How to Choose a Child Daycare Center
When it comes to parenting decisions, knowing how to choose a child daycare center is among the toughest. Besides ensuring that your daycare provides safe, effective care, there are other factors to consider. After all, the childcare center that is right for one family might not work for another.
Do Your Research
For any center you consider, you should check on some basic factors that are most important to you. For instance, how many teachers does this daycare employ? The American Academy of Pediatrics specifically recommends a ratio of one adult for every three babies up to 12 months of age. Keep that in mind.
The next step is to learn more about them. Much like learning how to set up a safer nursery, careful research is the key to success.
Visit and then Visit Again Unexpectedly!
Word-of-mouth referrals and online reviews are great, but it’s much better to see the child daycare center with your own eyes. This means visiting potential options on their home turf. After all, this would be the environment your child would be in on a regular basis.
When you visit a potential location, pay attention to how the staff interacts with the kiddos. Ideally, a caregiver should be on the floor with the children, either playing with them or holding one on her lap. To thrive, babies need close, loving, and engaging relationships with adults in their early years. This is why, even in group care, it is vital that newborns' early caregivers are warm and responsive, and that infants and older babies have a fair amount of one-on-one time.
Additionally, you might choose to drop by unannounced a few times after enrolling your child to see how things are going. If possible, try to visit during different times of day to see the staff interacts in action.
Child Daycare Center Extras to Consider
Naturally, any childcare facility should be clean, child-proofed, and well-stocked with strong books and age-appropriate toys. Consider the following details:
- Are there toys with tiny components readily available? These could pose a choking hazard and should be kept away from younger children.
- Does this child daycare center have a separate area for infants and newborns? These little ones should, ideally, be kept away from older toddlers. This can help to keep them safe and feeling extra protected during daycare hours.
- What is the safety level of this nursery and daycare center? Are they creating a safe sleep environment for naptime? Are they using dangerous toys and tools, like a rocking sleeper?
- What are the daycare’s policies on discipline? Do they employ scolding? Time-outs?
- How much screen time will the kids be given?
- Does this daycare offer healthy snacks?
It’s Time to Choose a Child Daycare Center
After numerous interviews and countless hours of investigation… it is up to the parents to decide. Knowing how to choose a child daycare center is only half the battle. Ultimately, it will be a gut check. What do you think is right for your particular child and family?
Once you’ve compared your options, examined your budget and allotted your time, you’ll be on the right path. Good luck and, if this helped, be sure to share this blog post with your friends and family!