If you are going back to work shortly after having your baby, leaving your little one in a daycare center for the first time can be quite difficult. However stressful and scary it is, choosing a good environment that is trustworthy will help you put your mind to rest.
Parenthood comes with multiple crucial decisions, and the decision to choose a good daycare center for your little one can be intimidating. The daycare center where your child will stay will play a great role in the nurturing of your little one's development.
The early years of your child's life are a crucial time as this is when your child's brain develops. For this reason, you ought to find a daycare center that will help your little one transition smoothly from being a toddler to a preschooler by developing great social skills, build good relationships with other kids and learn how to communicate their emotions.
To ensure that you tap into all the benefits of a good daycare center, here are a few tips on how you can find a quality daycare center for your baby:
State Approval Evaluations
Different states have different approval levels for baby care programs.
Requirements for licensed or registered daycare centers will vary from state to state. For the safest environment for your child, always try to find a licensed facility as they are required to meet high levels of daycare standards.
Some states offer to rate the quality of services offered by child care programs. If this is a service offered in your state, then it will be easy for you to find a highly rated child care facility. External evaluations by state evaluators that are not part of the facility will have an unbiased review of the daycare.
Teacher to Child Ratios and Supervision
While your child is at daycare, there should be someone watching over him or her throughout, regardless of whether the baby is awake, asleep or playing. Be sure to ask about the teacher to child ratio. Most states have a required number of staff to children ratio, but it’s always helpful to ask.
In a good daycare center, one caregiver per 3 or 4 toddler or infants and one caregiver per 4 or 6 older babies and one caregiver per 6 to 9 preschool kids. These ratios will ensure that your little one gets enough attention for both emotional and social development.
Health and Safety Policies
While state approved facilities can offer high quality services, you should still take the initiative to ask about the facility's health and safety policies yourself. A good childcare facility will happily tell you more about its policies on various issues; from child immunizations (must be up-to-date in all kids) to dealing with a child who will need a diaper changed or needs assistance with potty training. As your child becomes a toddler it will become more important to conquer good potty training habits at home.
You ought to be sure that the staff have had a thorough background check and is certified in first aid and CPR. Ever facility should have plans put in place in the event that a child is missing, injured or unwell and frequently practice measures of dealing with an emergency such as floods, fire or any other natural disaster.
Define Core Values
The ideal daycare center will have values that align with yours. Once you take your child to the daycare of your choice, you have entered into a partnership of bringing up your baby in the best way possible. A good partnership relationship between a parent and day care center should be characterized by constant communication between the caregivers and parent and share each other’s values.
Parent conferences are a great way to find out more information about your little one's developmental progress, future goals, and setting up your child for success.
The focus of a good daycare center should be learning and development. Be sure to inquire from the staff more about the daily or weekly schedules. A high-quality child care facility should have a schedule with activities such as music, reading, art, playing outdoor, and drama plays.
Reading should be included in the daily schedule, at least two times a day.
Caregivers or Teachers' level of Education and Training
Teachers at a good daycare center should be both intelligent and creative. Don’t shy away from asking if the administration, teachers or caregivers have early childhood education or professional development training. Usually most daycare facilities will have trained professional staff who have degrees in early childhood development.
Once you finally decide on a daycare facility, the next question will probably be when you can visit! Be sure to ask this question when you are searching for a daycare facility because you may be surprised. On your search for the proper daycare you may run into facilities that do not allow parents to stop in and out at any time during the day. If a daycare center only allows you to visit the facility during designated times, which could be a red flag, especially if you are still nursing. If there are specific times for visiting, you may want to consider using a breast pump to express milk beforehand to make sure your baby will be fed properly and timely.