How to Choose a Good Child Care Center
For a working mom choosing child care whether it is a family day care or in-home care is vital. When searching for the appropriate child care center make sure you keep in mind the following recommendations. Here are eight tips how to choose a child-care facility:
1. Look down
When visiting a child-care center, it's important to notice how the caregivers interact with the children. If you are choosing a day care for a small kid it would be great to see a caregiver on the floor playing with the kids or holding one on her lap. The fact is that during their early years, babies need close and loving relationships with adults who take care of them. So pay attention to whether caregivers are warm and responsive. If it is group care infants and older babies should get enough of one-on-one time. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics a ratio of one adult for every three babies up to 24 months of age is required.
2. Ask for a Commitment
Babies thrive with consistent, predictable care that helps them develop a secure attachment to their caregivers. If you're considering an in-home caregiver, specify that the person you are going to hire makes a one-year commitment to the job. If you opt for a center, find out how long the current staff have been working there and what their employee turnover is.
3. Check the Policy
Figure out the philosophies of the child care facility, including discipline (what methods are generally used to enforce discipline), television (how often the TV is allowed), feeding, sleeping (how fussy babies are usually put to sleep), and others. Also make sure you find out what health conditions prevent a child to attend the facility. Another important question to ask is who will stay with the kid in case the family day-care provider or in-home caregiver is sick and temporary can't work. Try to foresee all the possible situations and get as many answers as possible so that you won't be unpleasantly surprised later.
4. Visit the Facility in Person
Even though you may rely on the word-of-mouth referrals from your friends or acquaintances, visiting the place where your kid will spend lots of time is essential. Visit the child-care facility in person to check whether it meets your needs. Pay attention to whether the environment is clean, childproofed, and features enough supplies and toys that are appropriate for the age of the kids. Also consider whether older children share the space (there can be choking hazards because of toys with small parts). Ideally, infants and babies should have a separate area. A room or separate area with swings and bouncers can be fine but babies also need much floor time for play and exercise. It would be a good idea to visit the same centers at different times of the day to see how the caregivers interact with the children.
5. Keep Talking.
It's very important for every mother to know how the child was doing during the day so make sure you can communicate comfortably with the caregiver you about your child's day. If you can't speak to the caregiver in person, ask if you could call when it is convenient.
6. Problem Solving.
Even in the best child-care environment conflicts are bound to happen, large or small. If that is the case consider handling the problem on the spot instead of ignoring it until the situation gets even worse. When you speak up treat the caregiver with respect and ask her opinion. People tend to cooperate if they know they have been heard. For example, if you would like your baby to have a nap earlier, ask the caregiver for the ideas about how to prevent your baby from getting overtired in the evening.
7. Trust Your Gut Feeling.
You may dislike a highly recommended center or baby sitter so keep on searching for other options. Your baby deserves good, nurturing care to thrive. If something just doesn't feel right, look for other facilities.
8. Be Open to Change.
If something doesn't work out, be prepared to alter arrangements. Even though you need consistency for your baby, that doesn't mean you should put up with something you don't like. When the baby has a positive experience with his new caregiver, he'll be OK. No matter how good the child care center or the baby sitter is, you are still the best source of love and support for your child. You remain your child's essential caregiver and guide through his life, and with the help of your well-chosen assistants, your baby will thrive to become a happy, healthy child.