Finding the right child care facility is a challenge for most parents. When you are looking at day care centers, there are some things you can do to make sure you select the right one for your child. Here are some things you can look for when you are touring different facilities.
1. Look for where the staff is. One of the things you should pay attention to when you are evaluating day care centers is how the staff and the children interact with each other. In a good center, the staff will not be walking around looking down at the children but will be next to them, on the floor, playing alongside them. In their early years, children need to be able to interact closely with the people caring for them. It is crucial to their development. The staff caring for the children should be caring, loving and very much involved in play. If the staff will not get down and play with the children, you should take your child someplace else.
2. Ask about staff turnover. If you go to a center and they are constantly changing staff, it can be a sign of bigger problems at the day care center. More of an issue is that babies and toddlers really need consistency in their care. They need to be able to form a bond with the people who are taking care of them. If there is a new person caring for them every week, they will not be able to do this and the experience will be more harmful than helpful. This is one of the most important questions you can ask.
3. Ask about their policy and philosophy. There are a few questions that you can ask day care centers. It is important that you get all of your questions answered. When it comes to questions, the more, the merrier. If they do not want to answer your questions, you should find another day care center. Here are a few questions to ask:
How do they handle discipline? Do they scold? Use time outs?
- How much television do they use? Do they use it at all?
- What kinds of foods do they feed the children?
- What is the nap situation? What do they do with fussy babies?
- What do they do with sick children?
4. Check out the center and see how they do things. Drop by without making an appointment and see what happens. Look at how clean do they keep the center. Watch how the staff and the children interact. Do the children look happy? Not every child is going to be happy all of the time so if you drop by and there is one unhappy child, that is to be expected. How do the staff react to you when you walk in? Are they annoyed that you are there without an appointment or are they happy to show off the child care center. You should repeat this after you have your child enrolled in the center. You may find this shows you made the right decision or it may make you reevaluate it.
5. Talk to the staff often. Your baby cannot tell you what happens during their day but the staff of the day care center should be able to. You should talk to them a lot about what has been happening with your child during the day. At the time that you bring your child to the facility in the morning, you should update the staff about how the night went. If your child had a bad night, it may impact their day. By the same token, you should get an update about how the day went when you pick them up. You should be able to speak to the caregiver who cared for your child directly. If they balk at this, you may want to take your child somewhere else. The more you communicate with the staff, the better you will get to know the center and understand the situation.
Finding the right day care center for your child is not impossible to do. You just need to do some research and work and you will find the right place.