If you are going to leave your child in a childcare facility for hours at a stretch, it is imperative that you make sure it’s the right place to do so. However, that’s easier said than done because without some guidance on what to look for exactly, deciding on that perfect children’s day nursery can be hard. To remedy the situation, here are five tips on how to choose the right day care for your children.
While checking out a facility, look at how the staff is interacting with the children. The caregiver should be on the floor with the children and they should all be engaged in some form of activity or the other with the person. Also, check to see if the particularly young children (less than two-years of age) are given special attention by the caregivers. It goes without saying that the overall attitude of all caregivers in the facility should be soft and gentle because small children need that to feel comfortable in a room without their parents in it.
The Staff Number
Ideally, the ratio between staff members and the children in a day care centre should be 1:3, when the children are two or below. This is a requirement because it ensures that each child gets enough one-on-time with the adult caregiver, which is necessary for them to feel safe and happy when they are not at home with parents for hours at a stretch.
Young children need to see familiar faces in order to feel happy and comfortable, so the caregivers involved should stay consistent throughout their time at the place. Now, it is impossible to predict or expect whether anyone will quit, but it might be a good idea to check and see if the nursery has a reliable history of holding onto their staff or not. Occasional changes in staff are to be expected, but if the facility doesn’t have any consistent caregivers to speak of, it may not be the best place for your children either.
Go Through the Policies
It isn’t uncommon for parents to find that their own policies regarding various aspects of child rearing are not shared at the baby day care centre and that’s not good news for the child. Children need consistent routines as it helps them to develop in the right way. This is why you should check with the institution to find more about their policies regarding the following.
- Nap time
- TV time
- Disciplinary actions
- Sick children
- General activities
You should pay unannounced visits to the child care to see how the caregivers and the staff truly handle the situation when no parents are around. A single visit like that can often be more of an eye opener than official visits when everyone is already aware of your arrival.
Listen to Your Children
What children say is often ignored by parents but that’s a wrong approach. If your child is trying to tell you something about his/her experience at the day care, pay attention. If something is making him/her uncomfortable, it’s your job as a parent to listen and take care of the problem for your child. Sometimes, small children may not be able to use words for expressing their issues, but they will try to make you understand nonetheless, if they feel that you will trust them.
Trust Your Judgement
You are the parent and you have the last say on any matter related to your children, so if you feel something is not right, trust your judgement. There doesn’t need to be a reason as to why you chose one facility over the other, as long as your own parental instincts support your decision.
While these tips should help you find the right nursery for your children, it is important to remember that in spite of your best efforts, there might still be a few things that won’t necessarily match your exact expectations and that’s okay because a few changes and differences are quite normal. The most important thing to consider over here is your child’s happiness, so if he/she is happy, you have probably found the right place.