime, media exposure, and punishment. Make sure to ask about a daycare’s policy surrounding specific issues to be certain they match up with your own values. If the daycare has a lot of children of different ages, ask how the difference in maturity is handled. Ask about how committed a certain daycare is to not only looking after a child, but enriching a child’s days and keeping them healthy, happy, and cared for.
5. Communicate Your Child’s Specific Needs
Each child is different, and your child has their own unique needs and quirks that any caregiver will need to know about. Before making a commitment to a daycare, ask about how they will show their sensitivity to those needs, be they health related, like a specific food allergy, or related to a child’s unique set of personality traits.