We live in a busy world. Once you have a child, do not think that you have to give up your career or life to stay at home with him or her. Instead, there are many day care center options from which to choose. Take this decision seriously since its staff and programs will no doubt affect your child’s development. There are some great organizations out there, and there are some not so stellar options, too. This is why you should really think about your child’s age, needs, and your preferences when looking for the right center to look after your child while you are at work or school. The following are some tips for how to select the right day care center for your child.
The first thing to think about is the type of center you would like. Some daycare facilities focus on children having fun throughout the day whereas others have a more educational focus to them. Take the time to research different centers in the area to see just how many children a center serves, what the staff to child ratio is like, and to consider what you want your child doing throughout the day. It is more than appropriate to question different groups about their programming and staff’s credentials.
One of the best ways to choose the right day care center for your child is to obtain a referral from professionals in your community. You can ask loved ones, teachers, and childcare professionals in the area about their recommendations. There are both public and private centers from which to choose: Take the time to ask around your community to see what other parents and trusted experts have to say. It is more than okay to ask day care centers if they have parents or past customers who are willing to talk to you about their facilities.
Always visit any day care center you are considering. It is important that you can observe the programs, staff, and facilities firsthand so that you know exactly what will happen once you drop your child off. Take the time to observe how quickly staff members address children’s needs, whether or not the children look happy, and how clean and safe the facility looks. Are the toys and games in the space age-appropriate and up to date? Is the toileting area far away from the kitchen or eating area? If your child is meant to be at the day care center for long periods of time, ask about both indoor and outdoor activities as well as if the children are given the opportunity to rest or nap. You want to know as much about this place as possible, which means seeing it with your own two eyes.
See if you can test-drive a center before signing on for the long-term. Some centers will allow you to bring your child for a few days so that you can see whether or not he or she enjoys the center. If you do enroll your child in a center, pay attention when you pick your child up. At first, it is normal for he or she to be nervous and to cry when you leave. However, it is important that your child does have fun and is taken care of once you leave. Be on the alert if your child has bruises when you pick him or her up or if she looks gloomy, lethargic or unhappy. Your child’s reactions to a center are important: Pay attention.
With enough research and time, you should be able to determine whether or not day care center is right for your child. Be smart about this decision so that select a group that offers the right ratios and programs. The right center is sure to give you the time you need to work, run errands, or attend school, and it will aid in your child’s socialization and growth.