5 Tips for Choosing a Daycare For Your Child
One of Parents Biggest Fears: What Child Care is Right for Me?
As a new parent, one of the scariest decisions is trying to figure out who or where your child is going to go for care when you return back to work after your leave. I spent many nights staying up worrying about who was going to watch our daughter after our first child care provider had fallen through. Many people toss and turn about what type of child care is best for my child and our family? Is child care the right option, should we hire a nanny, or should we find a way for one parent to stay home or have family watch our child? So, here are some tips and advice on how to help you find the best type of care for ‘your’ child and family.
- Be picky.
All parents want their child to be in the best hands possible while they are away at work. Before baby arrives, make a list of possible options, and take the time to explore all of these options. Few people I know are lucky enough to have family members who are available to watch their little ones every work day, so that leaves many of us checking out child care centers, ministries, or homes. I encourage you to call and setup tours of all of the options around you and interview them to see which one you feel the most comfortable with.
- Ask lots of questions.
Before going on tours of the potential child care facilities, make a list of questions that you have for the providers, and make sure that any question the arises while on your tour is asked. Please do not be silly asking multiple questions while you were there, because if it is important enough to pop in your mind during the tour, it is important enough to ask. Your child’s safety and well-being should be your top priority, and the providers should be very understanding of that. So, ask away!
- Research the front runners
As with anything else, do your research on the facilities! The Internet is a great tool, so put it to use. Look the facilities up and see what other people have to say about it. Check the state website for inspections and Paths to Quality ratings. Look to see if the facility participates in any other programs to better itself and it’s staff (environmental programs, trainings for staff, etc.). Talk to people within your community to see if there is anyone that has experience with the facility and see what they have to say. You can never talk to too many people and find out how their experience was.
- Drop by unannounced.
Before you have narrowed it down to the ultimate winner, take the time to drive by and stop in for an unannounced visit. Many child care providers have an open-door policy. This will give you a better idea of how the facility runs on a daily basis. Take note as to how the facility is interacting with the children, how did the front desk personnel respond, and what was your overall vibe you received from the moment you stepped in the doors.
- ‘Trust your gut.’
There are many times in life where we all go into situations that we do not know what to expect, and putting your child in ‘complete strangers’ hands for majority of the day can be terrifying, but be sure that you are trusting your parent instinct and putting your child in the facility you feel the most comfortable and welcome.