Taking your child to daycare for the first time can be daunting. Dealing with separation can be hard for both you and your child, and you want to feel totally confident that your child is in good hands. It’s important to take your time and do your research to find a facility that is a great fit for both of you. Here are eight helpful tips for choosing a childcare facility.
1. Look at the staff’s behavior
One of the best ways to choose a childcare center is to observe the way the staff interacts with the kids. They should be highly engaged and very warm, making an effort to get down on the floor and play with the kids or hold them. Children do best in an environment where they can develop caring relationships with the people around them.
2. Avoid facilities with high turnover
When the staff at a childcare facility is constantly changing, it’s difficult for children to develop warm, trusting relationships with them. Ask staff members how long they’ve been working there – ideally, there will be at least a few who have been there for several years. You should also ask about the required qualifications for staffers to ensure they are properly trained.
3. Get references from other parents
One of the best ways to learn more about any childcare facility is to talk to the parents of the children who use it. This is a good way to get an honest and unbiased opinion about the staff and services. If you have friends whose children are in daycare, ask them about the facility they use and their experience with it – this is an easy way to find viable options.
4. Ask about parenting philosophies
There are many different approaches to taking care of children, and it’s important to make sure you’re on the same page with anyone who takes care of yours. Have an in-depth conversation about discipline, naps, screen time, and any other topics that you have strong opinions about.
5. Have an unexpected visit
Once you’ve interviewed a daycare center and are interested in them, visit without warning them ahead of time. This will give you a better idea of what the day-to-day experience at the facility is like. If they won’t allow you to visit without an appointment, they’re likely not the best choice.
6. Compare tuition plans
Of course, you’ll need to make sure you can comfortably afford your daycare center. Look into the tuition rates and the way their payment plans are structured to ensure they work for your family.
7. Make sure the center is healthy
With so many kids in one place, illnesses can spread quickly. It’s important to choose a center that has immunization requirements for both kids and staff. You should also ask about how they handle cleaning and illnesses to ensure the facility is sanitary.
8. Choose a center with communicative staff
Since young kids can’t talk about their needs, you’ll need to work closely with the staff to make sure they are met. Ask how they communicate with parents and how much they encourage parent involvement. When a daycare center is open and communicative, your child will be more likely to have a comfortable experience.