Regardless of whether you choose an in-home center or daycare center, there are some essentials things you should keep in mind when making your choice. To inform your decision, we have complied a few essential things to keep in mind when weighing your options.
Observe care givers interaction.
During a tour of a preschool or childcare, you must pay attention to how the teachers interact with all the children. In an ideal daycare, a care giver should always be involved with her children. Look for them to have a child on their lap, or playing on the floor, or participating in a center with them. Attention is crucial to a child’s development and children need loving and interactive relationships with adults to grow.
Look for a committed staff.
All people and especially children need continuity. Continuity and consistency help children form a secure attachment to their care giver. A great bond is crucial to your child’s development, so ask a potential daycare about turnover and how committed the teachers are.
Check the policy.
Talk to your daycare and find out if you share the same philosophies on topics like discipline, television, feeding and sleep. You can also ask about their sick-child policy. To get a greater understanding of how the policy is applied ask them questions like: How are fussy babies put to sleep? Do the caregivers use time-outs or scolding’s? The more questions you ask the more comfortable you can be in making your decision.
Do a pop-in.
Show up to the daycare center unannounced. While referrals and online research are great, there is nothing like seeing what its like first hand. Look to make sure the environment is clean, childproofed, has a variety of toys and books that are age appropriate. Check to make sure that older toddlers are not sharing a place with infants or babies. Make sure the rooms have designated quiet areas and areas for play or centers. All the rooms should be free of clutter with plenty of space. Developing children need floor time to develop their muscles and motor skills. Also consider popping in at different times of the day to really gauge the operation of the facility. You can also pop in during the first few weeks your child is enrolled to either confirm your impressions of the program or show you something you may not like.
Communication is key.
Before your child can talk, you will solely rely on what the caregiver tells you about your child’s day. Be sure to build a good relationship with your caregiver so that you can communicate comfortably. When you drop of your child you should communicate how your little one slept or how they felt in the morning, whether they are teething and if he or she ate breakfast. At the end of the day you should ask for similar information. If you are unable to see the caregiver make sure to schedule a phone call, perhaps at nap time.
Solve problems right away.
It’s expected that you will experience conflict with your caregiver. Some problems will be large and some will be small. Regardless of the size, it is important to address them right away. If you ignore them, they can grow out of proportion. Some problems can be resolved quickly but some may need a discussion. Regardless of the conflict, treat the caregiver in a respectful manner. That being said, do not be afraid the speak your mind. Allow the caregiver to speak her mind. Cooperation is the best strategy and you are more likely to succeed if both parties are able to speak their mind. Always remember that in most cases you and the caregiver want the same thing, happiness for your child.
Trust your intuition.
Parents have a sixth sense when it comes to something that isn’t quite right. You may be turned off by a center everyone recommends or have a conflict with a highly touted center. This may happen and that’s ok, just keep searching. Your children will thrive in a great environment and sometimes your intuition will play a role in the decision-making process.
Be open to change.
You want what is best you and your family. You are not married to your daycare. Therefore, if things don’t workout its okay to make the switch. Of course, we all want consistency but sometimes change is best if it puts your child in a better position. Babies are resilient and as long as they have a positive experience with their caregiver that’s all that matters.
No matter the hours you work, you are still your child’s number one caregiver. You are the most consistent source of love and support in their life. Under your care and along with the help of a well-chosen daycare, your baby will succeed and flourish.