Choosing a day care centre is one of the most important as well as difficult decision that parents made. Early years are the most crucial time for baby’s brain as well as physical development. During this time babies develop social skills, build relationships with teachers and other kids, figure out how to regulate emotions and learn a lot.
So when it comes to choose a day care for our child we want to be super sure about our decision. Below are the few pointers which you can look for when you visit any day care:
- Good Reputation:
A good day care centre should have welcoming and friendly atmosphere. You can search good day care centre by talking to fellow moms, searching on internet, checking with other parents in your child’s school and reaching Facebook pages of day care where you can reach out to fellow parents.
Figure out how disciplined the day care is? Are they following any set of rules and regulations? Because with a day care you might want some flexibility of dropping and picking up your child.
Nowadays most of the day care serve meals to children. So ask them how particular they are about food and their schedule for serving meal. Do they allow the food you send? Do they strict the junk food? How they are promoting the nutritious food? Are they cross checking the food ingredients while serving it to children who are allergic to some particular foods? Is the food cooked in their kitchen or catering from outside? How is the hygiene condition of the kitchen and the cook? Also you can ask the weekly meal plan for children.
Make sure that you have asked the time intervals they serve meals to your little ones. If your little one is on breastfeed, how they will manage his needs of milk?
- Teacher and child ratio:
Check out the teacher and child ratio for day care. A day care with more children and less teachers is a big no no. For every age group the teacher-child ratio varies so check with your day care. Also check with them that if they change this ratio in between sometime?
Make sure that you have met with the teachers and caregivers who will attend your child, do some interaction and keep a check on their temperament because your child will spend more time there and it affects his growth.
- Qualification of Staff
Checkout the qualification of the staff also as they have the major role in your child development.
Checkout what sort of activities they schedule for the day? Do they schedule outdoor activity along with storytelling, rhyme time, physical and group activities? Also check for other activities like clay modelling, splash pool, mud activity, skits etc. Are they able to share timetable about it?
- Security and Safety:
How secure the day care is? You enter their premises and check at what point they tell you to stop. Also check are they handing over the child to someone without prior notice of yours or without showing the id cards given by them for eg. grandparents, neighbours or any friend of yours.
Check that the day care provides safe environment for your child like no choking hazards, no fluffy bedding, no open gates at staircases, clean floors, smoke detectors, fire extinguisher etc.
You have to check about the proximity either with your office or home and choose the best possible option for you. If you choose it near to your office you can drop and pick child on time and most of the time child will be with you and you can reach to him in case of any emergency situation but drawback is that your child has to travel more and it will increase his tiredness.
On the other hand you can choose it nearby your home. It will cut down the child travelling.
Checkout how the day care is being run by foundation or trust or board or any individual. It will help you in case of any emergency situation to get your answers.
- Support Alliances:
Checkout the alliances for your day care. In case of emergency it should have alliances with hospitals, doctors and other professionals.
- Grievance Addressee:
In case of negligence and emergency the point of contact that can give answers to you and all your queries and where you can complaint and get your queries answered. You should know the process and point of contact.
- Infrastructure and Hygiene:
You should check that the day care is child proof, friendly, clean and great infrastructure. The quality of furniture, slides, toys etc are necessary. You should also check the hygiene of washroom as your child will visit washroom many times a day and could fall sick due to low hygiene. Also find out that caregiver wash hands after each diaper change, before and after serving meal, diapering, washroom and food preparation area are separate, utensils are either disposable or washed properly, toys are rinsed off regular basis etc.
Make sure that day care have plenty area for outdoor play and have a look on the timing for outdoor play. Ask them how much time do the kids get to play outside? Visit the day care so that you can have a look at the maintenance of these things.
- Gadget Free:
Also check if your day care is having television or projector. The electronic day care could be a warning sign for your baby as they can use electronic devices to provide relief for overworked staff.
- Segregation of Children:
Some of the day care prefers to segregate the child with their age group and keep them in separate rooms and some use to mix up the older and younger children. Both have the advantages and disadvantages. So you should ask before and check whatever is best for your child development and take a call accordingly.
- Staff Friendliness:
Visit the day care and find out how friendly the staffs are? Normally an ideal day care have the mix of all like younger staff to play with kids, some of staff are strict so that kids can listen to them and others are sweet with whom child can share their heart out without any hesitation.
- Health Policies:
You should confirm about the policies regarding the health of child and caregivers. Ask them that what are the policies regarding immunizations? What are the health requirements of the staff or caregivers? How are sick children handled? What do you serve child to eat at the time of illness?
- Childcare Philosophies:
Make sure that you have thorough knowledge of the day care policies. Find out simple things such as how well a daycare understands children. You can ask them some questions like:
- What do you do if a baby refuses to eat?
- How do you handle a baby who cries because he wants to be held all the time?
- Do you believe in disciplining bad toddler behaviour with consequences or time outs?
- How do you handle if two toddlers want to play with same toy?
- What type of food you serve to the baby who started solid recently?