Choosing a child care center that suits you and your child’s needs is a nerve-wracking endeavor. After all, this is your baby we’re talking about. You want to be able to leave him or her with qualified, capable caregivers and trust that they’re safe and adequlately cared for each and every day.
If you’ve decided a child care center is right for your family’s lifestyle needs, here are a few tips to help you find the perfect one:
Tip #1 – Visit the Center Before Committing
Before committing to bringing your child to a specific daycare, make a point of visiting on an typical day during regular business hours. This will give you an idea of how the center operates and whether the children who go there are happy and well-adjusted.
Pay close attention to the cleanliness of the place, how the staff interact with the children and how the kids, in turn, respond to them. No warning bells or red flags should go off where these three areas are concerned.
Tip #2 – The Staff
To get a feel for how the center runs, all you need to do is observe its staff. The caregivers should be on the floor playing with the children, or at the very least, be holding the small babies on their laps. Infants and older babies need close contact with the people who care for them to thrive.
While limits vary from state to state, the average ratio is one adult for every three children under the age of two years. If there aren’t enough staff to tend to all the children, look elsewhere for as your child will not get the one-on-one attention he needs.
Tips #3 – Ask Questions
While the center’s website provides plenty of general information, you’ll want to ask more specific questions of the director and staff. Things to ask might include:
- What is the center’s philosophy on discipline and education?
- What kind of emergencies are they prepared for?
- What are the caregivers’ qualifications and what is the turnover rate for staff? (Caregivers who come and go are hard on your child.)
If you happen to visit when other parents are picking up or dropping off their children, don’t be afraid to ask them questions about the center as well.
Tip #4 – Accreditation
A license can’t guarantee that the staff will be loving and caring. However, if the center is licensed by the state, it means they meet the requirements set forth by the government, and the odds are better that it will hire the appropriate staff members to meet your child’s needs. Know the child care licensing laws in your state and be sure the center you choose has the proper accreditation.
Tip #5 – Trust Your Instincts
Every parent has a sense when something isn’t quite right with their child. If the center you’re considering gives you a less-than-cozy feeling, look somewhere else for a place to send your precious offspring. You need to be comfortable with leaving your kids in someone else’s care. Young ones thrive under loving, caring supervision, so if you just don’t feel right about a specific location, keep searching until you find one that gives you the right feelings of comfort and confidence.
Finding a child care center that meets you and your child’s needs can be a difficult task. Hopefully, the tips above will help you as you search for the perfect option near you.