If you are planning to enroll your little one in daycare, you may be overwhelmed by your options. There may be many childcare centers in your area, but how do you choose the right one for your child? Here are a few tips to help you find the perfect childcare center:
Procrastination can make you feel overly pressured to settle for a center that you are uncomfortable with. Start searching for a child care center months in advance. Popular child care centers may have a waiting list, so it is best to start your search early.
Look for Accreditation
If you are unsure that a particular child care center is accredited, visit the National Association for the Education of Young children (NAEYC) website. The NAEYC is a nonprofit organization that works to improve early childhood education by using educational initiatives and public policy. Association members are listed.
Consider how close a prospective child care center is to your home and workplace. You will not want to drive a great distance if an emergency occurs. In addition, if your child is breastfed, you may want to use lunch breaks for feedings.
Word of Mouth
If parents in your area often speak negatively of a childcare center, there is probably a reason. Before you choose a center for your child, ask for references. In addition, talk to parents who are dropping off or picking up their child.
Look for a child care facility that has a strict illness policy. It can certainly be inconvenient to have to stay home with a sick child. However, it is a great protective measure.
Ensuring that sick children and center workers don't expose others to contagious illnesses is important. In addition to a stay-home policy, there should be standardized requirements for immunizations.
A reputable child care center should have written policies about practically every function it provides, from feeding schedules to handling medical emergencies. The center should be able to readily supply you with a copy upon your request.
Observe the Staff in Action
If staff members look overworked and overwhelmed, they probably are. Look for a center with enthusiastic, caring workers and low caregiver-to-child ratios. Recommendations for safe child-staff ratios only permit three children per staff worker if a child is younger than 12 months old.
If you are looking for a childcare center for your little one, be sure to do your research. Visit prospective centers and ask pertinent questions. If you have not already scheduled an appointment with an accredited childcare facility in your area, start contacting local child care centers like Old Dominion Day School Inc.