It’s a tough decision that no parent wants to make but ultimately may have to. It’s the decision to place their child in a daycare center. As much as you want to stay home with your children every day, this isn’t realistic for every parent or situation.
Daycares provide care for your children while you work, attend to other daily tasks, or take care of yourself. Finding a high-quality daycare center will not only ensure your child’s well taken care of but will give you peace of mind. When you trust a daycare center and its teachers, you can go about your regular daily activities without the worry of if your child’s in good hands or not.
How can you be sure the childcare you choose is the best fit for you and your little one? In the guide below, you’ll find several factors to consider before selecting a center. Continue reading below to get started!
1. Great References and Reviews
One of the first things you can do is check for references and reviews. This is always a great starting place. You can begin by asking the daycare to give you a few references.
Contact each reference they give you and ask any questions you may have. They’ll be able to give you some insight into what you can expect from the daycare services. Then, visit the daycare’s website and social media pages to find reviews.
What are the customer reviews saying about their own experience with the daycare? You can also visit review sites for more reviews and information regarding the daycare, its reputation, and the services it offers.
2. Happy Children in a Caring Environment
It’s always a good idea to visit a daycare and tour the center before making a final decision. Visit a few different daycares too. During your visit, be sure to look for how the children are interacting with the caregivers and one another.
Do the children seem happy? Does the environment seem to provide a caring atmosphere?
Pay close attention to the small details.
For example, if a child is misbehaving, how does the caregiver correct the behavior? Look for smiles, engagement, learning, and lots of fun. Visit this website for more information on how daycare centers can make a clean, fun, and welcoming environment possible.
3. A Weekly Curriculum Schedule
A weekly curriculum schedule is beneficial for a few reasons. One reason is that your child will begin to develop a routine, which helps make the transition smoother. It also helps them get used to being there because they know what to expect each day.
It’s also important for all caregivers and teachers to have a schedule to follow as well. This helps keep them organized and on track each week. Parents can view the schedule and try to keep the home schedule similar, which can make things easier for both the child and the parents.
A curriculum schedule might include different learning activities throughout the day but will also include mealtimes, playtimes, nap times, and more. Schedules will most likely be posted in each age group’s room, but parents should be able to ask for a copy for themselves as well.
4. Low Child-to-Caregiver Ratios
Each state will have a specific child-to-caregiver ratio that should be followed. This ratio is required by law and daycares are required to follow it. Be sure to know what the specific ratio requirements are and then ensure the center is following them.
Some centers might even have lower ratios than the state’s requirement to meet accreditation standards. Low ratios mean more teachers per child, which is beneficial for both the teachers and the children at the center.
5. Safety Precautions in Place
Always ask the daycare center about the safety precautions they have in place. What safety measures are there to ensure the safety of all children and workers? Check all toys, tables, and other equipment for signs of great maintenance.
Check around for childproofing equipment on doors, cabinets, and other places. Are there covers on outlets? Are all chemicals and cleaning products kept out of reach?
Do highchairs all have working straps? What food safety measures do they take? Don’t hesitate to look around and take a look at all these items and more.
6. Updated License
Each state will also have its own specific requirements for owning and operating a daycare. Every daycare needs to be licensed in the state. Licensing agencies visit daycare centers on a regular basis to ensure they’re continuing to meet all safety codes and official regulations.
Licensing will also check to ensure all paperwork is updated and all rules are being followed. The daycare should be able to show you proof of their license with a recent date. There will be an expiration date for the license, so pay close attention to this date.
7. Certified Caregivers
All caregivers will need to complete state-specific training to legally work with children in the daycare center. Each caretaker should have proof of this training or certification. The center should have no problem showing you proof of certification for every employee at the center.
Part of this certification also includes being properly trained in CPR and first aid.
It’s Time to Find a Daycare Center Best For Your Child
Now is the best time to find a daycare center that you and your child will love. Use the factors listed above to help you determine if a center is a right choice for you. If a center is able to meet all of your criteria, then you’ll have peace of mind knowing your child is being well cared for.